The Gay Vote

19721001-04‘The Gay vote’ is not a factor which politicians include in their calculations in this country. But, nonetheless, if gays constitute (at a conservative estimate) one in twenty of the population, then we could wield considerable influence to better our position, especially in local elections.

This lesson does not seem to have got across to gay politicos in this country – they seem to prefer negative actions to combat prejudice rather than positive ones such as this.

In Canada, the Gay Alliance Towards Equality (GATE) has been active at all the meetings, rallies and so on in the provincial elections in Vancouver, British Columbia, with a considerable degree of success.

On the 9th August, seven candidates appeared to answer questions in front of an audience of 100 people, including members of GATE. Maurice Flood, GATE’s chairman, asked them: “In view of the fact that leaflets listing gay demands have been given to all the candidates, where do the candidates stand on granting full civil liberties to homosexuals?” The Liberal, Conservative and New Democratic Party candidates all said that they supported equality, whilst the Social credit candidates said: “I support the family; whether you fit into that picture or not is up to you.”

Roedy Green, of GATE, challenged the Social Credit candidate’s claim that his party stood for the protection of minority rights by pointing out that they had not extended the Human Rights legislation to apply to gays.

However the Socred candidate was much more outspoken a fortnight later when faced with further questioning on the subject of gay rights. He said that people who belong to such movements are in a dangerous situation because “one day society will want to castrate the lot of you to stop you reproducing your kind.” He was greeted by prolonged jeering and booing from the audience.

He had been asked if he would end “the involuntary hospitalisation of gays (supposedly) for their own good.” The other candidates had said that they would.

All this has made candidates of all parties aware of the injustices in society towards homosexuals, and has had the whole issue extensively reported in the Vancouver papers. There’s a lesson in that somewhere.

Cottaging in Br. Columbia

or The Mountie Always Gets His Man

(Being excerpts from a letter from Roedy Green, dated 16th April, ’72)

02-197206XX 8You wanted some information on Cottaging. First of all I should make it clear that there is a very strong prejudice in western Canada against this practice. On top of the status heap are those who meet through private “parties”. Next come the club people. Next come the steambath people. Next come the outdoor cruising people, and on the bottom of the heap come the cottagers.

I think that the disdain with which the practice is viewed has a lot to do with the wide variety of other methods available. People who meet in cans must do so because they like cans – perhaps it is the smell that rouses their lusty emotions.

Police cruising of cans (even in an official sense) is minimal. In all my time I have never heard of anyone being arrested or even harrassed by police in cans. The one exception happened about ten years ago (I remember being somewhat horrified as a child) when the police broke up a huge orgy in one of the washrooms in Stanley Park. About 30 people were arrested but there was no further mention of it.

The most active can is the Hudson’s Bay downtown store on the 2nd and 5th floors (two separate places actually). One old gentleman goes there with two shopping bags. His intended is invited to enter his stall and stand with one foot in each bag while he blows him. I have never personally witnessed this event.

The reason this can is popular is that underage boys go there quite innocently and of course meet some older man. They keep returning there as they feel that is the only place that homosexual satisfaction can be had, and of course the dear old lechers keep them in ignorance.

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One other sort of cottagley thing is the bathhouse a few blocks from my house on English Bay. It is a cement structure that used to be the public aquarium that overlooks the beach. It is built partly under the road that runs under the beach giving it the look of some oversized hobbit warren.

The beach area of course is Vancouver’s main outdoor cruising ground (save Wreck Beach in summer). But at about 3 in the morning the steps of the bathhouse become the scene of an outdoor orgy with perhaps 4 couple doing their assorted things in plain view to the gawking spectators.

That is all I know about cottaging – no, one more savory detail – and this one was even researched in person (though I maintained my detached observer status throughout). When the student union building was being designed at UBC, someone thought
student
that students needed a place to rest during the day to refresh themselves for the late night labs perhaps. At any rate they installed dark rooms off the cans filled with about 12 huge leather couch-like beds. For some reason most of the beds were removed until there were only 3 left. After hearing about a friend of mine who claims to have had sex in these rooms with 5 different people in one day (he went in for the ten minute break between classes), I decided in moral indignation to investigate. It is true.