Neil Richards 1949 -
Neil has been involved with Saskatoon's lesbian and gay communities since the early 1970s. In 1975, Neil and others joined to form the Committee to Defend Doug Wilson. During this struggle, Neil enlisted the support of the University of Saskatchewan's Employees' Union (CUPE Local 1975), which led to a resolution being passed by the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour asking the government to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Neil helped organize the 1976 convention of the National Gay Rights Coalition in Saskatoon, which was among the first significant gay rights gatherings in Canada.
In 1982, Neil took a leave of absence from his position in the University of Saskatchewan and worked as a volunteer with the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives in Toronto, an institution for which he has collected Saskatchewan material for over 25 years. That same year, Neil co-authored a library selection guide to lesbian and gay fiction, Out on the Shelves, which was published by the Canadian Library Association.
Neil worked on many of the earliest AIDS awareness initiatives in Saskatchewan. In 1990 he founded and organized Visual AIDS, a month long series of exhibitions, lectures, plays and public events. As well, he has staged three large exhibitions about AIDS at the University of Saskatchewan Library, and was the co-ordinator for Saskatchewan's Day Without Art project in 1992.
Neil's work in the community has not gone unrecognized. In 1991 he was honoured with the Dr. Stanley Stead Award by Saskatoon District Health for the Visual AIDS project. He received the first GALA (Gay and Lesbian Achievement) Award in 1993 for long term service to the lesbian and gay communities in Saskatoon. In 1995 he was the first recipient of the President's Service Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the learning and working environment at the University of Saskatchewan, and in 1998 he was the recipient of the Doug Wilson Award.
Neil's work has ensured that the history of our communities will not be lost or erased. (2000 Induction Statement)
Militant récipiendaire de plusieurs prix, engagé dans les communautés gaies et lesbiennes de Saskatoon depuis le début des années 1970; récipiendaire du Prix Doug-Wilson en 1998.