Invention is the greatest idea of our time. Whether it is medical, scientific, social, or mechanical, a new invention of the day seems to be part of our everyday lives. Homosexuality is really no different. It may not be your everyday invention, but it clearly is and people throughout time to try and identify the first “known homosexual” in time. Some people wanted this new idea of homosexuality to just go away, but as time has gone on, it will not be going away anytime soon. It is getting to be more prominent in society and this paper takes the stand that in Canada especially, homosexuality is not seen by society overall as something different. Of course it is still not liked by everyone, but times are changing and with that comes the slow acceptance of homosexuality in today’s Canadian society.
History of Homosexuality in Canada
The Trials of Oscar Wilde:
* Trials of Oscar Wilde in the mid- 1890's in London, England; gave society in Canada something to base 'homosexuality' on. * People of the "Oscar Wilde type" was another way to politely term people of the homosexual nature. * It did not and still does not matter whether or not Wilde was a homosexual. * Sentenced to the maximum penalty of two years imprisonment and hard labour for being deemed such by judge of case. * At Wilde's sentencing, Judge stated: "It is no use for me to address you. People who can do these things must be dead to all sense of shame, and one cannot hope to produce any effect upon them. It is the worst case I have ever tried". * This time, it was the beginning of the "invention" of homosexuality.
Acts in Canada:
* Late 18th Century: The Canadian government criminalizes sexual relations between people of the same sex, even if they are consensual and occur in the privacy of home. The Criminal Code imposes the death penalty for this crime, which is followed by life imprisonment. * Up until 1969, homosexual relations are criminalized and people found guilty can receive the death penalty or life imprisonment. * 1953 The Canadian government adopts an amendment to the Canadian Immigration Act which prohibits foreign homosexuals from entering Canada. * The Canadian Parliament only removes this prohibition in 1977.
Homosexuality in the News:
* Imprisonment was the answer to the unnatural act of being a homosexual. * Medicine Hat Weekly Times: May 23, 1895: had front-page coverage of a case in Regina with caption "HORRIBLE CRIME AT REGINA: Arrest of Prominent Citizen in Connection with a Most Revolting Offence". * August 9, 1906: issue of the Edmonton Journal noted that two men had been charged "with heinous offences of character unfit for publication". * 1965, Supreme Court of Canada backed a ruling that labelled Everett Klippert a "dangerous sexual offender" and threw him in prison for admitting he was gay and that he had sex with other men. * Decision stood until July 20th, 1971, when Klippert was finally paroled, after an appeal on November 7th, 1967 was dismissed by the Supreme Court of Canada. * Things have taken time, but homosexuals are no longer being imprisoned strictly for being gay.
Victories and Defeats for Canadian Homosexuals:
* July1981, the New York Times wrote of a "rare cancer found in 41 homosexuals". * Now known that this rare cancer would later be Homosexuality termed AIDS, at time of article, no such word existed in medical terminology. * September 1982, the "first five diagnosed cases in Canada" of AIDS would be reported on in The Body Politic, which was the closest thing Canada has ever had to a gay and lesbian newspaper of record. * Now people can’t remember a time when the term AIDS did not exist, when it was only thirty-odd years ago that this was so. * April 1964, the first issue of ASK Newsletter appeared in Vancouver, which stated: "Some say that we do not live in the Dark...