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Prince Edward Island Provincial Heritage Fair
In 1981 there was a series of arrests in bathhouses resulting in 306 gay men being arrested. The brutality they faced at the hands of the arresting officers was horrific and brought public outrage upon the Toronto police department. My project question is “What Were The True Impacts Of The Toronto Bathhouse Raids?”
What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?
I learned about the historical struggles of Canadians within the queer community. I was fascinated to find the falsehoods surrounding the 1969 decriminalization, as well as discovering that this major event in LGBTQ+ history had been glossed over so easily.
What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?
Canada isn’t perfect and things can still improve. These raids occurred in 1981, years after the alleged decriminalization of homosexuality in 1969. Things happen that we don’t even know about, and it’s our job to make sure that we learn about those things.
How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?
I’m fortunate to live in the time that I do. As a queer identifying person myself, I am treated differently and am not respected in the same way other people might be but sometimes I forget to be grateful for the rights that I do have. People like me were treated terribly in the past, as can be seen in events like the raids.