More than 325 wedding photographs were received from 115 couples nationwide after a crowd-sourcing call in March – far surpassing the goal of 85 submissions. The photos, dating from 1979 to 2013, depict a variety of cultural ceremonies, including Metis, Hindu, Thai, Vietnamese, Jewish and Christian celebrations. Many couples also shared their personal stories, struggle for acceptance and pride in their relationships.
"It hasn't been easy for us," wrote Jacquelynn Trent of Calgary, who married her wife Kelly last year. "Some say the lifestyle we have chosen is a tough one. I say, it's not a lifestyle. I say its two people, who love and care deeply for each other and, oh yeah, just happen to be women.
Jay Walsh, a Canadian who now lives in San Francisco, married André Morand in Toronto in 2011. "Canada gave us the option to be married, something that the majority of Americans (including Californians!) cannot enjoy….Canadians must hold dear this right to express their love and devotion to each other, in the eyes of their government and their peers. The right comes with so much more than just a marriage certificate."
The struggle for rights among people with diverse sexual orientation and gender identities will be portrayed in many ways, in almost every gallery of the Museum. Same-sex marriage will be one of 18 "story niche" exhibits within the Museum's largest gallery, devoted to Canada's human rights journey. The important story of queer resistance in Canada, 1960s to 1980s, will be told through digital insight stations and a projected image grid, housed in the same gallery.
Other topics included in Museum inaugural content plans are:
- transgender experiences
- the Stonewall riots in New York
- Quebec's role as the world's first major jurisdiction to forbid discrimination based on sexual orientation
- legalization of same-sex marriage in the Netherlands
- the pink-shirt bullying story
- Harvey Milk
- hate crimes and persecution against LGBTTQ* people
- the Iranian underground railroad for queer refugees
- benchmark Canadian court cases – various treatments
- Nazi persecution of homosexuals during the Holocaust
- social movements
- a Jamaican gay-rights activist as human rights defender
- inclusion on an interactive world map
- gender identity portrayal in the media
In the interests of inclusivity, the CMHR will also offer gender-neutral washrooms for its visitors, in addition to male and female washrooms.
Currently under construction in Winnipeg, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is the only museum in the world solely dedicated to the evolution, celebration and future of human rights. It is the first national museum to be established since 1967 and the first outside the National Capital Region. It opens in 2014.