In just a few months it will be the 50th anniversary of what is widely considered the first article in a mainstream Canadian publication that is sympathetic to homosexuality.
Sidney Katz did a two-part story in the Feb. 22, 1964 and Mar. 7, 1964 issues of MACLEAN’S MAGAZINE. The report documents a very marginalized but collectivizing community.
Katz’ investigation was triggered by widespread condemnation of the discovery by the press, of The Club: a member’s only privately run gay bar in Toronto. Katz profiles the community’s outrage as well as discovers that the gay men and women he meets are surprisingly, “normal.” Although persecuted by society, his interviewees have largely the same hopes and aspirations as other Canadians.
He also uncovers a vibrant community that exists apart from the straight world, filled with doctors, auto mechanics, bookstores, etc., that deal with an exclusively gay clientele.
He writes: “Can homosexuals look forward to making progress in their campaign for just treatment in employment and other matters? Much will depend on their attempt to re-make their public image into a less threatening one. This might be accomplished dramatically and expeditiously by large numbers of homosexuals publicly identifying themselves – an act that would require almost unimaginable courage. I have only met a few homosexuals prepared to take such a bold step at this time.”