Opening May 14, 2019 – 6pm

MAY 14 – AUG 17 | with VIVO Media Arts

The west coast stop of Queer Media Database Canada-Québec Project’s touring exhibition series, marking the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Omnibus bill.

A naughty, nuanced and nerdy retrospective of queer lives circa 1969 and the partial ‘decrim’ of sodomy. As the powers-that-be celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Bill C-150, the Criminal Law Amendment Act, ‘69 positions is here to set the record queer.

“There is no room for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.”

Martin O’Malley, credited to P.E. Trudeau

As the powers-that-be gear up to recognize the 50th Anniversary of Bill C-150, the Criminal Law Amendment Act, this exhibitions questions what this milestone really meant for LGBTQ2+ communities. In the context of resounding present-day calls to decriminalize drug use, immigration status, sex work, and Indigenous resistance, what does this half-century of so-called ‘decriminalization of homosexuality’ mean for our communities?

To commemorate and problematize the 50th Anniversary of this milestone, the Queer Media Database Canada-Quebec (MEDIAQUEER) presents an unabashedly politicized, naughty, nuanced and nerdy retrospective of queer lives circa 1969 through an archival exhibition of the history of and around this shift. This is a look at history with a physically and emotionally delicious set of objects which looks at the post-decriminalization decade, embracing for its Vancouver iteration the period pre-decrim (1964) and the advent of AIDS. Although it would be decades before the government would apologize for prosecuting and entrapping its own citizens, the 1969 Omnibus remains a watershed moment in the social, political, sexual, and artistic history of this country. As the Liberal government applauds 50 years of progress, we are here to set the record queer.

“69 Positions” is a cross-Canada exhibition series based on an original idea and coordinated by Jordan Arseneault for MediaQueer.ca with generous funding from the Canada Council for the Arts. MediaQueer thanks the Canada Council for the Arts, VIVO Media Arts, the SUM Gallery/Queer Arts Festival, Montréal Arts Interculturels, the City of Vancouver Archives and BC Gay & Lesbian Archives founder/donor Ron Dutton, and the Archives gaies du Québec for supporting this project. For a full list of events, please see www.mediaqueer.ca/events

Co-curated by Jordan Arseneault and Kaschelle Thiessen (Vancouver) along with co-curators Jenna Lee Forde (Toronto), and Jamie Ross (Montreal), 69 Positions transports you back in time to the highpoint of the sexual revolution, in a tripartite collection of media, memorabilia, ephemera, and documentary films.

In partnership with VIVO and the Vancouver Queer Film Festival, and located at SUM gallery.

Opening reception on May 14, 2019 | 6-8pm

We invite you to SUM Gallery for the opening of 69 Positions on May 14, 2019 to enjoy drinks, music and musings around our socially-engaged and visually striking installation.

ASL interpretation will be provided.

Artist panel on May 30, 2019 | 6-8pm

Please also join us for a panel on May 30, at 6PM: “The SUM and remains of 69” – a salon with curator Kaschelle Thiessen, MediaQueer’s Thomas Waugh, video artist Paul Wong, and other Vancouver luminaries.

ASL interpretation will be provided.


This location has not yet had an accessibility audit.
The BC Artscape-Sun Wah building is wheelchair-accessible.

  • Building entrance is street level with no steps, the front doors of the building are automatic.
  • Lobby has a ramp with a handrail, and stairs with a handrail, to reach the elevator.
  • The fourth floor has two non-gendered multiple stalls washrooms, including one universal washroom with grab bars and wheelchair clearance. The washroom entrance is 32 inches wide.
  • Support animals are welcome. BC Artscape is dog-friendly.
  • The front door of our suite is 32 inches wide, swinging inward. The automatic door operator is at 35 inches high.
  • Our events are scent-reduced. Please refrain from wearing cologne, perfume, scented personal care products or essential oils. Visitors who wear scented products will be asked to leave.
  • The gallery space has no windows.
  • The gallery floor is flat, with no internal stairs.
  • Chairs are without arms.
  • ASL interpretation will be provided.