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Chronology from Flaunting It! 1964-1982
1979 / Appx 1,700 words

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Victories and defeats
A gay and lesbian chronology 1964-1982

1979
PT

January 2 / Toronto
Trial of The Body Politic begins before Provincial Court Judge Sydney Harris (see January 5, 1978).

January 3 / Toronto
Newly elected mayor John Sewell defends The Body Politic and calls for legal protection for gays in speech at a Body Politic Free the Press Fund rally held during trial. Speech causes media uproar.

January 22 / Toronto
Public meeting sets up a Barracks defence fund, the forerunner of the Right to Privacy Committee.
[Group was originally called the December 9th Defence Fund. Name changed to the Right to Privacy Committee (RTPC) within a few months. The RTPC would come to prominence after much larger bath raids (see Feb 5, 1981), and would survive for more than a decade. See a 1991 piece, Remembering the RTPC, available online.]

February 14 / Toronto
Judge Sydney Harris finds Pink Triangle Press and three officers not guilty (see January 5, 1978).

February 20 / [Winnipeg]
Seven men, including Winnipeg Free Press publisher Richard Malone, are charged with buggery and gross indecency and twelve boys are turned over to juvenile authorities after five-month investigation of "juvenile sex ring."

March 6 / Toronto
[Ontario] Attorney General Roy McMurtry appeals Pink Triangle Press acquittal.

March 10 / Toronto
International Women's Day includes call for end to harassment of lesbians as one of four demands. First time lesbian rights an upfront issue.

March 13 / Toronto
Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services refuses to grant licence to Tri-Aid to run gay group home.
[The Tri-Aid Charitable Foundation's group home, already in operation, was run by gay social worker Doug Chin. At issue was its licensing. See Aug 12 and Sep 27, below.]

March 28 / Toronto
Metro police chief and police association president both issue statements of apology after anti-gay article "The homosexual fad" appears in police association newsletter.
[See May 31, 1979.]

April / Toronto
Provincial Council of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) amends its anti-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation. Policy acts as directive to local bargaining units with school boards.

April 20 / Regina
New legislation amending human rights code introduced in Saskatchewan legislature omits sexual orientation although provincial convention of government party, the NDP, called for its inclusion. Gay movement had mounted extensive lobbying campaign.

April 21 / Edmonton
Alberta Lesbian and Gay Rights Association created during province-wide Alberta Gay Conference.

May 5 / Saskatoon
Saskatchewan Division of Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) at annual convention supports legislation banning discrimination on basis of sexual orientation.

May 13 / London
Ontario division of CUPE at annual conference opposes discrimination on basis of sexual orientation and urges local affiliates to include it in non-discrimination clauses of collective agreements.

May 15 / Smeaton, Saskatchewan
Teacher Don Jones dismissed because of a complaint to school board that he is gay.

May 19-21 / Toronto
Bi-national [i.e., Canada and Quebec] Lesbian Conference held at University of Toronto.

May 21 / San Francisco
Near-riots occur outside San Francisco City Hall, as gay community reacts with anger after Dan White, murderer of gay city hall supervisor [sic; city supervisor] Harvey Milk, is given lenient sentence in jury trial (see November 27, 1978).

May 22 / Ottawa
Supreme Court of Canada decides Vancouver Sun justified in refusing to print classified ad for Gay Tide, rules that it had "reasonable cause" to control content of advertising it accepted.

May 31 / Toronto
Metro Toronto Police Commission responds to demands for disciplining of racist and homophobic officers by issuing a Declaration of Concern and Intent (Standing Order 25), which deals with discrimination and bigotry only in a general way.
[For more on long-running tensions with the police in this period, see: "Gays vs the police commission: a chronology," in The Body Politic, Aug 1979, p 12; and following issues of TBP.]

June / Montreal
First issue of francophone journal Le Berdache, evolving out of newsletter of Association pour les droits de la communauté gaie du Québec.
[Continued to Sep 1982; continued by Le petit Berdache to 1986. A group growing out of Le Berdache in 1982 began publishing the magazine Sortie, which lasted until late 1988.]

June / Toronto
Gay Liberation Union establishes first gay self-defence course in Canada. Grows out of experience of increasing anti-gay violence on streets.

June 6 / Toronto
Teacher Don Franco, who made public issue of fact that a Metro Toronto police officer reported his arrest in Barracks raid December 8 [sic; 9], 1978, charged with being a keeper of a common bawdyhouse in his own home.

