When our cover-story participant Kim Chee Lee was born, 81 years ago, being a practising homosexual was not only taboo, but illegal. Jeepers, we’re glad things have changed since then.
1949: Gay Torontonian proto-activist Jim Egan condemns representations of homosexuals in the media; urges Canada to change anti-gay laws.
1964: Toronto’s first gay magazine, aptly titled Gay, begins publishing. Its first 500 copies sell like hotcakes.
1965: Winter Kept Us Warm, a nuanced gay-themed romance by Torontonian David Secter, is Canada’s first English-language film to screen at Cannes.
1967: Pierre Trudeau declares that there’s “no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation” and moves to reform the Criminal Code of Canada accordingly.
1969: “Homosexual acts” (between consenting adults) are no longer criminal in Canada.
1970: Jearld Moldenhauer opens Glad Day Bookshop, the first gay and lesbian bookstore in the country.
1971: The Body Politic, the collective-run magazine that stands as one of the country’s formative LGBT media outlets, begins publishing.
1974: Four lesbians, known as The Brunswick Four, are forcibly removed from the Brunswick Tavern, then arrested, after they sing, “I Enjoy Being a Dyke.”
1975: The collective behind The Body Politic incorporates to become Pink Triangle Press.
1977: Gerald Hannon publishes his infamous article, “Men Loving Boys Loving Men,” a sympathetic account of intergenerational relationships, inThe Body Politic.
1979: Buddies in Bad Times Theatre is founded.
1981: Toronto Police Services raid a number of bathhouses, spurring protests in the gay community. “Operation Soap,” as it was known, becomes Toronto’s answer to Stonewall.
1981: Dusty Springfield and Rough Trade’s Carole Pope shack up in Cabbagetown.
1984: Pink Triangle Press launches Xtra!.
1985: Teacher and librarian Kenneth Zeller is murdered in High Park while allegedly cruising for sex.
1988: The Kids in the Hall brings bitchy queen Buddy Cole and drag to CBC TV.
1991: Kyle Rae becomes Toronto’s first openly gay city councillor.
1994: The Ontario Legislative Assembly votes against Bill 167, which would give same-sex couples spousal benefits.
1995: Freedom from sexual orientation–based discrimination is a basic human right, says the Supreme Court of Canada!
1996: The TDSB introduces the Triangle Program to help queer and trans youth who are struggling at school.
1999: George Smitherman becomes Ontario’s first openly gay MPP.
2000: Cops raid a women’s bathhouse event, leading to protests.
2003: Same-sex marriage is legal in Ontario.
2005: In Ontario, parents win the right to list two mothers on a birth certificate.
2005: Bill Blair becomes the first Toronto Police chief to march in a Pride parade.
2007: PROUDFM launches.
2010: Canadians (including Rick Mercer) participate in the “It Gets Better” project to support queer and trans youth.
2012: Rob Ford eschews the Toronto Pride Parade in favour of his cottage for the second year in a row.
2013: Toby’s Act is passed, giving transgender and transsexual individuals human rights protections under the law.
2013: RIP Fab.