Some of this is repetition from elsewhere on this website. (See the section on The BP for a longer discussion of Guerilla and its gay connections.) Charlie was on the Guerilla collective from its second issue, circa 1970. He was one of their two photographers and his photos appear in many issues as well as being used for the occasional cover. Long, long ago he managed to retrieve a large batch of his negatives from Guerilla. These cover the Toronto countercultural community, protests, etc, etc. for the second half of 1970. But attempts to find out what happened to subsequent years of his Guerilla photos have not been successful. It was in the guise of "the person from Guerilla" that he first appeared at CHAT, and it was the presence of so many gay people at Guerilla, especially Ken Hutchinson (who writes below as The Lavender Kid,) that brought him out. Sometime in 1972 in a conflict over the direction of the paper Ken Hutchinson and his lover Bob Wright and a seven or eight others left Guerilla. Charlie's take on the origins of the fight are hazy but seemingly it didn't have much or anything to do with gay content. A coup in late 1972, early 1973 turned Guerilla into Toronto Free Press/Guerilla Free Press. That lasted a year and the paper finally folded. Unfortunately, since we're nowhere near Toronto anymore, there's a lot I can't double-check and thus be more specific about.
Below are some of the articles and letters that appeared in Guerilla. Elsewhere on this website are other Guerilla items.
The paper's gay content was intermittent, but at least it was there. The YUHA and UTHA items are probably pieces handed in by those groups. In the page reproductions notice not only the ads for the Library Baths but those for the 511. Circa 1969-70, with my friends after the bars closed we'd move between Le Trique and the 511 and the Manatee catching the drag shows. The 511 was quite small compared to those places, downstairs and only a tiny dance floor with a stage that didn't allow for much illusion. As I remember it was almost like being in someone's rec room with an end curtained off for the stage.
November 27, 1970
U. of T. Homophile Association is for gay and straight — to help them understand themselves and each other. Write U.T.H.A. at 12 Hart House Circle, University of Toronto (or see announcemnts of meetings in the Varsity "Here and Now").
Metro police have been using entrapment methods to obtain convictions against sexual deviants, claims Ian Young, of the U. of T. Homophile Association. Young men walking on "Philosopher's Walk" at the U. of T., a well-known meeting spot for "dates", have been subject to intimidation, says Young.
It's fairly well known that Philosopher's Walk after dark, though little used by the general public, is a favorite "cruising" spot for some homosexuals. In Canada, unlike some states of the U.S., asking someone to have sex with you is not a crime — but touching someone "between the knee and the navel" can be interpreted as "indecent assault", and having sex in a "public place", even if it is concealed and legally private property constitutes "gross indecency". With this in mind, police have been going to Philosopher's Walk in pairs and waiting to be solicited, or, in some cases, standing in shadows pretending to be making out, thus encouraging other people there to do the same. When they do, they are arrested. Charges of "gross indecency" have been made against people standing up, fully clothed, against a wall, who may or may not have been touching one another at the time of the arrest.
Coincident with the entrapments on Philosopher's Walk, police have recently stepped up their arrests in public washrroms. Most of these occur in the Bloor-Yonge and Eglinton subway stations and in certain restaurants. A number of washrooms in these places have false grills or ventilators in the walls to enable police to observe people as they make use of the facilities. As no warnings are posted about this and relatively little publicity is given to arrests, these actions are virtually useless in preventing crime. Supposedly, individuals are arrested who engage in sexual activity in public; but people have, again, been arrested simply for touching or even for being touched.
In these cases and those involving Philosopher's Walk, the police objective seems to be not the prevention, or even the detection of crime, but the encouragement and manufacture of crime in order to make arrests. If the police were genuinely interested in preventing petty crime and enabling people to use public parks and washrooms freely, they could easily do so by installing signs or lights, and by visible patrolling. Instead, people are lured to the areas involved by the appearance of activity — often young, naive or frightened people who don't know where the gay bars and discothetques are or are afraid to be seen in them and who don't know how the police operate.
