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The Montreal gay community gets organized

The Story

The gay community in Montreal has been busy organizing since a local gay bar called Truxx was raided by the police one year ago. Groups have been working to counter public hostility, and filmmaker Harry Sutherland has made a documentary about the Truxx raid. CBC reporter Linda Renaud talks to Sutherland and some of his film's subjects about the community's newfound solidarity.

Medium: Television
Program: City at Six
Broadcast Date: Oct. 1, 1978
Guest(s): Paul Keenan, Harry Sutherland
Reporter: Linda Renaud
Duration: 4:37

Did You know?

• Truxx and another bar, Le Mystique, were simultaneously raided on Oct. 22, 1977. Fifty police officers wearing bulletproof vests and carrying machine guns conducted the raid, charging 146 patrons as "found-ins" and Truxx's owner as a keeper of a common bawdy house. Detainees were held for eight hours in crowded cells, subjected to venereal disease testing and denied the opportunity to call their lawyers.

• Community response to the raid was quick. The night after the raid, two thousand people blocked a downtown intersection in protest. When police tried to break it up by driving their motorcycles into the crowd and clubbing people, protesters threw beer bottles. Hundreds turned up at a public forum, organized by l'Association pour les droits des gaies du Québec, and a defence committee for the found-ins was formed.

• Routine raids on gay and lesbian hangouts in Montreal began in 1975. Police and civic officials wanted to "clean up" the city in anticipation of the 1976 Olympics.

• Quebec's National Assembly approved legal protection for gays and lesbians just two months after the Truxx raid, becoming the first major jurisdiction in North America to do so.

• It took five years for the charges against the Truxx patrons to be dropped.



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