Gays Beaten Up! Where’s the Outcry?
By Mario Cutajar
Seven News – January 13, 1979
Last week four gay men were coming out of a bar in the Yonge–College area. It was late and the TTC had stopped running.
“Are you queers looking for a cab?” shouted a young women.
“The word is gay,” one of the men replied, “and yes we are looking for a cab.”
The reply sent the woman into a rage and attracted the attention of two men who were hanging around the area. Without warning one of them punched a gay in the face. Hearing the commotion, the victim’s friend went over to investigate. At the time he was not even aware there was danger.
“Are you a friend of his?” one of the punks asked.
Not suspecting anything he replied that he was.
“The next thing I knew I was flat on the ground.” He stayed there unconscious until the police arrived.
The incident is not isolated. The man who was beaten to the ground himself knows other gays who have suffered worse.
The harsh glare of the media’s spotlight is presently focussed on gays in Toronto, but somehow this kind of ugly and increasingly frequent incident doesn’t rate even a passing mention. Not surprisingly: one could hardly expect the fomenters of the present anti–gay hysteria to react responsibly to the excesses it is causing.
A nasty little paradox this: while Toronto hosts the trial of three gays charged with distributing “indecent, immoral and scurrilous” material — an article in The Body Politic — a virtual hate campaign which is resulting in very real physical abuse against gays is continuing with impunity.
Interestingly, the raid on The Body Politic took place over a month after the article in question has been published. The raid took place only after Claire Hoy had discovered the article and denounced it in the Sun. Another example of how effective hate literature can be?
It is worth noting in passing that The Body Politic is published by Pink Triangle Press. The Pink Triangle comes from Hitler’s concentration camps. It was the mark which identified prisoners as gay which in Nazi Germany was as much of a crime as being a Jew or a Communist or a trade unionist.
The police went out of their way to do their job well in the Body Politic raid. It wasn’t enough to arrest the officers of Pink Triangle Press. No, twelve shipping boxes filled with everything from subscription lists to distribution and ad records were carted away as evidence. This for a charge that according to Clayton Ruby, lawyer of The Body Politic, only required for evidence copy of the magazine and proof that it had been distributed (a check in a couple of bookstores would have established this).
The significance of The Body Politic raid has to do not just with the fact that it happened in the first place but even more so with the way it was done. One of those arrested, Ed Jackson, put it very succinctly: “It was an obvious attempt to terrorize the readers of a newspaper by seizing its subscription list.” Readers and advertisers are now aware that the police may have their name on file. The issue, consequently, is not limited to the gays who were arrested but touches the principle of freedom of the press.
Which raises the question: who is a threat to whom?
The current campaign against gays is based on the claim that they are potential child molesters. The Anita Bryant campaign calls itself Save Our Children and Claire Hoy has made this the main theme of most of his attacks. Children, goes the argument, are in danger of being converted into homosexuals or, worse, of being made the object of sexual attacks by the readers of The Body Politic.
The two charges are patently false. Homosexuality is not something one is “converted” to. And even if it was, why would attempts to convert someone to it be more illegal than trying to convert someone to, say, evangelism?
As for child molestation, it has yet to be shown that gays have any special taste for children. The hard fact is that most sexual attacks against children are made by heterosexuals. The likelihood of a girl being raped by her father is in fact statistically higher than the probability of a boy being molested by a homosexual. Not to mention that a large number of gays are lesbians.
Gerald Hannon, the author of the article “Men Loving Boys Loving Men” for which the Body Politic was raided raises another important point when he says that the really abused children are the ones whose homosexuality is repressed by parental and social convention. Not to say anything of sexual repression pure and simple, homosexual or heterosexual.
Which brings up the point of what say children themselves have in all this. Hearing Anita Bryant or Claire Hoy talk you get the impression that children are simply the property of their parents, with no rights of their own. But as anybody who has ever been a child will testify — Anita and Claire excluded — being young doesn’t mean being free of sexual impulse. For some reason, however, when you’re a kid you’re expected to “burn it away” building model airplanes. Someone has yet to explain why this form of abuse is tolerated.
Abuse. The word is a sham in our society. Most of us are abused every day of our lives: at work, at home, in our leisure, working our lives away so we can live to work more, enduring insult and humiliation to keep our measly job.... Do you ever read about that in the Sun?
The anti–gay campaign taking place at the moment threatens more than just gays. The same elements and the same authorities that attack gays are the ones who do their best to keep the rest of us “in line” — the ones who want strikes banned, the ones who welcomed the imposition of wage controls, in short, the ones who cannot do anybody any good.
Published in Seven News, Volume 9 Issue 17, January 13, 1979