Heterosexual couples discovered having sex in a car are left alone or merely asked to move on by the police. For a couple fornicating in a park, the charge, if any, is a misdemeanor. For people engaged in homosexual relations, the consequences can be a good deal more grave: the police rely for their large percentage of convictions on the accused being intimidated into pleading guilty to avoid further trouble and publicity. Arrested people are sometimes told, probably quite correctly, that if they deny the charges against them in court, the judge is virtually obliged to believe the policeman. As a result, they plead guilty and if convicted, they might lose their jobs, or, if they are not citizens, be expelled from the country.
January ?, 1971
So I grossed you out two issues ago with The Lavender Kid & Butch. Or maybe I turned you on, depending on your inclinations. Man, you missed the point. A HOMOSEXUAL comic strip is in bad taste! So why subject our readers to a graphic discussion of a guy's sex? Well, it's just that to be QUEER is also in very bad taste. Should queers just go away, or should we hang them for having existed in the first place? But people, you can throw away a comic strip, and close off a man's life. ln both you are excluding part of humanity from your mind, and excluding a human being from leading a good life in your society.
So FUCK the apologies! A complex problem is answered in a simple solution. Its vulgar sense is sincere, so read it in understanding.
To 'come out', in gay jargon, means to become aware of yourself as a man with sexual feelings for other men; aware of yourself as being one of a whole underworld of gay men, not being so 'different' as you once thought. It means you start being you and enjoying your sex rather than 'sinning'. Before too long the complete awareness begins. You have been born anew into a world of Homosexuals, whose co-hesiveness and cameradie exists not for love of fellow humans, but out of the fear of being different. This new world is hardly more tolerant than the old; it exists not to spread more love, just for protection. The schizophrenic life begins to exclude natural friends met in the normal course of life, and narrow to the test of selection by sex. The gay ghettos of the St. Charles and Parkside clubs circuit becomes the social life that predominates all others. The shell has yet to be broken; the embryo has only broken through the skin. The realization exists that if your straight friends discover you they can screw up your life but good. So why bother having straight friends? And good old mum and dad, bless their hearts, it would kill them.
So what to do? Maybe make a clean breast of it, tell everybody you know that you're going queer? Sure, that will certainly get rid of the anxieties .. and the job, friends, parents or anything else in life you may have considered worthwhile. But that's only temporary: either you only meet gay friends from then on, and move into a ghetto, or you keep on meeting all sort of people, and taking your chances on their broadness of mind. But then, one is not to wear sex like a cross. Eventually the adjustment comes and the sexuality is worn more like a flag. witness the tight-crotched and bare chested populance of Yonge and Breadalbane all summer. The links binding you with your new friends are the chains of a straight society. When I say traight society I'm talking about the world that doesn't accept your right to be different. Doesn't matter If the subject is colour, creed, sex life, eating or sleeping habits. That's STRAIGHT, Llberation does not exist in straight soclety.
Give It To Me
If you are gay, do not bother asking the straights for more freedom. Man, they are not even free themselves. They haveto hide their own bodies under the most sweltering summer heat, censure any depiction of lovemaking, degrade their genitals as a dirty part of the body, and call any enjoyment of the body a sin. Now you may think this way of thinking is gone . . . ask your parents.
Fuck that shit. Your liberation exists in coming together with all people, in an atmosphere of love and peace, free of shame and hate. Gay people are so segregated even from each other, and far from bringing any community together.
Liberation means to get together, analyse your problems, and come up with some human solutions. Throughout North America, groups of gays are beginning to challenge a system which oppresses people on the basis of sex and sexual preferences. This oppression is called sexism.
We need to create in Toronto a spirit within which we relate to each other with mutual respect, as brothers and sisters, rather than as drifting sex objects. We need to build a warm, relaxed, social centre free from the frantic cruising of the clubs. And the only way to do this means to get in with others whose needs are the same. If you are sincerely wanting to help yourself, either go to the Homophile Wednesday night meetings, and initiate some action, or leave me a note at the Guerilla offices.
