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Homosexuality in Canada: Introducing The Body Politic

The Story

Inspired by the success of the march on Parliament Hill, members of Toronto's gay and lesbian community have formed a newspaper collective. On Oct. 28, 1971, their efforts come to fruition as the first issue of The Body Politic goes on sale for 25 cents. With its calls for gay liberation, the paper is noticed beyond the community it serves, and Barbara Frum of As It Happens wants to know more.

Medium: Radio
Program: As It Happens
Broadcast Date: Feb. 11, 1972
Guest(s): Hugh Brewster
Reporter: Barbara Frum
Duration: 3:07
Thanks to Rick Bébout for background information.

Did You know?

• Before The Body Politic, Canada had at least two short-lived gay publications: Gay International, and Two, both based in Toronto.

• The Body Politic published 135 issues from 1971 to 1987. The second issue solicited advertising; the first ads appeared in Issue 4. At its peak, The Body Politic had over 3,000 subscribers, one-third of them outside Canada. Over the paper's lifespan, it would have 80 regular correspondents from 21 Canadian cities.

• The first issue of the paper was 20 pages long, four of which were devoted to coverage of the march in Ottawa. Other features included a listing of gay and lesbian community groups across Canada, film and book reviews, a discussion of the drag shows in Yonge St. bars on Halloween, contributions from Vancouver gays, and articles on gay liberation.

• The publishing collective's original name was The Body Politic Editorial Collective. In 1975, the collective created the non-profit company Pink Triangle Press to publish the paper.

• Pink Triangle Press launched Xtra! in 1984 as a free local Toronto paper with listings of places and events. After The Body Politic folded, Xtra! was its replacement.


Gay and Lesbian Emergence: Out in Canada more