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RSS Feeds`I Am a HomosexualŽ: Gay rights pioneer James Egan celebrated in first LGBTQ2 Heritage Minute
(The Star Travel)


13 june 2018 19:05:16

`I Am a HomosexualŽ: Gay rights pioneer James Egan celebrated in first LGBTQ2 Heritage Minute
(The Star Travel)

Before Canada’s first Pride parade, before same-sex marriage was legal, before police stopped arresting people simply for being gay — before all of that, there was a wiry, young man from Toronto smashing the keys of an old Underwood typewriter, staging a one-person epistolary battle for gay rights.“I Am a Homosexual,” he wrote in an article for Sir! tabloid under a pseudonym in 1951, a time when few dared to make such declarations. “The acceptance and integration that every thinking, responsible homosexual desires will come some day,” he predicted in another article four years later in Justice Weekly, this time using his initials.“The homosexual is the sole remaining minority who can be sneered at, reviled, libeled, and spat upon with virtual impunity,” he pronounced in 1963, in one of the first queer-positive articles published by the Toronto Daily Star. By this point, the writer had made the radical decision to use his real name: James Egan.Today, the gay rights pioneer remains largely unknown by the wider Canadian public, even though the Egan name was immortalized by a landmark 1995 Supreme Court decision that forever altered the gay rights landscape.But 18 years after his death, Egan is poised to gain broader recognition as the subject of a new Heritage Minute, the popular 60-second short films that spotlight important people and moments in Canadian history. Released online Wednesday, the Heritage Minute is the first to have an LGBTQ2 theme and will portray Egan’s activism, his love story with partner Jack Nesbit, and the couple’s eight-year legal battle that became one of Canada’s most important gay rights victories.“He began his efforts in the 1940s when it was really, really tough to be gay in this country and he fought a very lonely and quite courageous battle for recognition,” said Anthony Wilson-Smith, president and CEO of Historica Canada, the charity that produces Heritage ...
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