Gay Men & Lesbians Historic & Current Barriers to Equality
• In the past homosexuality was a crime- it was a part of the Criminal Code of Canada • Punishments: fines, persecution & torture, death
• The first attempt to put homosexuality in a positive light was carried out by Jim Egan- submitted articles and letters to tabloids like Toronto's True News Times in the 1960s. • The Maison de Lys- first club where gay men and lesbians could go for same-sex dancing, opened in 1961 • Such efforts were the beginnings of an attempt to build Toronto's own gay culture • Gay activism was met by resistance from the government through police raids • In 1969, then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau decriminalized consenting sexual acts between people of the same sex • Issuing his famous dictum that "the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation." • Stonewall Riots in New York City happened that same year in reaction to police harassment of the gay community • organizations advocating gay liberation: Gay Alliance Toward Equality (GATE) of Toronto • Gay activism was met by resistance from the government through police raids- simultaneous raid on four bathhouses on February 5, 1981 (after legalized) • Resulted in the first mass demonstration by the gay community on the evening of February 6 • Municipal government commissioned a report that recognized Toronto's gays and lesbians as a community subsequent to the communities’ reaction • Since 1973 sexual orientation included in anti-discrimination policies • Granted benefits to same-sex spouses in 1989 by Toronto Public Library Board • Toronto Board of Education released a gay-positive curriculum guide in 1992
The Struggle for Equal Rights
• Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Ontario (CLGRO), established in 1975, fought to include sexuality under the protective clauses of the Ontario Human Rights Code. • In 1995, a key legal ruling by the Supreme...
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