The lives of Islanders in the gay and lesbian community had never been documented until Dave A. Stewart took it upon himself to create a record of that community. Dave spent seven years creating that record, a process that culminated in the production of Before Grindr: The Secret Social History of Gay & Lesbian PEI.
To create this six-part series, Dave interviewed seven lesbian and gay Islanders ranging in age from their 50s to their 70s. Through these conversations, interviewees shared what it was like to come out and to live as gay and lesbian in the pre-internet era of the 1970s, 80s and 90s.
Before Grindr shows that while gay and lesbian Islanders faced adversity, 2SLGBTQ+ history on the Island wasn’t all pain and suffering.
There was love and community, and a hidden world of friendships and connection that had previously gone undocumented. Dave’s goal was to record that history for younger and future generations.
The series reinforces the message that queer visibility matters. These stories provide insight from elders of the 2SLGBTQ+ community who paved the way for the community as we know it today. Their stories are key to understanding how queer communities evolved on this Island.
Dave co-produced Before Grindr with journalist Laura Chapin, relying on her production experience and knowledge. PEERS Alliance and Pride PEI partnered to present the series and to cover costs.