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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 1980s


January 20 Regina
Health Minister George McLeod announced that the names of residents testing positive for HIV must be reported to public health officers. The decision was criticized by AIDS Regina and AIDS Saskatoon who both advocated an anonymous testing system. They described McLeod’s announcement as a political decision likely to deter individuals from volunteering for HIV tests. The policy change was also opposed by Pat Atkinson, NDP health critic and Dr. John Conly of the University Hospital Department of Infectious Diseases.
[Perceptions, no. 39 (February 24 1988) p. 34. / “Positive AIDS antibody test must be reported,” SSP, (January 21 1988) p. A3.]
January 21-22 Regina
The Regina Presbytery of the United Church of Canada presented a two day workshop Breaking Our Silence: The Church’s Calling Amidst the AIDS Crisis at Wesley United Church.
[Event flyer – SAB NR]
January 30 Saskatoon
Open Your Hearts, a gala fundraising event to benefit AIDS patients, raised $2,700 at the Ukrainian Hall.
[Perceptions, no. 38 (January 13 1988) p. 19.]
February 12-14 Fort Qu’Appelle
The Prairie Christian Training Centre, a training facility of the United Church, hosted Finding Ways to Care, an conference on identifying ways of countering homophobia and heterosexism.
[Perceptions, no 38 (January 13 1988) p. 20.]
February 29 Regina
A PWA Coalition was formed to improve the quality of life of people living with AIDS in the Regina area.
[AIDS Regina Newsletter, (March 1988)]
March 1 Regina
Premier Grant Devine reacted to news of MP Svend Robinson’s declaration of his homosexuality by comparing homosexuals to bankrobbers. “I hate to think a member of Parliament can stand and in essence be promoting a lifestyle with young people watching…I guess I would say the same about bankrobbers. For whatever reason they have to take from people which is illegal and in my view immoral. I still have compassion but I don’t condone the activity.” Devine’s comments were picked up by the national media and provoked much criticism.
[Vern Greenshields, “Devine critical of Robinson’s homosexual lifestyle,” SSP, (March 2 1988) p. A1. / “Gays, crime comparison ‘despicable’,” SSP, (March 2 1988) p. A6.]
March 3 Ottawa
Laurier Lapierre, a former CBC broadcaster, came out during a Parliament Hill reception for the gay rights group EGALE.: “If you allow anyone to determine who you are supposed to be, you may end up like Grant Devine, the Premier of Saskatchewan, and that’s a fate not to be visited on anyone.”
[“Author Laurier LaPierre declares homosexuality,” Moose Jaw Times-Herald, (March 4 1988) p. 2.]
March Saskatoon
Telecable Ten cancelled the appearance of an American anti-gay rights campaigner whose views on homosexuals had been described as hateful. Paul Cameron had been invited to visit with the Conservative party caucus in Regina on a speaking tour of Saskatchewan. On March 28 Dr. Paul Gully, Saskatoon’s Chief Medical Officer, debated Cameron on a Telecable Ten special. Gully argued that Cameron’s data was skewed to support anti-gay views. The moderator reported that Cameron had been expelled from the American Psychological Association and rebuked by professional and judicial bodies for his activities. Place Riel and St Thomas More College at the U of S refused to provide space for Paul Cameron events citing his antagonistic approach and concerns that he derived his material from “a foundation of hate.”
[Perceptions, no. 40 (April 13 1988) p. 23-24. / Dale Eisler, “Quarantine urged for AIDS carriers,” RLP, (March 4 1988) p. A3. / “Telecable cancels appearance of man critical of gays, SSP (March 8 1988) p. A3. / “Health officer disputes gay basher’s data,” SSP, (March 25 1988) p. A8. / “Anti-gays speaker denied city platforms,” SSP, (March 28 1988) p. A3.]
March 26 Saskatoon
The StarPhoenix ran a three article feature by reporter Kathryn Warden on homosexuality in the province. The articles focused on gays and their family relationships and how they were impacted by homophobia. Included with the articles was a series of questions and answers on sexual orientation.
