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John Greyson returns to the scene of the crime (one more time)

John Greyson’s contribution to the celebrated 2008 film Rex vs. Singh [1] centred on re-imagining the proceedings that took place historic Court House in downtown Vancouver. Today, the building where those repressive trials [2] took place houses the Vancouver Art Gallery.

John met me on a warm summer afternoon and we reflected on how this region centre for contemporary art, and relative tolerance and multiculturalism, had been, not so long ago, a site of state terror with two of the numerous groups victimized were Indo-Canadian males and other males, from a range of backgrounds, who supposedly had sex with them.

While the Vancouver Art Gallery is often a location for revisiting historical legacies and re-imagining public memory, there is no marker to remind or educate visitors to those horrific trials that were part of exclusionary processes that effectively drove many Indo-Canadians away from central Vancouver neighbourhoods.


[1] REX VS. SINGH. 2008. Directed by Ali Kazimi, Richard Fung and John Greyson /Canada /2008 /video /  39 minutes. Produced under the auspices of the Out on Screen Queer History Project of Vancouver. One of the most important reviews and discussions of the film was Mattew Hays’ 2008, Unearthing the ignored and forgotten: Retelling the entrapment case of Rex vs Singh. Xtra! West (14 August, 2008): 25 (plus cover of issue) with a copy available here. matthew-hays-2008-unearthing-the-ignored-and-forgotten-xtra-west-n-391-14-august-2008-p-251

[2] Ingram, G. B. 2003. Returning to the scene of the crime: Uses of trial narratives of consensual male homosexuality for urban research, with examples from Twentieth-Century British Columbia. GLQ (Gay and Lesbian Quarterly) (New York) 10(1): 77 - 110. A PDF copy is available here. ingram-2003-glq-101-77-1101

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