October 22, 2018

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

Today In History, 1976: Toronto’s Gay Kiss-In

40 YEARS AGO: On February 12, Bill Holloway and Tom Field were in front of a Hudson Bay store in Toronto, posing for photos for an article on homophobia. The photos were to depict the two of them kissing, right there out in the open, on the streets, where anyone could see them. When a police officer saw them, right there out on the street, he arrested the two and charged them with committing an indecent act: kissing. On July 12, they were found guilty of committing an indecent act, kissing, and fined $50 each (CAN$210 today).

Gay leaders were outraged. “Gay people can kiss their rights good-bye,” said Tom Warne, president of the Gay Alliance Toward Equality (GATE). “It looks as if there’s now a legal precedent that can be used against gays who want to express their affection in public. I feel certain that a straight couple in the same situation would not have been charged.” As Tim McCaskell explained in 2015 :

The two arrested men were part of this “Alternative to Alienation” collective, which was kind of flaky. They weren’t particularly a gay group, but they were sexual liberation, psychological stuff, anti-capitalist. It was all this primeval muck of that 1970s period.

But when it actually came down to it, they hired a lawyer who said we don’t want any kind of politics around this at all. So they were found guilty. And they said they were going to appeal. And they didn’t appeal, just paid the fine. And it was over. But for those of us in the gay liberation movement, that left this precedent on the law books that two men kissing in public was a crime, because they hadn’t fought it. So in order to be able to try to challenge that, we organized a kiss-in.

Read More Here: http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2016/07/17/74615#DVP

Post source : Jim Burroway, Box Turtle Bulletin

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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