History of The Body Politic - A Timeline

Rainbow Line
1971 1972  1973 1974  1975 1976  1977 1978  1979
1980 1981  1982 1983  1984 1985  1986 1987


*Note: Information in the timeline has been taken from Bébout, online and Jackson & Persky, pgs. 224-243.

November 1 - Issue 1 of the Body Politic (November/December 1971) goes on sale in Toronto.


August 23-28 - Outcry from Toronto's daily newspapers over the Body Politic's publication of an article by Gerald Hannon entitled "Of Men and Little Boys" in Issue 5. Criminal charges were threatened, but never laid.

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February 12 - Two major Toronto dailies, the Globe & Mail and the Toronto Star refuse to publish a classified ad which marketed subscriptions to the Body Politic.

August - The Body Politic founds the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives in Toronto. The foundation of the archives is the Body Politic's back issues.


October - After continued ad refusals by the Toronto Star and an editorial stating that the paper "stops short of encouraging the spread of homosexuality," The Body Politic publishes a four page extra entitled "The Star Sells Hate" and pickets outside the home of the Star's publisher.

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May - Issue 18 of the Body Politic is ordered off newsstands by the Morality Squad of the Metro Toronto Police because of a cartoon called "Harold Hedd," which depicts two men engaged in oral sex.


Summer - The Body Politic receives an Ontario Arts Council grant of $1500; it is the first of three such grants.

September - As of the September issue, the Body Politic becomes a monthly paper; it had, up until this point, been published on a bimonthly basis.

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November 21 - Issue 39 of the Body Politic goes on sale; among its features is an article by Gerald Hannon entitled "Men Loving Boys Loving Men," a frank and non-judgmental discussion of pedophilia.

December 22-27 - Claire Hoy, a columnist for the Toronto Sun, publishes a series of articles attacking "Men Loving Boys Loving Men." Hoy encourages the Ontario Arts Council to rescind their $1500 grant and urges police to lay charges against the Body Politic.

December 30 - Members of a joint Toronto-provincial pornography squad known as "Operation P" raid the offices of the Body Politic. The raid lasts over 3 hours and the squad seizes over 12 crates of material including the Body Politic subscription lists.

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January 5 - Criminal charges are laid against the Body Politic and three officers of Pink Triangle Press, the publisher of the Body Politic. The charges are "possession of obscene material for distribution" (section 159 of the Criminal Code) and "use of the mails for purpose of transmitting indecent, immoral or scurrilous materials" (Section 164) (see Index, Issue 40).

September 29 - Ontario Arts Council gives the Body Politic its last grant, valuing $1650, after a three month delay and much backroom politicking. The media backlash is so intense that the minister responsible for the OAC eventually publicly criticizes the award.

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January 2 - The trial of the Body Politic, for the charges laid against the paper on January 5, 1978, begins in Toronto before Provincial Court Judge Sydney Harris.

January 3 - Newly elected Toronto mayor John Sewell attends a Free the Press rally for the Body Politic. Sewell makes a public speech at the rally, calling for the legal protection of gays; there is subsequent uproar in the media.

February 14 - Judge Sydney Harris finds the Body Politic and the Pink Triangle Press officers not guilty on both charges (see Index, issue 51).

March 6 - Attorney General Roy McMurty appeals the acquittal of the Body Politic.

December 27 - Judge Sydney Harris orders the crown to return to the Body Politic all material seized during the December 30, 1977 raid, and to pay costs. The Crown appeals this decision.

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February 6 - A full-page ad in the Globe & Mail, backed by over 800 individuals and groups, calls for Attorney General Roy McMurty to drop his appeal of the Body Politic's acquittal. This is the first time a Canadian daily newspaper has ever published an advertisement advocating a gay cause.

February 7-8 - County Court Judge George Ferguson hears the Crown appeal of the Body Politic's acquittal.

February 29 - Judge George Ferguson orders the Body Politic back to Provincial Court to face a new trial. The Body Politic appeals this verdict.

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March 4 - Ontario Court of Appeal hears the Body Politic's appeal of the County Court's order of a retrial.

March 25 - Court of Appeal rejects the appeal of the Body Politic to have the order of a retrial overturned.

June 2 - The standing committee of the Ontario legislature begins hearings on the Human Rights Bill; the Body Politic's lawyer Claton Ruby is the first to speak.

October 6 - The last resort of appeal, the Supreme Court of Canada refuses to hear the appeal of the Body Politic, sending the paper back to trial (see Index, Issue 78).

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May 7 - Morality Squad officers arrive at the office of the Body Politic with a search warrant; they leave empty handed after a brief search of the premises.

May 12 - Toronto Police charge all nine members of the Body Politic editorial collective with publishing obscene material. The charges are in response to an article in the April issue (Issue 82) of the paper, entitled "Lust With A Very Proper Stranger," which discussed the etiquette of "fistfucking."

May 31 - The Body Politic and the three officers of the Pink Triangle Press go on trial in Provincial Court for the second time, facing charges of using the mail to transmit immoral and indecent material.

June 15 - The Body Politic and the Pink Triangle Press officers are acquitted for the second time on the immorality/indecency charges, this time by Provincial Court Judge Thomas Mercer.

November 1 - The nine members of the Body Politic editorial collective go to trial on the May 12, 1982 charges of publishing obscene material. All nine are acquitted on the same day, and the verdict is not appealed.

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October - The final deadline for the Crown to appeal the acquittal of the Body Politic and the Pink Triangle Press officers on the immorality/indecency charges passes.


March - Xtra, a subsidiary effort of the Pink Triangle Press, is launched. Xtra's growth from a small tabloid built around community events listings to a more substantial publication coincides with the decline of the Body Politic.

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April 15 - The last of the material seized in the police raid on the Body Politic office on December 30, 1977 is finally returned.


December 16 - The Pink Triangle Press decides to cease publication of the Body Politic.


February - The final issue, Issue 135 of the Body Politic is published.

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