BEST QUEER ACTIVIST
GEORGE HISLOP 1927-2005 He was first in so many ways: the first queer activist; the first openly gay man to run for public office; co-founder of the Community Homophile Association of Toronto (CHAT), T.O.’s first gay organization; the first recipient of the International Lesbian and Gay Law Association’s Karl Heinrich Ulrichs Award, honouring his contribution to the advancement of gay equality; founder of Gay Day, which eventually became Pride; spearhead for the stunning rally against the 1981 bathhouse raids. Though he received hate calls all the time in those early days, he refused to take an unlisted number. He couldn’t, he said, in case somebody wanted to talk. Even as he was suffering from esophagal cancer, he led a campaign to get the feds to give survivor benefits to widowed same-sex partners. First in courage, first in changing the lives of T.O. queers. R.I.P.