Halifax’s first generation of queer elders forged a rainbow path that LGBTQIA and Two-Spirited activists continue to march down today.
It was spring of 1972 when Anne Fulton stumbled upon a poster that read It’s Time for Gay Liberation. That rallying cry appealed to the budding lesbian activist—Fulton was 20 then, maybe 21—and she went to the meeting the poster advertised. This gathering would turn out to be vital, for both Fulton and, more than 40 years later, what we now consider Halifax’s LGBTQIA and Two-Spirited community.
Details about the meeting still exist, in the form of a handwritten note kept in Nova Scotia’s unofficial queer archives, a little house overlooking the water just outside of Sheet Harbour that’s owned by Robin Metcalfe. The meeting was organized by Dartmouth-raised Saint Mary’s University alumnus Frank Abbott, home from Toronto where he was a member of the Community Homophile Association of Toronto. About 14 people attended, most if not all of them male except for Fulton. There was David Gray, owner of Halifax’s first official gay bar, Thee Klub, and an international student from China named David Yip.
After the meeting, Fulton took a warm and breezy walk down Rainnie Drive with Abbott. Before they parted, he put his arm around her. “I had the very distinct feeling of having been passed the torch of gay liberation,” she wrote in 1981. “And I believe I’ve carried the torch for many years since then. (Burnt myself with it a few times too.)”