One of Vancouver’s most outspoken advocates for LGBTQ rights has been honoured with a plaza bearing his name in the city’s West End.
Friends say Jim Deva, the founder of Little Sister’s Book shop, leaves behind an outsized legacy.
“He would have loved it, but he would have been a bit embarrassed I think.”
In the three decades they knew each other, Vancouver Councillor Tim Stevenson says he knew Jim Deva as a humble man.
But he says Deva never let that get in the way of his fight for rights.
“He was a very, very fierce advocate for years, took on homophobia, took on inequality, took on human rights.”
Deva died in 2014 after falling from a ladder.
Sevenson says his impact can’t be overstated.
“Forty years ago one wouldn’t have felt safe or secure out on the street being openly gay, and people knowing that. Jim was partially responsible for bringing about a huge change in the climate, fighting homophobia, working with the police, working with city hall.”
The founder of Little Sister’s book shop was perhaps best known for his long, and eventually fruitful, battle with border officials over importing LGBTQ material at the time deemed obscene.
The new plaza at Davie and Bute features a built in megaphone and soap box in honour of Deva’s outspoken work.