9780802036087 / 0802036082

Never Going Back: A History of Queer Activism in Canada


Publisher:University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division



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About the book:

Tom Warner, one of Canada's leading gay activists, documents Canada's gay and lesbian civil rights movement in the comprehensive and highly readable Never Going Back. The book is divided into three parts: the first about gay life up to 1975; the second chronicling the gay liberation movement's 1975-1984 golden era of activism; and the third part charting the contemporary mainstreaming of gay life. Warner contends there is still much to accomplish, and that gay Canadians can better shape their future if they understand their past. In 13 scholarly chapters--each thoroughly researched and footnoted--he concludes that gay liberation is not a spent movement. Chapters explore the roots of oppression within the Canadian family structure; racial identities and racism within Canada's overwhelmingly white gay communities; and how AIDS radicalized gay activism and politics. Warner writes, "Fundamentally, lesbian and gay liberation has been about changing self-image. Like all victimized groups, bisexuals, lesbians and gays have had to tackle how they see themselves in order, in turn, to change how others see them.... Changing a few laws and achieving tolerance are necessary, but insufficient in themselves to achieve fundamental social change." Though Warner could have focused more on the gay-rights movement in French Quebec, Never Going Back is an essential primer on gay rights in Canada and a tribute to the mostly forgotten forebearers of Canada's gay and lesbian liberation movement. --Richard Burnett

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