History of The Gay Liberation in Canada, 1980s
Climate and Timeline

Rainbow Line
1980 1981  1982 1986
The Movement During the 1980s -
The Effect of Family Values and AIDS:
"In the early 1980s, another ingredient was added to the potent brew, as the death and devastation wrought by the arrival of AIDS became overwhelming...Providing services for the growing legions of those who became ill vied with the established advocacy agendas for resources and community support... There were calls for repressing liberated sexuality, especially the curtailment of promiscuity and celebratory or recreation sexuality, and the scapegoating of gay men as the cause of a deadly epidemic" (Warner 141, 161).
Social and Political Atmosphere:

During this decade, advocacy took a backseat to the care of those with AIDS and educating the public about the disease. (See Index no.77 1981 and no.88 1982). "Community organizations launched in the 1970s...were instrumental in establishing the first AIDS groups in a number of Canadian cities" (Warner 164). Infighting occurred over the issue of age of consent, with the article "Men Loving Boys Loving Men" at the heart of it all (Warner 119-120). Police raids continued throughout the decade, and "the empowerment achieved from spontaneous, mass uprisings in the face of police harassment is the raids' most significant legacy" (Warner 113). Many new aspects of the movement arose during the 1980s, such as Queer art and music, as well as the participation of gays and lesbians with disabilities and of different races. Much of the advocacy focus was on legislation to include sexual orientation as a basis for discrimination, however despite much effort, it was not until the late 1990s and early 2000s that the legislation came into effect.

*Note: information from timeline has been taken from Jackson & Persky, pgs. 238-244.

Toronto - Gay Asians of Toronto formed

February 6, Toronto - In a Canadian publishing first, The Globe and Mail runs a full-page ad calling on Attorney General Roy McMurty to drop an appeal related to The Body Politic

February, Kingston - Lesbian mother given custody of her 10-year-old daughter

March 31, Burlington - Paul Head, an OPP Constable suspended in 1978 and ordered reinstated on 21 March 1980, suspended again by OPP

April 23, Montreal - Police raid Sauna David

April 26, Montreal - Protest of Sauna David raid

April 30, Winnipeg - The Joy of Gay Sex and The Joy of Lesbian Sex removed from shelves of Coles and Classics after police threats

June 2, Ottawa - Canadian Union of Postal Workers included sexual orientation as a basis of their definition of discrimination

July 5, Winnipeg - Liberal Party of Canada resolves to include sexual orientation in Canadian Human Rights Act

August, Halifax - General Council of United Church of Canada accepts gays and lesbians into the ministry with their document "In God's Image...Male and Female"

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January 29, Ottawa - Proposed amendment to the Charter of Rights, which would include sexual orientation, is voted down by committee

February 5, Toronto - Four bathhouse raids result in arrest of 286 men (See Index no.71, no.72 1981

February 6 , Toronto - 3000+ people protest against bathhouse raids

February, Toronto - 4000+ people protest at Metro Toronto Police's 52 Division against the bathhouse raids

March 6, Toronto - Gay Freedom Rally protests raids

April 21, Toronto - Charges laid against 6 people as a result of 5 February raids

May 30, Edmonton - Police raid Pisces Spa

June 2, Toronto, Bill 7 - Human Rights Bill hearings begin

June 16, Toronto - Police raid bathhouses

June 20, Toronto - Protest of recent raids

August 1-7, Vancouver - Mayor Mike Harcourt declares Gay Unity Week

September 24, Toronto - Out of the Closet: Study of Relations Between Homosexual Community and Police released

October 7, Toronto - Dykes in the Streets march

December 1, Toronto - Bill 7 defeated, protestors handcuff themselves to the gallery

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January 20, Toronto - Jack Ackroyd, chief of police, states that gays and lesbians are part of the community

February 6, Toronto - Protest to mark the one-year anniversary of the 5 February 1981 raids

April & May, Toronto - Glad Day Bookshop, the only gay bookstore in the area, targeted by police Morality Squad, owner Gary Orr charged (Warner 113)


Vancouver - People With AIDS coalition forms (Warner 251)

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