December 17, 2018

DAVIE VILLAGE POST Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada LGBTQ2+ Hub

Raiding History

Photo Credit To Jason Pier / CC BY-SA 2.0

Why can’t Canada’s LGBTQ community tell its story correctly?

I n 1981 , police stormed various bathhouses in Toronto. Locked doors were opened with crowbars and sledgehammers. Hundreds were rounded up, charges were laid, men were named publicly, and lives effectively ruined—this was when being identified as gay meant possible job loss and rejection by friends and family.

The response to the raids was swift and impressive. Twenty-four hours later, several thousand people amassed at the corner of Yonge and Wellesley, and marched to a local cop shop where they denounced the police raids as crossing a line. The action became part of a larger movement that was well under way in Canada and around the world, then quaintly referred to as Gay Liberation.

So it’s not a surprise that members of Canada’s LGBTQ communities cheered last week, when Toronto’s police chief offered an official apology for the raids. Queer groups have had a long, strained history with the police; this felt like another indication that we headed in the right direction.

But a funny thing happened on the way to correcting a nasty bit of civil rights history. The reporting itself was profoundly wrong. On The National , the CBC reporter declared that night as the one that sparked Canada’s gay rights movement. Their web site went on to quote an activist as saying it was “our stonewall.” The CTV report basically repeated the same line—that this was the first time such raids had galvanized a community in Canada and led to action.

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Post source : Matthew Hays, The Walrus

About The Author

Rick has lived in Vancouver since 1991 - first off Commercial Drive and now in Renfrew Heights - with his husband of 34 years, Dan. He has a background in travel, an interest in LGBT history, and a fondness for all that is geek. As co-publisher of Davie Village Post, he looks for stories and news which are relevant to LGBT Vancouver, and invites you to submit your items and ideas.

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