[SSP, (March 26 1988)]
April 30 Saskatoon
An ad hoc group Artists for Human Rights staged a City Hall rally that attracted 250 to protest the Devine government’s attacks on lesbians and gays. Speakers included writers David Carpenter and Patrick Lane, representatives of CARFAC (Canadian Artists Representation), the U of S Women’s Centre, the Saskatchewan Government Employees’ Union, the United Church, Saskatoon Community Clinic and the International Socialists. NDP MLA Anne Smart declared that the government has “descended politically to the level of schoolyard bullies.”
[“Gay rally,” SSP, (May 1 1988) / Astrid Egger, “Saying no to hatred,” Briarpatch, (June 1988) p. 2-3.]
Perceptions reported a flurry of negative remarks about homosexuality made in the Legislature and at recent public events by PC leaders including Premier Grant Devine, Justice Minister Bob Andrew, Privatization Minister Graham Taylor and MLAs Lloyd Muller and Gerry Muirhead.
[Perceptions, no. 41 (May 18 1988) p. 22.]
May Regina
During a provincial by-election in Regina-Elphinstone the Committee to Protect the Family distributed literature supporting PC candidate Myrna Petersen and attacking the NDP and Liberal parties for advocating ‘special rights’ for homosexuals. One pamphlet titled Is Family a Dirty Word supported the criminalization of homosexuality. The campaign manager for the winning NDP candidate dismissed the publication as hate literature.
[Murray Mandryk, “Pro-PC literature may damage Conservative campaign,” RLP, (May 2 1988)]
May 2 Saskatoon
Speaking Out, a half hour radio show for and about the gay community began on the city’s community radio station. The show’s first host Shawn Mooney presented interviews, short stories, music and community announcements.
[Perceptions, no. 43 (August 10 1988) p. 21.]
May 9 Regina
Gay Information Services began operating a phone line Monday and Thursday evenings.
[Perceptions, no. 41 (May 18 1988) p. 31.]
May 28 Saskatoon
The Sunshine Friends presented their second AIDS benefit Singing in the Sunshine at the Ukrainian Hall. The drag event included a reception, buffet, show and dance.
[Perceptions, no. 41 (May 18 1988) p. 16.]
June 16-17 Saskatoon
Artists for Human Rights presented The Devine Comedy, two nights of satire, music and comedy “to laugh Saskatchewan back to sanity,” at 25th Street Theatre. The event featuring Don Kerr, Donna Caruso, David Carpenter and others was organized to challenge the provincial government’s antigay rhetoric and policies.
[Perceptions, no. 42 (June 29 1988) p. 17. / “Devine government ridiculed in send up,” SSP, (June 20 1988) p. A3.]
June 25 Saskatoon
A masquerade dance, The Bankrobbers’ Ball, was presented at the Ukrainian Hall as a response to Grant Devine’s comparison of homosexuals to bankrobbers.
[Perceptions, no. 43 (August 10 1988) p. 36.]
June 25 Regina
The Board of Health rejected a request for $15,000 from AIDS Regina to distribute an AIDS information pamphlet to Regina homes.
[Perceptions, no. 43 (August 10 1988) p. 28.]
August Saskatoon
Perceptions interviewed Erin Shoemaker about her work as AIDS Saskatoon’s first coordinator. In 1988 the group was providing services to ten people at various stages of HIV infection and offering a support group to family members.
[Perceptions, no. 43 (August 10 1988) p. 6]
August 25-26 Saskatoon
Club 23 Below presented the Fabulous Sirs, an a capella musical duo. The Sirs (Peter McGehee and Fiji Robinson) continued the act they had first performed as the Quinlan Sisters.
[Perceptions, no. 43 (August 10 1988) p. 13. / “Saskatoon samples Fringe festival,” SSP, (August 25 1988) p. B1.]
October 9 Saskatoon
Brazen Huzzy presented Winnipeg guitarist and vocalist Kris Purdy at the Legion Hall at Metamorphosis 1988.
[Perceptions, no. 44 (September 21 1988) p. 14.]
November 1 Saskatoon
Krolik Fashion Fur Ltd. published an ad in the StarPhoenix apologizing to AIDS Saskatoon for refusing to rent them an office in a building they owned. The apology had been negotiated by the SHRC after a complaint from the group.
[“AIDS group gets apology for snub,” SSP, (November 2 1988) p. A6.]
November 12 Regina
Rumours presented an AIDS benefit featuring drag performances by Stella and Lorelei.
[Perceptions, no. 44 (September 21 1988) p. 14.]