Don’t Believe the Hype!

Ryan Conrad

2019, 31:39 minutes, Colour, sound, no dialogue

TAPECODE 2129.03

DBtH! is a silent looping video projection intended for screening on public surfaces in gay neighbourhoods across Canada. It beckons viewers with sensuous displays of queer public affection paired with scrolling text that both provokes and informs. This site-specific work claims public space for queer intimacy and political imagining at a time when Canadians are being encouraged by both the federal government and LGBT civil society organizations to celebrate the so-called 50th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality. Critical of the state mythologies and top down benevolence, this piece demands a more critical interpretation of Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s 1969 Criminal Code reform that failed to stop the regular brutality, disregard, police violence, arrests, harassment, firings, and bar and bathhouse raids that continue in the wake of the supposed decriminalization of homosexuality. Whose legacy are we celebrating? Whose lives are disappeared by convenient origin myths? What’s the cost of misremembering? And why have so many gays and lesbians been so eager to embrace a demonstrably false anniversary?

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