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Saskatchewan Resources for Sexual Diversity

Celebrating a History of Diversity:

Lesbian and Gay Life in Saskatchewan, 1971 - 2006
A Selected Annotated Chronology

The 1970s


January Saskatoon
The ZFS and SGA officially merged to become the Gay Community Centre of Saskatoon (GCCS).
[Gay West, no. 2 (1975) p. 11.]
January 24-26 Montreal
Beth Foster represented the GCCS at the 2nd annual National Lesbian Conference held in Montreal.
[Gay Community Centre of Saskatoon. Newsletter, (February 1975)]
February 6 Toronto
John Damien was fired from his job as a racing steward by the Ontario Racing Commission because he was homosexual. His long and unsuccessful fight for reinstatement was the first Canadian battle against job discrimination to be widely publicized.
February 24 Saskatoon
The U of S Debating Society hosted a debate on gay marriage. Norman Naylor, the Unitarian Minister who had married Richard North and Chris Vogel in Winnipeg, spoke in support. United Church minister Brian Thorpe opposed the motion. The affirmative side won 44 -10.
[“Gay marriages?” Gay West, no. 2 (1975) p. II. / “Clergyman who married gays to debate on campus,” The Sheaf, (February 18 1975)]
March Regina
In order to purchase its Smith Street premises the Regina club officially incorporated as the Atropos Friendship Society. The house was purchased towards the end of 1975. Two directors co-signed the mortgage.
[Perceptions, no. 34 (1987) p. 3-5.]
April 1 Regina
The University of Regina Students’ Union and CUPE Local 1486 signed the first labour agreement in Saskatchewan prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. The second contract with this provision was signed between the SHRC and CUPE Local 1871 on August 1 1976.
[Saskatchewan Gay Coalition. Lesbians and Gay Men: A Minority without rights (Brief). 1978.]
June 10 Saskatoon
In Saskatchewan’s first public gay demonstration about twenty men and women demonstrated in front of the StarPhoenix to protest the paper’s refusal to print an advertisement submitted by the GCCS. The ad reported the results of a poll the group had taken of candidates running in the current provincial election. Although it continued to refuse to print the ad the newspaper did run a story and photo of the protest on its front page.
[“First prairie picket held,” The Body Politic, no. 19 (1975) p. 6. / Vern Greenshields, “Gay community protests ad decision,” SSP, (June 11 1975)]
June 18 Regina
Peter Millard presented a brief to the Special Joint Parliamentary Committee on Immigration Policy on behalf of the GCCS. The brief called for the removal of restrictions on homosexual people visiting or immigrating to Canada.
[“Ignored again,” Gay West, no. 2 (1975) p. 5.]
Summer Saskatoon
A federal Opportunities for Youth grant of $7,200 was awarded to a GCCS project titled Community Understanding. The project employed four people - Doug Hellquist, Anne Lawrence, Elizabeth (Lesley) Noton, and Doug Wilson - to produce educational materials about sexual diversity.
[“OFY grant for Saskatoon,” Gay West, no. 2 (1975) p. 9.]
September 19 Saskatoon
The U of S student paper The Sheaf printed a small ad: “Anyone interested in participating in a campus gay organization. Contact Doug Wilson, Box 203 College of Education.”
[The Sheaf, v. 66 no. 18 (September 19 1975) p. 2.]
September 22 Saskatoon
Graduate student Doug Wilson was suspended from supervising student teachers in the public school system by the U of S Dean of Education following his identification with a proposed campus gay group. The decision was publicly endorsed by University President Dr. R.W. Begg. A major legal and political action began that attracted national media coverage and the support of numerous gay organizations, the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL) and many individuals. Some events connected to the Doug Wilson case are listed below. Interested readers should consult Valerie Korinek’s “‘The Most openly gay person for at least a thousand miles’: Doug Wilson and the politicization of a province 1975-83’,” Canadian Historical Review, v. 84 no. 4 (December 2003) p. 517-83.
[Chris Mushka, “Wilson declared unfit to supervise,” The Sheaf, (September 26 1975) / Jim Duggleby, “U of S restricts lecturer,” SSP, (September 30 1975) / “Begg supports decision to limit teacher,” SSP, (October 1 1975) p. 3.]
September 26 Saskatoon
Doug Wilson lodged a complaint with the SHRC and requested an investigation. The Commission accepted the complaint and when attempts to negotiate a settlement failed the commission announced it would launch a formal inquiry. The U of S sought an injunction to prevent the inquiry.
[“Romanow doubtful over rights commission’s jurisdiction,” Regina Leader-Post (RLP), (November 10 1975) p.3. / “Decision to be challenged,” RLP, (December 9 1975) p. 3.]
October 1 Saskatoon
Two hundred and fifty attended a campus meeting organized by the Committee to Defend Doug Wilson. The Committee announced its goals as the reinstatement of Wilson as a supervisor of student teachers, and a university policy prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
[Judith Varga, “MLA supports Wilson issue,” The Sheaf, (October 3 1975)]
October 7 Saskatoon
The Sheaf published a special four-page supplement dealing with gay liberation. GCCS volunteers prepared most of the copy.
[The Sheaf, (October 7 1975)]
October 11-13 Saskatoon
The first national Gay Community Services Conference was held in the city. Delegates discussed the provision of social services and education efforts by the LG community.
[“Gay community seeks assistance of agencies,” SSP, (October 14 1975) p. 33.]
October 18 Saskatoon
The SFL amended its constitution to prohibit discrimination based on marital status and sexual orientation.
[“Discrimination: A Teacher fights back,” The Body Politic, no. 21 (1975) p. 1.]
Autumn Saskatoon
Three Saskatoon NDP constituency associations passed motions urging the NDP government to include sexual orientation in the province’s human rights legislation. The Saskatchewan Young New Democrats also voiced support.
[“Support from New Democrats in Saskatchewan,” The Body Politic, no. 21 (1975) p. 7.]
Winter Saskatoon
Peter Millard convened a meeting to re-establish a gay campus organization. The Gay Academic Union (GAU) was established and operated until September 1982 when it was replaced by Gays and Lesbians at the U of S (GLUS).