June 16-23 / Montreal
Gay celebration, Gairilla Week, takes place.

June 19 / Toronto
Metro Council calls on police commission to answer specific demands of gay community. Toronto City Council makes same request June 25. Police commission does not act.

June 27 - July 2 / Ottawa
Celebration '79, seventh annual conference of lesbians and gay men. Officially opened by Ottawa Mayor Marian Dewar, who proclaims June 27 "Human Rights Day."

July 31 / Vancouver
Public meeting of gay community discusses increasing violence against gay people on Vancouver streets, calls on police to take some action.

August 11 / Vancouver
Public rally in Robson Square protests police inaction in dealing with street violence against gays.

August 12-16 / Toronto
Ontario government administrative tribunal holds hearings to determine whether gay group home Tri-Aid should be licensed in order to quality for government funding and referrals.

August 20-22 / Toronto
Seven men stage Gay Sit-in for Justice in office of provincial Attorney General Roy McMurtry to demand meeting about police and legal harassment of gay community.

August 20-24 / Sarnia, Ontario / Port Huron, Michigan
Lesbians on way to Michigan Womyn's Music Festival harassed or turned back by US Immigration officials. Formal complaints are laid on behalf of Canadian women by American gay organization, the National Gay Task Force.

September 14 / Smeaton, Saskatchewan
Education arbitration board orders teacher Don Jones reinstated to job from which he was fired for being gay.

September 27 / Toronto
Provincial administrative tribunal refuses to grant registration to gay group home, Tri-Aid, ending its two-year struggle to be recognized.

October 11 / Toronto
Police raid gay bathhouse, the Hot Tub Club, charge forty men with bawdyhouse charges.

October 23 / Winnipeg
Former Winnipeg Free Press publisher Richard Malone pleads guilty to charge[s] of buggery and obstructing justice. Gets one-year sentence, following "juvenile sex ring" investigation in February 1979.

October 29 / Toronto
Gay activists hold "mince-in" at Ontario legislature to draw attention to inaction on human rights protections for homosexuals.

November / Toronto
Delegates to province-wide annual convention of Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) calls [sic] on provincial government to extend protection against discrimination to lesbians and gay men. Similar motion was defeated in 1978.

November 3 / Toronto
Gus Harris, mayor of Toronto borough of Scarborough, calls for gay rights at Human Rights rally.
[The Gay Human Rights Day rally was organized by CGRO. Messages of support were read from Stuart Smith and Michael Cassidy, leaders, respectively, of Ontario's two opposition parties, the Liberals and the NDP.]

November 17 / Vancouver
Vancouver Sun reverses stand, accepts ad from Gay Tide after five-year court battle. Supreme Court of Canada ruled Sun had "reasonable cause" to refuse advertising. First ad was submitted to Sun October 23, 1974.

November 22 / Toronto
Ontario government tries to sidestep controversy over protecting homosexuals in human rights code by introducing Bill 188 -- Handicapped Persons Rights [Protection] Act. Segregation attempt universally condemned.

November 29 / Montreal
Quebec Superior Court judge rules that the Montreal Catholic School Commission did not have justifiable grounds to refuse to rent space to ADGQ, therefore was not exempt from the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. Overturns human rights commission's second opinion in 1978 [see Aug 15, 1978]. First legal victory against discrimination since adoption of gay rights clause in charter in December 1977.

December / Toronto
[Ontario] Labour Minister Robert Elgie withdraws Handicapped Persons Rights Protection Act under pressure from handicapped, media and opposition parties.

December / Toronto
PLURA, an inter-faith church funding agency which supports projects for social change, gives $4,000 to CGRO to pay for full-time grassroots organizer to establish gay political organizations in rural Ontario.

December / Montreal
Quebec Superior Court judge upholds Canada Customs ban on gay male pornography magazines, invokes "community standards" and defines "immoral" and "indecent." First judicial pronouncement in Canada on gay male pornography. Customs decision is appealed by Le Priape, Montreal gay sex shop.
[Mr Justice Hugessen stated that the test for immorality or indecency was "whether the material ... would shock or disgust the average member of the contemporary Canadian community." Battles against censorship by Canada Customs would be a recurrent theme into the 1990s.]

December 27 / Toronto
Provincial court judge Sydney Harris orders Crown to return material seized in December 30, 1977 raid on The Body Politic offices and to pay costs. Crown appeals decision.


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