The University of Toronto
Homophile Association is formed (UTHA). It
is the first such organization at any Canadian university (see The
Varsity, 2 February
Mike Martin and Matthew
Holland, St. Michael’s College representatives to the SAC, vote against
a proposal that would provide $150 to Gay Awareness Week on the
University of Toronto campus. The motion
carried regardless and SAC donates the funds. (see The Varsity,
16 January 1981).
St. Michael’s College Principal
William Dunphy refuses to allow the showing of the film: Michael, A
Gay Son at the College. Members of the
University of Toronto’s Gay and Lesbian Awareness Week Committee
approach College officials in January 1982 about showing the film,
however, Dunphy expresses concerns that it could encourage a homosexual
lifestyle and that members of the USMC alumni may be sensitive to the
showing of the film. The internationally
award winning film documents the struggles of a young man as he helps
his parents come to terms with his sexual orientation. Principal
Dunphy stresses to GLAWC members that he is opposed to all forms of
discrimination against homosexuals. The
Mike later states in one of its articles that the incident was a
politically motivated attempt by GLAWC to embarrass St. Michael’s
College and its principal. (see The Varsity, 10 February 1982; The
Mike, 12 January 1984)
St. Michael’s College
Student Union (SMCSU) President Patricia Buckley states in The
Varsity that a homosexual group would probably have trouble gaining
official recognition at St. Michael’s College because of the Catholic
Church’s views on homosexuality. (see The
Varsity, 10 February 1982)
November 1983 to February 1984
GLAUT makes a request
in the Fall of 1983 to the office of Principal William Dunphy to once
again show the film: Michael, A Gay Son at St. Michael’s
College. Some form of communication
break-down occurs, with the GLAUT executive accusing Dunphy of failing
to respond and attempting to ignore the issue. Regardless
of the request by GLAUT, the film had already been scheduled to be
shown during the Spring of 1984 with Dunphy’s approval.
The Mike runs a feature entitled: Gays at St. Mike’s. Four male students agree to an anonymous
interview with the newspaper, outlining their experiences as homosexual
men at St. Michael’s College. One student, “Robert,” states that:
was constant verbal abuse but always from a distance and always in
groups. No person alone would hassle you – it would always be three or
four or more. And they didn’t like to show
their faces, especially if I was walking by residences they would cat
call and yell and then hide.” All of the
students interviewed agreed that their experiences have been so
that, if given a second chance, they would never have come to St.
Michael’s College. (see The Mike,
10 February 1984)
Also February, 1984
A three day series
entitled: Homosexuality: A Catholic Pastoral Concern begins at
St. Michael’s College. The series includes
a screening of the film Michael, A Gay Son, which had been
previously banned at USMC. The series also
includes talks by members of the Newman Centre, St. Augustine’s
Seminary, and the Department of Family Life Education at York
University. A member from Dignity
is scheduled to
speak, however, backs out at the last minute, leaving an entirely
heterosexual panel of speakers. The SMC
College Life Committee, SMC Chaplaincy, and the SMCSU Education
Government Commission sponsor the series. Most
agree it was a positive move, however none of the speakers were about
to radically question the positions of the Catholic Church (seeThe
Mike, 12 January 1984; The Mike, 9 Februay 1984; The
Mike, 9 March 1984; The Varsity, 13 January 1984)
Earlier in 1984, the Gay and Lesbian Association of the University of Toronto (GLAUT) is denied by USMC in its request to show the film The Life and Times of Harvey Milk at St. Michael’s College. The film documents the life of the gay San Francisco City Councilman who was assassinated by a member of an anti-gay movement. After filing a complaint of discrimination with the University of Toronto administration, USMC allows the film to be shown.
In a letter to SMCSU
president Chris Wheeler in August 1985, the President of USMC, Father
James McConica, proposes that a committee be formed to review the use
college space by recognized campus organizations in the wake of the
controversy. SMCSU President Wheeler
expressed a significant amount of displeasure with McConica’s proposal,
noting that SMCSU was not interested in any form of censorship, unless
it was against some form of hate. (see The Mike, 2 October
The Varsity, 26 February 1990)
An editorial in The
Mike is critical of The Varsity and its criticism of the
Catholic Church’s opposition to Bill 7, which sought to provide
increased rights and protections to homosexuals under the Ontario Human
Rights Code. The Varsity article
states in part that both Catholics and homosexuals are minorities and
“their hopes and aspirations deserve equal treatment.” In
response, the editorial in The Mike states that “It is ridiculous to
compare homosexuality, a contemporary social movement concerned more
with sexual practices than anything else, with Catholicism which is, at
the very least, the embodiment of a system of belief about the nature
God, divine purpose, and man’s dignity and destiny.” (seeThe
Mike, 26 November 1986; The Varsity 17 November 1986)
GLAUT runs an ad for the Homo Hop featuring a picture of Pope John Paul II. The advertisement reads in part: “Gays and Lesbians at U of T in association with the Vatican Dance Committee and with the sanction of His Holiness Pope John Paul II present The Holy Homo Hop. John Paul appears courtesy of His Pompous Self.” It further states: “Robes, vestments and nifty hat provided through the generously donated efforts of slave labour in selected Third World countries.” The ad sparks controversy at St. Michael’s College, with USMC student Brian Roche writing that the ad was a “deliberately insulting notice,” and that it “displays their (GLAUT) obvious hostility toward the Roman Catholic Church.” USMC student Michael Henry wrote that the Homo Hop is an “unholy gathering… which promotes abnormal and perverse relations,” and he further argues that GLAUT should be barred from the University of Toronto.
