History of The Body Politic:
The Collective and Key Figures

Rainbow Line
A Labour of Love: The Body Politic Collective

The Body Politic began as a collective and stayed true to these roots throughout its existence. Collectives, quite popular in the 1960s, became increasingly uncommon during the subsequent decades, making the Body Politic a rarity. The journal's collective ownership effectively meant that writers, photographers, editors and others involved with the paper all worked for each other. Only a handful of people were ever paid for their work on the journal, the few who were received small, one-time lump sum payments rather than regular salaries. Truly, the Body Politic was, for all involved with it, a labour of love.

In 1975, the Body Politic created its own owner, the Pink Triangle Press, which legally required the establishment of a board of directors. While in principle, the Board signified the first traces of hierarchy at the Body Politic, in practice, the collective continued to run the paper throughout its entire existence. Rick Bébout, one of the Body Politic's long-time members, has described the collective this way:

It wasn't always efficient - but it was effective: it kept people involved, committed; kept them working out of no more than passion. Hundreds of people over time, only a handful ever paid. Without that passion - and ways to foster it -there would have been no [Body Politic] (Bébout, online).
Key Figures in the Life of The Body Politic
| Ed Jackson | Gerald Hannon | Rick Bébout |
| Merv Walker | Ken Popert | Jearld Moldenhauer |
| Hugh Brewster | Robert Trow | Tim McCaskell |
*Note: information in the list has been taken from Bébout, online.

Over its life, many people contributed to the Body Politic in numerous and varied ways. The collective, aside from a core group who devoted their lives to the paper for most of its existence, changed regularly, and many people who were not part of the collective nevertheless influenced the paper by writing for it or performing other activities related to design, distribution and accounting matters. The list below is by no means a comprehensive inventory of everyone who influenced the Body Politic during its lifetime, but rather, a brief synopsis of the work of some of the paper's most important and/or enduring contributors.

Ed Jackson
Born in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Jackson relocated to Toronto in 1966 and joined the collective of the Body Politic five years later, in October 1971, eventually going on to become the paper's editor. When Pink Triangle Press was established, Jackson became one of three Directors. He was also one of the men charged on 5 January 1978 for distributing immoral, indecent or scurrilous material. In 1982, Jackson co-edited Flaunting It! A Decade of Gay Journalism from the Body Politic.

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Gerald Hannon
Born in small-town, New Brunswick, Hannon also came to Toronto during the late 1960s and joined the Body Politic editorial collective at the end of 1971. During the 15 year life of the paper, he was one of its most prolific and controversial writers. As the author of the infamous "Men Loving Boys Loving Men" article, Hannon was also one of the men charged during the police raid in January 1978. When the Body Politic folded in 1987, Hannon went on to pursue freelance writing and held, for a period of time, a position in the journalism faculty at Ryerson University.

Rick Bébout
Arriving in Toronto as an American immigrant in, Bébout was one of the founders of the Body Politic. He wrote for the paper for the majority of its life and has since, devoted considerable time and energy to chronicling the history of both the paper and the gay rights movement. In 2000, he published Promiscuous Affections: A Life in the Bar, 1969-2000, which he describes as "a vast memoir of times and places very much my own - if also much more than mine" (Bébout 2001, online). He has also been involved in writing much of the history of the Body Politic, which he has published online.

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Merv Walker
Born in Kamsak, Saskatchewan, Walker was a founding member of Saskatoon's first gay group. He wanted to see what was going on in gay culture in other parts of the country as well, and so made the trip to Toronto in 1972 and soon joined the Body Politic collective. For most of the 1970s, he designed and produced the paper, as well as doing some writing for it on occasion. He currently runs his own design company.

Ken Popert
Born in Toronto, Popert eventually returned to the city after studying in the United States, joining the Body Politic collective in 1973. He continued to write for the paper, and is credited by his peers as being the one who brought order to the paper by "moving the news right up front" (Bébout 2000, online). Popert was the third member of the collective to be arrested following the Januray 1978 police raid. After the Body Politic folded in 1987, Popert revitalized Pink Triangle Press by focusing on a different publication, Xtra. He is now the president and director of the Pink Triangle Press and Xtra continues to be published in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver.

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Jearld Moldenhauer
A founding member of the the Body Politic collective, Moldenhauer recognized the need for gay culture to have its own voice in the media after an article he wrote on the Toronto Gay Action Rally in 1971 was censored, even by the underground magazine Guerilla. Moldenhauer played several integral roles for the Body Politic during its early years. For the first three years of the paper's existence, Moldenhauer was the main photographer and also supplied the 'office space' for the journal in his own home. He left the paper in 1974 to concentrate on his bookstore Glad Day Bookshop.

Hugh Brewster
While attending university in Guelph in 1971, Brewster met Jearld Moldenhauer and learned of the Body Politic. Brewster was involved with the paper by Issue 2. He wrote for the paper regularly during the 1970s, focusing on the urban gay ghetto and its culture. In the late 1970s, Brewster turned Buddhist and moved to New York.

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Robert Trow
Born in Thornhill, Trow studied at the University of Toronto in the early 1970s. He began writing for the Body Politic in 1973 and was on the collective by the following year. He was responsible for the paper's distribution from that time until the Body Politic eventually folded. In addition, he was among the only people on the Body Politic staff who were ever paid for their work; for several months in late 1974, he earned $80 a month as the paper's office manager. Since 1986, he has worked as a paramedic at the Hassle Free Clinic in Toronto, a clinic which has, over the years, seen more gay men than any other medical facility in Canada.

Tim McCaskell
Born in Beaverton, Ontario, McCaskell came to Toronto in the early 1970s and joined the Body Politic collective in 1975. He worked at the paper for 12 years, writing and compiling, and he is credited as being the one who gave the paper its international scope, since he often wrote about various aspects of gay culture in the many places to which he travelled. He currently works for the Toronto Board of Education and was a founding member of AIDS Action Now!

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