York University Homophiles work on their future
Many things have come down through the ages shrouded in myth and legend, to be whispered about, but never openly approached. Perhaps one of the most misunderstood realities of life is the homosexual. Unfortunately, the word "Homosexual" carries certain connotations that require no adjectives to paint a stereotype picture in the eyes of society.
For this, and other reasons the York University Homqphile Association was formed in October of 1970. The word 'homophile' is derived from the Greek words 'homo' meaning 'same' and 'philos' meaning 'loving'. The fact that the word homophile is preferred over the expression homosexual is due to the need to convey that feelings towards the same sex do not merely involve sexual feelings, but the entire complexity of feelings which we call love.
The association was formed under the direction of Roger Wilkes, a grad student at York. Knowing Roger as a person is to dispel many of these myths and legends. His belief in what he is doing is unending. To step forward as he has and to offer hope to so many makes him more of a man than the stereotype picture society paints of what a man should be.
Since its beginning the association has taken on a membership of fifty people, all coming together to examine the problems facing the homosexual. Probably the most basic principle of the association lies in the fact that the sexual orientation of the homosexual or the heterosexual for that matter is only one facet of the total personality. To judge a person's entire character on that one point is wrong and extremely narrow minded. If the homosexual could be looked upon as a person, nothing more and nothing less, the whole dilemna surrounding it might dissipate.
The aim of the association can enlarge past this point to a two-fold concept: 1) On an educational level starting on campus it hopes to paint a realistic picture of the homosexual so he can stand up with his peers without fear of condemnation. Furthermore the association hopes to spread this realistic picture into the community outside the campus, so that someday soon homosexuality will be of little significance in the eyes of the law, religion and employers. 2) On an internal basis, the association hopes to establish a viable alternative to the "gay ghetto" of Toronto. Nobody but a homosexual can know the loneliness, fear and loneliness, fear and guilt associated with the back alley routine of the downtown gay bars and discoteques. Very little, if anything of an intellectual nature is carried on in these places. It seems to be an endless parade of cold smiles and frustrating pseudo- friendships. Being that a homosexual is a human being first, this can be emotionally crippling and ultimately totally destructive.
The association has already shown that it has a definite role to play on campus with invitations to speak to the Physical Education classes, and a group of the Women's Liberation at the Glendon Campus. (Undoubtedly in the future after speaking to more groups the association will show it not only has a role to play but also a lot to offer the campus community.)
On December 11th of last year about a dozen member!s of Y.U.H.A. met for a drink at the Winters Pub and it was at this small meeting that they decided to initiate a move towards what they so strongly believe in. Together with a hell of courage they decided to join the dance at McLaughlin. There was no great concern shown by either the security guards or their fellow students. Among many favourable comments received was, "I admire what you fellows are doing".
The association has also handed out questionnaires on homosexuality in the Central Square on two occasions. The response to this has been quite favourable. Through using these questionnaires the Y.U.H.A. hopes to establish just what the general feelings and understandings are concerning homosexuality on the campus.
The Y.U.H.A. has certainly accomplished a lot within the past few months and it appears as if the association will go even farther as an integral part of the Campus Community.
In the summer of 1971, over two issues, Guerilla reprinted Carl Wittman's famous document, A Gay Manifesto. Google it and see what you think. Compare it with WE DEMAND, in the first issue of The BP.
Your reply to Peter Zorzi's question regarding Guerilla's position on Gay Liberation is equivocating. If Guerilla intends to be part of the Alternate Culture and an alternative to the establishment press, you should stop playing the politics of equivocation. So did the Globe and Mail, The Star, The Telegram, and countless other media sources cover the Ottawa rally. That your article on the Ottawa demonstration was written by one of the participants is commendable only in so far as it is more accurate than wire services.
However, it does tell us nothing regarding Guerilla's stand on gay people's struggle for equality, liberty, and the right to their sexuality.
