Coquitlam Library Life Stories Episode 1

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Coquitlam Library Life Stories Episode 1

This presentation is the second in a series of "Life Stories" put on by the Coquitlam Public Library intended to raise awareness of people who are from marginalized groups and how they have experienced prejudice, social exclusion or stigma.

Presenters Gary Woods and Chris Bolton AKA Conni Smudge are co-founders of the North Shore Pride Alliance. Both presenters tell of their own experiences growing up in Ontario, discovering their own sexuality and how that shaped who they have become today.

Gary Woods came from a broken home in California to live with his mother who brought him to Canada in the mid 70's because she valued the educational system here in Canada. While he initially struggled to understand his own sexuality and attraction to other boys in his youth, Gary soon learned to accept himself for who he was and was able to surround himself with a network of friends who helped to provide the support he was not receiving from his family.

Chris Bolton describes himself as having grown up always around feminin energy and being effeminate. While it was not until he reached his 20's that he realized that he was actually gay, he too struggled to find acceptance as an young man in Toronto in the early 70's.

While their own individual stories of self discovery took place in Ontario, their stories are not unlike anyone who struggles to find acceptance without having to conform to other peoples standards. Common to all members of the LBGTQ+2 community who are old enough to have been around through the beginning of the AIDS crisis both, Chris and Gary lost numerous friends but credit the crisis with bringing the community together and helping to strengthen their resolve to fight for equality.

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Video Upload Date: November 24, 2022

The Tri-Cities Community Television Society is a Not-For-Profit organization in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody, BC, offering training in media production skills and provides an opportunity for community voices to be heard.

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