BEST QUEER AC­TIVIST

NOW Magazine - Best of Toronto - - Activism -

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.

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