Last night (September 8} thirteen gay men and women were physically thrown out of the Pretzel Bell Pub for committing the egregious offenses of having a good time and dancing with one another. Once outcast we were pursued on the streets with several gays being slugged and kicked in the groin.
In light of this, as only one of many examples of gay oppression, does Guerilla really intend for us as gays to
gather that we have Guerilla's support by reading between the lines when you state: "We hope Guerilla readers
understand that it's through our coverage that we express our interest and attitudes." The italics mean nothing.
It is time for Guerilla to be direct and forthright: Do you support Gay Liberation?
Toronto Gay Action
On the morning of August 30th, Dick Smythe, news editor of CHUM, voiced an editorial which, among other things, contained the following choice pieces of intellectual vomit:
He said that the demonstration of homosexuals in Ottawa was akin to "a demonstration for equality and acceptance by militant alcoholics, militant lepers, or militant lunatics."
He added, "The entire Gay Liberation movement . . . is negative and unproductive. It is a mental and a sexual aberration.
"The prospect of a group of homosexuals prancing about Parliament HilL . . . makes me wonder if perhaps it's all an insane nightmare from which I shortly will return to reality."
The following letter is a reply to Mr. Smythe's diatribe.AN OPEN REPLY TO DICK SMYTHE Dear Mr. Smythe,
In reply to your editorial of August 30th, (8:00 a.m.), I wish to make a few comments. As a homosexually orientated person I wish to inform you that I was not "prancing" around Parliament Hill on August 28th (2:00 p.m.) I was, however, walking in unison with 100 other men and women in support of proposed changes regarding homosexuality. The proposed changes were presented in a brief to the government. It does not surprise me that you would wonder if this demonstration was an insane, nightmare from which you would shortly return to reality. I sympathize with you, because I realize that many males in this particular society have doubts as to their masculinity and that anything that threatens this masculinity is regarded as abnormal and has to be suppressed immediately.
Regarding the idea of normal behaviour. There is not any definition to describe the idea of a general normality, when referring to human beings in general. Only an individual can define a normality to suit his own values.
Homosexuality does have some redeeming or positive aspects to it. It is an alternative life style to being heterosexual. As an alternative, it can be just as rewarding.
Homosexuality is not an aberration. A point to remember is that in this society one is taught to be heterosexual whether one wants to be or not. Straight society has to realize that gay people are human also and that they have a special consciousness, that should not be suppressed by straight society. ••»'
Society has helped some gay people become sick by denying them the chance to express their totality as individuals. In a sick society that has not achieved the consciousness necessary to get over their ego-tripping about supposed heterosexual superiority.
All your broadcast has achieved, Mr. Smythe, is to continue to tell the masses what they wish to hear and to
comfort them in their continued ignorance about homosexuality.
May 18, 1972
Dear Deesh, It's interesting that you write under the heading "Underground Woman" because that sort of relates to what I'm writing you about--the Underground Me. I remember a couple of weeks ago reading your request that someone write you, and I wanted to, but I didn't know what to write about. I also wanted to (intend to) write something for Guerilla, but there too I didn't know what to write about--and there was my problem, and perhaps much of the problem with most people (assuming most people have problems which in an alienating society seems a fair assumption). That is, writing or talking "about" something rather than talking "from" one's self. And that takes a lot more than might first be expected, because before you can write from your self, you first have to "know" yourself--the Underground You--divorced from that socially imposed superstructure of roles, stances, perspectives, interpretations, biases, hidden motives, limited expression, ego structures, etc. . . (I write to you because you feel, to me, divorced).
Let me see if I can tell you more what I mean. When I was in L.A. about four years ago I spent nearly a month living with a homosexual named Mike (that was his name). During that period I probably came to terms with and discovered more of my own sexuality and the real sexuality of others than ever before. I learnt about, discovered (or finally faced-admitted to) the Underground Me. Mike scared me silly. You see, I thought he was "queer". That's more than homosexual -- representing extremes (although unconscious - probably the worst kind) sexist bias as well as much more: Actually, the one that was queer was me for thinking him queer. I mean this in that it was an expression of my own estrangement from myself--I didn't quite know how to cope with, handle not him, but myself and my own feelings. What scared me about Mike was that I was deathly afraid, deathly, deathly afraid that I might have homosexual inclinations myself (i.e. not a "real MAN"). I'd never at this time been to bed with a woman and I really had no way of knowing one way or another--or I thought I didn't (it mattered then)-- I was pretty insecure (read alienated from myself and fucked up).
