Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Never Going Back: A History of Queer Activism in Canada

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Never Going Back: A History of Queer Activism in Canada

Article excerpt

Tom Warner, Never Going Back: A History of Queer Activism in Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002), 430pp. Cloth. £60. ISBN 0- 8020-3608-2. Paper. £25. ISBN 0-8020-8460-5.

This is a book about resistance, protest and change. Combining archival materials with some one hundred interviews with gay and lesbian activists across Canada, gay activist Tom Warner charts the trials and tribulations of thirty years of gay and lesbian history in Canada. Frustration and anger at state and police repression, workplace discrimination, physical harassment and social marginalisation, have consistently mobilised gays and lesbians to build strong vibrant communities in Canada. As both an observer of and participant in much of this history, Warner effectively weaves together the life stories of individual gays and lesbians with the larger struggle for recognition and change.

Warner maintains that while gay and lesbian activists have had their share of successes - changes to both the federal and provincial human rights codes to include sexual orientation discrimination as well as the legal recognition of samesex relationships - they have also faced many challenges. For one thing he does not hide the fact that there are many divisions within the gay and lesbian activist community itself. The history of gay and lesbian activism in Canada is also a story about the challenge posed by the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion. …

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