Saskatchewan Resources for Sexual Diversity
Several events in 1969 prepared the ground for the subsequent rapid development of gay and lesbian organizations in Canada. On June 28 and 29 crowds of gay street people and drag queens rioted after a routine police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a Greenwich Village gay bar. This well publicized act of resistance is widely celebrated as the symbolic beginning of the modern gay liberation movement. In August 1969 the Canadian Criminal Code was amended by Pierre Trudeau's Liberal government to decriminalize sexual acts between two consenting adults in private. Finally October 1969 saw the formation of the University of Toronto Homophile Association,, Canada's first post-Stonewall gay association.
Pioneering organizations subsequently sprang up in most major Canadian cities including Saskatoon - the Zodiac Friendship Society (founded January 1972) and Regina - the Atropos Friendship Society (founded February 1972). Most of these early community organizations were established to provide safe venues for social activities, to combat discrimination against lesbians and gay men, and to encourage a greater social and personal acceptance of homosexuality.
Over the past forty years dozens of gay and lesbian institutions and organizations have been established in Saskatchewan including political lobby groups, health service organizations (including groups devoted to AIDS advocacy and support), periodical publications, commercial private clubs, and groups devoted to music and theatre, drag, sports and religion. Two Saskatchewan institutions have achieved remarkable longevities. The Gay and Lesbian Community of Regina (GLCR) , tracing its roots to the original Atropos Society, is Canada's longest surviving lesbian or gay organization. Saskatoon's Perceptions newsmagazine, founded in 1983, is the nation's oldest continuously published gay/lesbian periodical.
For a selection of gay and lesbian advertising in Saskatchewan click here.
Kinsman, Gary. The Regulation of Desire: Homo and Hetero Sexualities. Montreal: Black Rose Books, 1996.
Knegt, Peter. Queer Rights. Halifax: Fernwood Pub., 2011.
McLeod, Donald W. Lesbian and Gay Liberation in Canada: A Selected Annotated Chronology, 1964-1975. Toronto: ECW Press / Homewood Books, 1996.
Smith, Miriam. Lesbian and Gay Rights in Canada: Social Movements and Equality Seeking, 1971-1995. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999.
Warner, Tom. Never Going Back: a History of Queer Activism in Canada.
For an introduction to LGBT history in Manitoba click here.
(page last updated on: 20-July-2012)
“Our first ad in the Star Phoenix asked interested gays to phone or write. We quickly learned that the word "gay" seemed to mean "merry band" or "swinging singles" to many people, so we coerced the Star into taking an ad wherein we called ourselves "homosexuals" - a major effort.”