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Victories and defeats
A gay and lesbian chronology 1964-1982
- January 29 / Ottawa
- Joint Senate / House of Commons Committee votes down amendment to add sexual orientation to Charter of Rights.
[The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was entrenched as part of the country's constitution when it was "patriated" from the United Kingdom in the Constitution Act of 1982. The Charter did not go into effect until three years later, on Apr 17, 1985. Despite the absence of specific protection in the Charter, it would have significant impact on later gay rights efforts. See the follow-up document, What we demanded; What we got.]
- February 5 / Toronto
- Massive police raid carried out on four bathhouses, largest mass arrest in Canada since War Measures Act. Two hundred and eighty-six men charged as found-ins, and twenty as keepers of common bawdyhouse.
[Beginning at 11 p.m., more than 150 police simultaneously raided the Club Baths, the Romans II Health and Recreation Spa, the Richmond Street Health Emporium (heavily damaged, it never reopened), and, for the second time, the Barracks. For the War Measures Act, see Oct 22, 1977.]
- February 6 / Toronto
- Over three thousand people gather in downtown street[s] in angry late-night protest against bath raids.
- February 11 / Toronto
- Gay activist George Hislop announces plans to run as protest candidate in downtown St George riding in March 19 provincial election. Also running, Liberal candidate Rev Bruce McLeod, chosen over gay activist Peter Maloney, NDP candidate Dan Leckie, chosen over gay activist John Argue, and Conservative candidate Susan Fish.
[All candidates supported legal protection for gay people.]
- February 20 / Toronto
- Over four thousand gays and supporters rally at Toronto's Queen's Park and march to Metro Toronto Police's 52 Division to protest February 5 bathhouse raids and to call for independent inquiry.
- March / Toronto
- Founding meetings of Toronto Gay Community Council, first city-wide coordinating organization of gay and lesbian groups in Canada.
[The council remained in operation until Sep 1984.]
- March 4 / Toronto
- Ontario Court of Appeal hears The Body Politic's appeal of lower court order of a retrial (see February 29, 1980).
- March 4 / Toronto
- The Body Politic attempts to cite Attorney General of Ontario and Toronto Sun for comments made in print a day before the appeal. Court of Appeal rejects attempt, orders TBP to pay costs.
- March 6 / Toronto
- Gay Freedom Rally hears speakers including novelist Margaret Atwood and NDP MP Svend Robinson denounce bath raids.
- March 12 / Toronto
- MCC pastor Brent Hawkes ends twenty-five day hunger fast when Toronto City Council decides to ask Daniel Hill to investigate police / gay relations. Hawkes began fast to create pressure for independent inquiry into bath raids.
[Hill, the mayor's advisor on community and race relations, announced in mid-May that he would not take on the job. The city commissioned another study: see Jul 13.]
- March 19 / Ontario
- Provincial election sees return of Conservatives to power. NDP suffers losses, attributed in some parts of province to backtracking on gay issue. Conservative Susan Fish wins in Toronto riding of St George, defeating gay protest candidate George Hislop.
[Conservatives had been Ontario's governing party continuously since 1943.]
- March 25 / Toronto
- Court of Appeal rejects appeal of The Body Politic to overturn order of retrial (see March 4). TBP decides to appeal to Supreme Court of Canada.
- March 30 / Toronto
- Trial of alleged keepers of Barracks steambath begins. Includes gay activist George Hislop and four others. Charges arose from raid December 9, 1978.
- April 21 / Toronto
- Six people, including activists George Hislop and Peter Maloney and head of Club Bath chain in US, Jack Campbell, charged with conspiracy to live off avails of crime. Final charges following [i.e., arising from] February 5 bathhouse raids.
- May 16-18 / Vancouver
- Fifth Binational Lesbian Conference draws women from across Canada, organizes first lesbian pride march.
- May 30 / Edmonton
- Police raid on Pisces Spa results in sixty men being charged as keepers or found-ins in common bawdyhouse. Accused are questioned at specially arranged 5 am courtroom session permitted under little-used section of Criminal Code.
[Raid occurred at 1:35 a.m.; GATE-Edmonton organized leafletting of bars within 24 hours. About 100 people demonstrated in front of city hall Jun 3; a Privacy Defence Committee was set up Jun 8.]
- Late May / Calgary
- Alberta Conference of United Church of Canada passes gay right resolution and votes to study possibility of ordination of gays.
- June 2 / Toronto
- Standing committee of Ontario legislature begins hearings on Bill 7 -- Human Rights Bill. First to speak are TBP's lawyer Clayton Ruby and the Coalition for Gay Rights in Ontario.
- June 5 / Edmonton
- Three keepers and five found-ins from Pisces Spa raid (see May 30) plead guilty in Provincial Court. Owners are heavily fined.
[In trials reported to late Oct 1981, all found-ins had either pleaded or been found guilty.]
- June 12 / Toronto
- Provincial Court judge finds two employees guilty and three owners not guilty of keeping common bawdyhouse. Charges relate to Barracks steambath, raided by police December 9, 1978.
- June 16 / Toronto
- Police raid two more bathhouses, arresting twenty-one men on bawdyhouse charges.
