Pride Timeline - Carleton University

Pride Timeline showcases the history of the 2SLGBTQ+ Community at Carleton.

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1960-01-01 09:33:07

The Fruit Machine

In the Cold War era, fears of communism and security reaches near paranoia, and queers - mainly gay men - were spied on and hunted out as so-called ‘security risks’, allegedly because of fears they could be blackmailed to tell government secrets. The RCMP begins compiling a list of ‘gay vocabulary’ to root out queers in the Federal Government. Words like ‘flute’ are considered suspicious, as are pinkie rings and, oddly, driving a white convertible. In the early 1960s, Dr. Frank Wake, a psychology professor at Carleton University, begins working with the RCMP and the government to develop scientific tests to identify homosexuals. One thing they developed was a test to measure the sweat on your fingers when showed erotic photos. But it was the ‘Fruit Machine’ that gained the most attention. The machine attempted to measure interest in homosexuality by measuring the dilation of pupils when various images of unclothed men and women were shown among other photos. The experiments were largely unsuccessful because pupils will dilate when the eye is exposed to different intensities of light, and because no one volunteered to ‘test’ the machine to gauge its effectiveness. This didn’t stop the RCMP from bringing in suspected queers for questioning or threatening, or from spying on others to identify more people, even people working outside the civil service. Around 1969, the RCMP brings in Ottawa’s most famous gay celebrity at the time, Paul Fournier, the man behind the drag persona Peaches Latour, to attempt to force him to identify gays. He recognizes many of the faces he sees in dozens of photo albums he’s shown of suspected homosexuals. Feeling as an out gay hairdresser and drag artist that he had nothing to lose, Fournier refused to name names, even though he was called a traitor to his country. The persecution of queers by the government and RCMP continues for nearly 50 years as late as in the 1990s, when the files were eventually destroyed, possibly to avoid lawsuits. Over 9,000 people were investigated, and as many as 400 people or more lost their jobs. The community, to date, has not received an apology, though the Liberal government has committed to making one by the end of 2017.

1972-09-27 09:33:07

First Meeting of Gay People of Carleton (GPC), at University of Ottawa

The first meeting of Carleton University's Gay Club was held on September 27, 1972 at the University of Ottawa. The organization was a branch of the Gays of Ottawa and was coordinated by Meris Gava and Ron Smyth. Reference - McLeod, Donald W. Lesbian and gay liberation in Canada: a selected annotated chronology, 1964-1975. Toronto: ECW Press/Homewood Books, 1996.

1976-01-12 21:30:54

Establishment of Gay People of Carleton (GPC) as an official club at Carleton

With new executive and now independent of the Gays of Ottawa, the Gay People of Carleton (GPC) start hosting drop-ins on Carleton campus and is established as an official club under CUSA. Reference - The Charlatan; Page 9. February 6, 1976.

1976-02-20 00:43:04

Charlatan Article Regarding the Establishment of the Gays of Ottawa (GO)

Founded in 1971, the Gays of Ottawa (GO) is an organization dedicated to educating the community about homosexuality, working to combat discrimination against homosexuality and bring about a social and personal acceptance of homosexuality. Heading political and legal battles, the GO have picketed and protested the government to grant civil rights to gays. Similarly, the Canadian Gay Academic Union (CGAU) was founded in 1974 and seeks to eradicate sexism from instructions of learning and encourage work in gay studies to increase library holdings in the field and remove sexual stereotypes and distortions of the gay experience from educational and counselling programs. Reference - The Charlatan; Page 11 & 12. February 20, 1976.

1976-03-06 00:43:04

GPC's First Large Event

The Gay People of Carleton host their first large event, a dance on campus. Reference - The Charlatan; Page 23. March 5, 1976.

1977-01-05 06:32:37

Carleton's Sock 'n' Buskin Theatre Group Preform the Play 'Eschaton', about Warren Zufelt's Suicide

"The Carleton Sock 'N' Buskin Theatre group wrote, directed, and performed a play called 'Eschaton', about the suicide of Warren Zufelt. In 1975. While this was an incredibly tragic event, Zufelt's death ignited mass protests and activism in the Ottawa area. The following context is from the Village Legacy Project: On March 3, 1975, Michel Gravel was arrested for running two male nude modelling agencies that were used as a front for a prostitution service. Allegedly, he was getting leaned on by mafia and went to the police for help, who ended up arresting him instead. 17 of the 18 customers of the agencies were arrested between March 4 and 20, and their names, ages, addresses and occupations are released to the media in connection to the case—published in the Ottawa Citizen and Ottawa Journal among other national papers and radio stations—which they luridly dub as a ‘homosexual vice-ring’ or a ‘white slavery ring’. Warren Zufelt, one of the customers, calls Gays of Ottawa’s Gayline in distress, warning that if his name is released in the press, he will commit suicide. A day later, on March 18, his name is released, and he jumps from his apartment window to his death. On the 20th, Gays of Ottawa (GO) organized a protest march at both the Ottawa Police Service for releasing the names and the Ottawa Journal for publishing them, blaming them directly for the cause of Zufelt’s death. Gravel pleads guilty and is given a sentence of two years less one day. Although none of the male clients arrested end up serving jail time or are fined, nine either changed jobs or were fired or suspended from their jobs, and eight required psychiatric care because of the barrage of hate mail and calls they received. GO establishes a defence fund to help the accused pay for their legal expenses. Ron Dayman of GO files a complaint with the Ontario Press Council against the Ottawa Citizen for their sensationalized reporting, and Dayman and Charlie Hill meet with then-mayor Lorry Greenberg to demand an investigation into how the police handled the case." Reference - The village Legacy Project & Lesbian and gay liberation in Canada: a selected annotated chronology, 1976-1981(

1977-02-10 06:32:37

Gay People of Carleton and Gays of Ottawa Protest CBC

The Gays of Ottawa (GO) and Gay People of Carleton march outside of CBC studios to protest discrimination against homosexuals. The outrage arose from CBC announcing that they will refuse to publish public service announcements from gay organizations, claiming homosexuality to be a "'controversial issue". Reference - The Charlatan. Page 446. Year 1976-1977.

1977-04-01 06:32:37

CUSA Adopts Hiring Policy that Prohibits Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation

CUSA adopts a hiring policy that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in hiring done by the Students' Association.

1977-09-10 06:32:37

Gay People of Carleton Hosts Last official Meeting

The Gay People of Carleton hold its last meeting in 1977. After executives and current members graduated, there simply were not enough members to support the club. Reference - The Charlatan, 1980.

1979-05-19 06:32:37

Carleton University Hosts Ontario Lesbian Conference, Sponsored by LOON

Carelton University hosts the Ontario Lesbian Conference, focusing on personal growth for lesbians. Included was a workshop on "Our Politial Future," a coffee house, and a Lesbian Newsletter Coalition. The event was sponsored by the Lesbian Organization of Ontario.

Pride Timeline - Carleton University

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