Queer at Sea

Tales from the 2SLGBTQ+ Community

Queer at Sea website header
MMBC Gallery
MMBC Gallery

About this Exhibit

The queer and trans communities have long been a part of BC’s maritime history. This exhibit shares the stories of some of those community members in their own words. Their deeply personal reflections allow a glimpse at the many ways that orientation and identity have played into their experiences of life at sea. Each person has a unique story, each has moments of triumph and discrimination. What they all share is a passion for life around or on the waters of the coast – from marine recreation to decades-long maritime careers and everything in between.

The Maritime Museum of BC is honoured to showcase some of the histories and contributions of the 2SLGBTQ+ community to BC’s maritime culture.


The Maritime Museum of BC had many discussions internally and with members from 2SLGBTQ+ communities about the title. We recognize that not everyone identifies as queer, and that the word carries negative connotations for some. The Museum decided after these discussions that the word was as close to inclusive as we could get, and hope that most people will feel a connection to the 2SLGBTQ+ acronym.


Postcard Art Contest

Thank you to everyone who submitted to our post card art contest! We have selected and announced our winners, which are listed below. You will soon be able to buy these post cards in our gift shop and you’ll see them as a featured, interactive part of the exhibit itself!

Oil painting of two servicemen kissing. One in uniform, one in civilian clothes. Grey landscape background.
Two naval service members--one in uniform one in a dress, with a filter. Reads: "Love is Love from Sea to Sea."
Scuba diver with Pride flag, surrounded by sea lions.

The Homecoming of Master Seaman Francis Legare

by Marc-Daniel Allan

The work depicts Master Seaman Francis Legare’s famous kiss with his partner Corey after the docking of the HMCS Winnipeg right here in Victoria. The colours and paint strokes bring to light the passion of the sacrosanct moment; using water soluble oils which lend neatly to a romantic and fluid scene. They have also been transposed onto a smooth and steady Victoria shore to bring to light the intimate nature of this moment. 

This was a monumental step for LGBT+ representation in maritime history, this kiss shows the start of wide recognition of Gay people in the Royal Canadian Navy. This publicized ‘first kiss’ shows not only wide acceptance of queer people in contemporary maritime history, but a great step forward in its representation.

Copyright Marc-Daniel Allan 2022. All Rights Reserved.


Unbridled Love

by Kuti Fennecs

This artwork is in commemoration of all of the 2SLGBTQ+ sailors, past and present. I am a minority in my digital art class, and I have made a rendition of an old photograph my foster dad gave me from what we think is the RMS Queen Elizabeth. My foster dad’s father use to teach him all about the gay communities in the navy, as well as all the beautiful gay and trans openness that was happening at the time. It was common to have openly gay stewards, and if somebody was homophobic they would switch from the ship because they’d know that they would be off kilter with everybody else. I think that makes this a very powerful picture.

Copyright Kuti Fennecs 2022. All Rights Reserved.


Scuba Pride III

by Kathleen Reed

I’ve been a queer, non-binary scuba diver enjoying the cold, nutrient-rich waters around Nanaimo for the last 12 years. I dive as a meditative practice, and for fun. I also help document marine life for citizen science initiatives and for organizations like iNaturalist, REEF, and the Vancouver Aquarium. I’ve never hidden who I am from my fellow divers (or the sea lions!), but this contest inspired me to take a Pride flag underwater to merge two aspects of my identity through photo.

Copyright Kathleen Reed 2022. All Rights Reserved.