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Canadian Human Rights Museum under fire for allowing touring religious schools to bypass LGBT displays

Thu Jun 18, 2020 - 3:32 pm EST
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Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Canadian Museum for Human Rights / Facebook

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WINNIPEG, MB, Canada, June 18, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is under fire from LGBT activists for having previously accommodated the request from religious schools for tours that bypass exhibits dedicated to LGBT “rights.”

The state-funded Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) published an article today containing interviews with disgruntled former and current employees of the almost six-year-old museum. The staff members voiced concern that, for at least two years, the Museum honored requests from religious schools to tailor tours in a way that respected the children’s religious sensibilities. This meant asking museum guides not to show the children exhibits about homosexuality, including one that showed men kissing men and women kissing women. Canada legalized same-sex “marriage” in 2005.

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Same-sex 'marriage' exhibit at Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Winnipeg, Manitoba. SOURCE: Canadian Museum for Human Rights / Facebook

Gabriela Agüero, a former employee of the Museum [CMHR], told the CBC that the management had explained that the religious schools were paying for the tours. 

“That’s what we request, and we have to honor the requests from the schools because they pay us for those tours,’ CMHR management allegedly told Agüero.

The former tour guide and development officer said that complying was “very painful.”

"It was horrendous because then I had to go sit with my gay friends on staff and tell them I did that,” she told the CBC. “It was a horrific sense of guilt and very painful."  

A spokeswoman for the CMHR told the CBC that although this flexibility was indeed the rule between January 2015 and mid-2017, it has been abolished.  

"We no longer adapt any of our education programs at the request of schools," Maureen Fitzhenry said.

This means that all children who come to the museum on school trips are now introduced to what the CBC called “stories about diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.”

A former employee named Liam Green said that he wasn’t surprised that the CHRM would tailor the tours to exclude LGBT content because of the Museum’s interest in “trying to make money.” 

"It felt very disingenuous,” he told the CBC. “It felt unfortunately like just their way of operating."

An anonymous employee still working for the CHRM revealed that there had been an internal uproar after a colleague who belongs to the LGBT community was asked to stand in front of an LGBT exhibit celebrating same-sex “marriage” so that a party of children from a faith school could not see it.  

The whistleblower, who remained nameless for fear of reprisal from the CHRM, stated his or her belief that nobody was really concerned about the sensibilities of the very young because the tours were tailored even for the teenagers from Hutterite high schools. 

The Hutterites are group of Anabaptist communities who, like the Amish and the Mennonites, keep themselves at distance from the secular values of the contemporary world. Predominantly rural, there are now several Hutterite communities in Manitoba, thanks to migration to Canada from the United States during and after the First World War. During the conscription era of  WWI, the Hutterites were persecuted for their pacifist beliefs. The Hutterites still today center their traditional beliefs about marriage and sexuality in the Scriptures. 

The CHRM’s past practise of tailoring tours to respect religious sensibilities has come to light because former employees have been complaining about its alleged “racism and homophobia” on social media. The CBC reported that the Museum has hired a lawyer with “expertise in women’s and Black studies and media” to review the complaints. 

CHRM, originally the brainchild of famous Canadian magnate Israel “Izzy” Asper, first opened after his death on September 17, 2014. Complaints that the CHRM treated different groups unfairly dogged the project before it even opened. Some objected to the amount of space devoted to the Shoah, the attempted Nazi extermination of the Jews in Europe. Others were angered that there was no exhibit devoted to the Palestinians. Canada’s sizable Ukrainian community objected to what it felt was a minimization of the Stalin-era man-made famine, the Holomodor, that killed millions of Ukrainians in 1932 and 1933. 


  canada, canadian museum for human rights, homosexuality, same-sex marriage

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