On February 5, 1981, police raided Toronto’s gay baths and arrested 286 men on bawdy house charges. The raids, carried out with calculated brutality and overt homophobia, resulted in extensive property damage. An immediate and sustained grassroots response led by the Right to Privacy Committee (RTPC) included massive demonstrations, fundraising for cover court costs, legal coordination, media outreach and alliances with racialized groups similarly harassed by police. In the end, more than 80% of those charged were acquitted and our community emerged as a visible and vibrant part of the city’s mosaic, transforming the social landscape forever.
In 1981 Gary Kinsman was a member of the Right to Privacy Committee, Gay Liberation Against the Right Everywhere, and the Lesbian and Gay Pride Day Committee. Currently involved with the AIDS Activist History Project, the We Demand an Apology Network and with Queer Trans Community Defence he is the author of The Regulation of Desire, co-author (with Patrizia Gentile) of The Canadian War on Queers, and editor of Whose National Security? and Sociology for Changing the World.