[Raided: the Back Door Gym and Sauna; and the International Steam Baths.]
- June 20 / Toronto
- Gay demonstration, protesting bathhouse raids June 16, results in altercations with queer-bashers and police violence against demonstrators.
[See also Sep 30, below.]
- June 20-28 / Montreal
- Third annual Gay Pride Week (called "Gai-e lon la") draws nearly fifteeen thousand lesbians and gay men. Coincides with La fête nationale.
- June 30 / Moncton, New Brunswick
- City council passes last-minute amendment to bylaw to prevent a gay picnic from taking place in Centennial Park to celebrate Canada Day. Group of gay people hold picnic anyway.
- July 3 / Vancouver
- Federal NDP convention calls for amendment of bawdyhouse section of Criminal Code.
- July 8 / Montreal
- Owner of Sauna David is found guilty of keeping a common bawdyhouse. Charges resulting from police raid on bathhouse April 26, 1980.
- July 13 / Toronto
- City council appoints Arnold Bruner to conduct study into police / gay community relations, five months after February 5 bathhouse raids.
- August 1-7 / Vancouver
- Mayor Mike Harcourt, fulfilling election promise, proclaims Gay Unity Week. Parade is part of celebration for first time.
- August 25 / Ottawa
- McDonald Commission on RCMP wrongdoings releases report after four years of hearings and research. Reveals that Security Service has long-established programme for collecting information on homosexuals.
- August 30 - September 5 / Toronto
- Cabbagetown Group Softball League hosts the fifth Gay Softball World Series. Players from eleven cities in US and Canada.
- September 10 / Ottawa
- Gays of Ottawa (GO) celebrates tenth anniversary with official opening of community centre at 175 Lisgar Street. Reception attended by mayor Marion Dewar, Gordon Fairweather, head of Canadian Human Rights Commission, and MPP Michael Cassidy, leader of provincial NDP.
- September 24 / Toronto
- Provincial Court judge acquits Don Franco of charge of keeping common bawdyhouse in own home (see June 6, 1979).
- September 24 / Toronto
- Out of the Closet: Study of Relations Between Homosexual Community and Police, commissioned by city council, released by Arnold Bruner. Recognizes gay community as legitimate part of community and calls for permanent police / gay dialogue committee.
- September 30 / Toronto
- Provincial Court judge acquits man of assaulting police officer during June 20, 1981 demonstration. She calls for investigation of police conduct during protest.
- October 6 / Ottawa
- Supreme Court of Canada refuses to hear appeal of The Body Politic. Last resort of appeal exhausted; TBP back to retrial.
- October 7 / Toronto
- Dykes in the Street march, sponsored by Lesbians Against the Right, first lesbian pride march in Toronto.
- October 14 / Toronto
- Ontario Court of Appeal overturns reinstatement of gay Ontario Provincial Police officer Paul Head (see March 21, 1980).
[Head was acquitted in a jury trial, Dec 19, 1981, of the charge of indecent assault laid Apr 20, 1980 (see note at Mar 31, 1980). By then he had launched an appeal of the Oct 14 ruling overturning his reinstatement. The Body Politic, Aug 1985, reported that Head's appeal was rejected by the Supreme Court of Canada on May 9, 1985.]
- October 17-18 / Fredericton
- Third regional conference of Atlantic Lesbian and Gay Association brings together largest assembly of gays in New Brunswick.
- October 19 / Toronto
- Former mayor John Sewell wins junior aldermanic seat in Ward 6 byelection without gay issue playing a role.
- November 2 / Toronto
- First keeper trial following February 5 bath raids sees Romans II Sauna employee plead guilty, receive absolute discharge, while five others have charges withdrawn. Legal status of alleged found-ins ambiguous.
[Found-ins were still awaiting trial. The finding that the Romans II was a bawdyhouse potentially weakened their defence.]
- November 3 / Toronto
- Committee of city council considers Bruner Report on police / gay relations. Asks police chief to issue statement recognizing legitimacy of gay community and setting up gay awareness programme for police recruits.
- November 18 / Ottawa
- Canadian Gay Archives wins appeal with Revenue Canada. Gets tax exempt status as registered charity.
- November 20 / Toronto
- Club Bath chain head Jack Campbell, in surprise plea bargaining agreement, pleads guilty to conspiracy charges and is fined $40,000 (see April 21, 1981).
- December 1 / Toronto
- Ontario legislature defeats amendment to include sexual orientation in human rights code. Five non-violent protesters handcuff themselves to railings in spectators' gallery. Legislature is disrupted briefly. Last chance to provide protection for gay people. Ends decade of protect [sic; protest] and lobbying by gay movement (see June 29, 1972).
[See a chronology of the human rights battle in Ontario, from 1972, in The Body Politic, Feb 1981, and an excellent summary in its Jan / Feb 1982 issue. The latter story, "Ontario finally says no", also implied that this was the "last chance." There was no legal reason for that to be so, but fatigue with the strategy was obvious: the article's subhead was "Human right decade ends amid angry protest -- and some relief". But it was not the last chance, in Ontario or elsewhere: see What we demanded; What we got for later developments.]
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