By: Jordan He
Happy Pride Month! The Cajor is celebrating Pride with fun and informative posts. We have worked hard to compile a list of significant LGBTQ+ events through the ages, collecting research from Queer Events and Entertainment Tonight. We encourage you to take a look at those sources if you would like to learn more!
First of all, what is Pride Month? Pride Month is a holiday for the LGBTQ+ community that started in 1969 and has continued until now. This holiday is celebrated in the month of June. It came to be because of the Stonewall Riots, where they were more recognized. Pride Month has come a long way, and we want to celebrate that with a timeline of resistance against stereotypes to inform you of critical points that have led to our current time, specifically in the decades before the 21st century.
August 28, 1971 – First Gay Rights Protest
Roughly 100 people from Ottawa, Montreal, and Toronto gathered at Parliament Hill for Canada’s first Gay Liberation Protest and March, where they gathered a list of 10 demands for equal rights. This moment proceeded to go down in history!
January 5, 1974 – The Brunswick Four Arrest
On this day, four lesbian individuals were at a bar when an uninvited man came up to them and began being aggressive and insulting them. Soon after, the four of them were kicked out by the police. When in custody, they were subject to verbal abuse and were denied the right to call a lawyer, as well as claims of physical abuse. Three of the four had charges on them of obstructing justice, obstructing police, and disturbing the peace. Later on, most charges were dropped except for one, which lead to one of the four spending three months on probation. Afterwards, they charged the police that had arrested them with assault, which was verified. However, the offending police had secretly exchanged the badge numbers and hats used to identify them, freeing them of all charges.
June 19, 1976 – Olympic ‘Cleanup’
Police raids target gay and lesbian bars to “clean” Montreal for the Olympics.
February 17, 1944 – CBC Picket (Halifax)
Nova Scotia’s LGBTQ+ community for its first public protest, picketing CBC headquarters after they refused to run a program on the Gay Alliance and Equity’s Gayline. Approximately 20 people joined the protest.
October 22, 1977 – Montreal Raids
Police with bulletproof vests invaded two gay bars and arrested 146 homosexual men as part of the biggest mass arrest since the War Measures Act in the early 1970s. The men who were arrested were kept in holding cells. They were forced to take disease tests, and were denied the right to call their lawyers. The next day, around 2000 people had a protest on the events of the previous night.
February 5, 1981 – Soap Raid
Toronto police stormed gay bath houses and arrested around 300 men. Later, most charges were dismissed. Many rallies were held in response to this event. This was another one of the biggest mass arrests, with the Toronto police chief only formally apologizing in 2016, 35 years after the initial incident.
May 30, 1981 – Pisces Raid
Forty policemen stormed the Pisces Health Spa, one frequented by gay men. In the raid, police arrested 50 gay men. In response, people rallied at the city hall, stating the arrest was a violation of civil rights, as well as a waste of money!
April 21, 1982 – Glad Day Bookshop Raid
This LGBTQ+ literature focused bookstore is one of the oldest in Canada, being located in Toronto, Ontario. The police targeted this in a series of raids on the area.
July 15, 1990 – The Sex Garage After Party
The police raided The Sex Garage’s After Party and caused clashes between the two communities. This event politicized the LGBT community in Quebec.
There are so many more significant events that led to where Canada and the LGBTQ+ community stand in present day than able to be covered in a single article. We encourage you to keep reading diverse and learn more about the important history of this community throughout Pride Month!