Human rights museum excluded LGBTQ2+ content on some school tours; CEO to step down after term ends

By | June 19, 2020

WINNIPEG — The president and CEO of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights will be stepping down when his term ends after the museum confirmed allegations it excluded LGBTQ2+ content for some school tours.

The CMHR confirmed with CTV News that John Young, the CEO and president of the museum, will not be seeking reappointment when his term ends on August 14.

This comes in the wake of allegations that the museum accepted requests from some schools to exclude content regarding the rights of the LGBTQ2+ community.

Maureen Fitzhenry, the media relations manager for the museum, told CTV News this practice lasted for a period of about two years, from January 2015 when the museum began to accept school tours, to 2017 when staff was instructed not to facilitate requests to exclude content.

“This was wrong and should never have happened,” Fitzhenry told CTV News in a written statement.

“The Museum has extensive content throughout its building, as well as public programs and online content, about the rights of people with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, the struggles for these rights, the violations that have occurred when these rights are denied, and the human rights defenders who have made a difference for LGBTQ2+ people, both as individuals and groups.”

This comes about a week after staff at the museum made allegations of racism and discrimination in the workplace.

READ MORE: ‘Complete hypocrisy’: Human rights museum employees say they experienced racism at work

“The Museum is extremely concerned about the experiences being shared by current and former CMHR employees about systemic discrimination, racism, and homophobia,” Fitzhenry said.

She added the museum has hired Laurelle Harris, a Winnipeg lawyer with expertise in Women’s Studies, Black Studies and mediation, to perform an independent review of the complaints of racism and other forms of discrimination in the workplace.

Harris has been mandated to provide an initial report to the CMHR Board of Trustees by the end of July, which will include recommendations.

Fitzhenry said this report will be used to inform an external-led audit of the CMHR workplace practices and policies around diversity, respect, anti-racism, and non-discrimination.

“We are committed to a fully transparent process as we work towards identifying the scope and effects of systemic racism and other forms of discrimination in this organization,” Fitzhenry said.

She added updates will be posted on the CMHR website on the report and the recommendations submitted.

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