QUEER CATHARSIS

For Charlie Dobie who keeps me half-way civil and mostly sane, and who suggested I call my Toronto Area Gays epic Gaylord Of The Rings.
And thanks to Harold Averill and the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives for their assistance and indulgence.

The simplest description of this website is that it covers the intersection of our lives, Charlie's and mine, with gay liberation and the Canadian gay movement of the 1970's. There are no claims for it beyond that. Most of it was written decades ago, make of it what you will.


By the time Charlie and I delivered our multi-boxes of gay movement bits and pieces to the CLGA in the late 1980's, much that was most interesting had disappeared. Sorting through those boxes at the Archives, it seemed to me their contents didn't amount to a hill of beans, so I set out to give them some backstory. Most important was to assemble something on Toronto Area Gays, an organization that a good many people had put much work into. That took longer than expected and I was running out of time and patience by the time I tackled the rest. As a result, much of the guide to our Archives accession ended up disjointed and semi-literate at best.

The anecdotes in the guide, presented here, were for the most part centred on the pieces of paper that managed to make it into the accession. If there had been other pieces of paper there would have been other stories. In no way am I or was I going to try to write a history of the period or its organizations with the possible exception of TAG. And even that section I see as a discussion of Toronto Area Gays rather than a comprehensive history.

On this website I've included, in some cases, lists of the accession items. Hopefully that might give some flavour or added worth to the site. The very significant addition to what was in the guide is of course Charlie's photographs. As we come across more I'll try to put them on.

The importance of the 1970's was the sea change in how we, as a community and as individuals, saw ourselves and how we chose to address the gulf between this and the way society viewed us. In addition the networks people formed in that decade, and the experience gained, were of great importance to how things developed in the future. To which it needs to be added we were not the first to think the way we did and likewise our actions found their roots in previous decades.

In the end the most I'm hoping for with this website is some sense of the times in which to place Charlie and myself, and Toronto Area Gays. This is of course a personal website, so no apologies as it steers full speed in that direction.



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SIGNS OF THE TIMES

Nov.6, 2019
A few weeks ago a TV producer was asking me if I remembered anything about the homophobic murder of Kenneth Zeller in High Park. I knew nothing except what I'd read about it. But in 1985 at the time his murderers were sentenced I did happen to write myself this little note. So bye the bye here it is. For those unfamiliar with them, Philosophers Walk was among other things a gay cruising ground. Likewise St. Joseph St., which was also a site of gay clubs for decades.

"Judge gave out 9 year sentences to 5 kids who murdered librarian in High Park. He called it an 'execution' but the sentences mean they can be out on day parole in 18 months and full parole in 3 years.
Couple of weeks ago guys in Philosophers Walk with pipes beating up people.
Also on St. Joseph St. bunch of goons slashed a group of five with knives.
Cops are arresting people in Parkside's washrooms again. Courtwatch thinks approximately 600 people will be arrested in washrooms in the city this year."


TO BE ADDED IN 2019


-- in late 2019, early 2020, I'm hoping to add an anecdotal section on my gay life, such as it was, in Montreal for 1964-70, with eight months of Vancouver circa 1965-6 thrown in, plus some Toronto bar life for the period 1969-71 and perhaps onwards. A purely personal perspective, as always. And annoyingly vague, but it was a long time ago.

ADDED IN 2016:


June/2016
-- a section with a few photos of the 1981 Toronto Pride parade
-- a section with photos of small-town Perth's Pride parades 2014-16, along with a bit of reflection on past and present Prides.

July/2016
-- a 1976 interview with Charlie about Toronto Area Gays that appeared in Other Voices out of the University of Waterloo

Sept/2016
-- a new introduction to the page on Toronto Prideweeks in the 1970s, includes a small screed on historical inaccuracy and historical condescension



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