However, during that month I got to know Mike pretty well. We used to go driving -- I liked to drive all the time, and talk. (I think there's something vaguely sexual about driving with someone). Anyways, Mike was really amazing. He'd been and done and seen all sorts of things all over the place -- and he was a terrible hodgepodge -- part male part female, fucked up, strung out on drugs wanted by the cops for fraud ten years -- almost past Statute of Limitations, trimming poodles, picked pineapples in Hawaii, cook in the navy (real good) various transient boyfriends -- one I remember sat all day playing guitar -- guilt, 16, said he only went to bed with Mike to help Mike get together -- fucked up, living with this biker lesbian with a tattooed panther on her thigh, taking his landlord to court over the plumbing so he wouldn't have to pay the rent for his house he couldn't afford, transient dogs -- fleas, a possum with rickets. Mike tried to commit suicide once--saw a painting he painted just before he did -- all dark, heavy, creeping, weighing down, smothering, black -- took me (pretending to be his new boyfriend) to flaunt before his old boyfriend who had jilted him who was very rich, his mother there blamed Mike for "making" him homosexual, I played with this guy's monkey and talked to his new boyfriend while Mike and his old boyfriend went and made it in one of the bedrooms (very heavy scene -- I coped pretty well -- it helped if I was drunk). Cops found Mike cause of landlord, he's gone -- blew -- God knows where, or why, or where he is, under all that fucked-up what was he? who was he? He didn't know.
And this was Mike and I SAW him. He was such a vast swirling mixture of roles, male, female, etc. etc. that all of a sudden crystal clear, underneath all that fucked up, cess-pooled super-structure that society in its ultimate of human destructiveness had constructed I saw looking out at me a HUMAN BEING -- the Underground Him -- very lost and very, very afraid . . . and we touched. No roles. No physical sex (I wasn't ready, maybe still aren't for that) It wasn't needed just real sexuality -- that sensuous rapport of real recognition between human beings. That "You in there"--in the black existential depths hidden within the averted pupils--from "Me in here".
And I stopped being queer. Mike wasn't anything. He wasn't a man. He wasn't a woman. He wasn't queer, homosexual, fag -- and neither was I. No role. No definition. He was only HIM -- and that's everything, substance. And I'm ME. And I feel for women. And I love. There's no difference between male and female love, from or for. And that's sensuous-sexual-human me, the Underground Me. And now I approach women the same way (I hope) unique, not sex "objects", no roles, no definitions, sexually not sexist. Me-you-us-all of us-Human Beings, unique--it's very hard.
I'd like to talk more but I have to study for my exams. If you'd like to talk to me please write back. Love and Peace, Eric
The photos below were taken by Charlie at 20 Spruce St., a house in Toronto Charlie and I shared with Bill Klein circa 1972-3. Rick Bebout, who met Ken Hutchinson in 1970 hawking Guerilla on the street, was enamoured and writes briefly of him in a couple of places on his Promiscuous Affections website on Toronto gay life. Ken and his lover of that time, Bob Wright, were both from Ottawa. Ken was a member of the Guerilla collective and Bob probably attended a lot of Guerilla meetings. But Charlie's unsure whether he was also a collective member. Through his father's diplomatic connections Ken gained contacts in the southern USSR and southeast Asia. He began a rug importing business and travelled in those areas, bringing back much that hadn't been seen before in Canada. His death at 41, on July 20, 1989, was HIV related. We lost contact with Bob but the two of them were no longer together by the 1980's. Charlie thinks at the time of these photos Bob was trying to start a perfume and scent business.