David Walberg, who
designed the poster with Mark Sheilds, argued that the ad only
hostility toward Pope John Paul II and the Roman Catholic
which he called a “despotic institution whose cruelty and inhumanity
ultimately affects millions of people, whether homosexuals or third
world peasants.” He argues, however, that
the ad was not meant to be an attack on the individual members of the
Roman Catholic Church (see The Varsity, 25 January 1988; The
Varsity 3 March 1988; The Mike, 3 February 1988; The Mike 7
The Collegium of the
University of St. Michael’s College passes a new Code of Conduct that
includes a provision stating that it is an offence to discriminate
against anyone based on sex or sexual orientation.
similar provision is later adopted for the Code of Conduct governing
the Men’s Residences at the College.
The Board of Directors
of The Mike newspaper decide to drop the term “homophobic” from
its letter policy, arguing that the word is redundant. The
new letter policy reads: “The Mike will not print letters that it, its
Board of Directors, or its lawyers deem to be sexist, racist, libellous
or hateful.” The Board of Directors feel
that homophobia is already covered under the “hateful” section of the
policy. (see The Mike, 27 September 1989; The Varsity,
20 November 1989).
Also September, 1989
St. Michael’s College
student Andrew Davidson begins his term as Chair of GLAUT. In
November 1989, Davidson announces a stronger political mandate for
GLAUT and a difficult year of struggle begins with St. Michael’s
College. In January 1990, Davidson
co-writes an opinion
piece with Prof. David Rayside in which he argues that “the
of homosexuality which seems so widespread at SMC has relatively little
do with scripture, and rather a lot to do with a convenient
appropriation of social prejudice.” He
further notes that at SMC “being accepted as openly lesbian or gay is
next to impossible.” (see The
Varsity, 8 January 1990; The Varsity, 2 February 1993).
November 1989, the
University of Toronto SAC holds the annual “Mr. Blue Contest” at St.
Michael’s College. The contest is an
male beauty pageant, organized and funded by the SAC. One
student from Innis College began his performance by imitating his
perception of a stereotypical gay man. The
student was met with a cry of “fag” from the audience and a significant
amount of heckling. A second white student
painted himself with black make-up in an attempt to imitate
a character made famous by comedian Eddie Murphy (see The Varsity,
27 November 1989).
GLAUT initiates proceedings with the Ontario Human Rights Commission against Greg McFarlane, Chairperson of The Mike Publications, Inc., after The Mike refuses, on two separate occasions, to publish an advertisement for the Homo Hop. McFarlane had argued that the paper has the right to publish or not publish what it wants, particularly with regard to Catholic social teaching. The University of St. Michael’s College could not be held responsible as, since 1985, The Mike has been a separate and independent entity from USMC, SMCSU or the Roman Catholic Church (Archdiocese of Toronto).
The ad had been originally scheduled to run in the 6 December 1989 edition, however, McFarlane called the printer and had the ad removed. Again in January 1990, the paper briefly considers running the ad, but then decides against it.
In April 1990, GLAUT and The Mike reach a
settlement whereby the paper agrees to run ads for the group and agrees
to change its letters policy to read “libellous, hateful or tending to
incite hatred against any minority contrary to the Human Rights Code of
Ontario.” The Mike also agrees to
recall 6000 copies of the April 1990 edition of The Mike and
reprint the paper with the ad for the Homo Hop. After
signing the agreement with GLAUT, McFarlane resigns from his position,
saying he feels like Judas, having betrayed the students of St.
Michael’s College. (see The Mike, 31 January 1990; The
Varsity 8 January 1990; The Varsity 25 January 1990; The
Varsity, 12 April 1990; The Varsity, 2 February 1993).
Also January, 1990
USMC President, Father
James McConica, writes an open letter to GLAUT Chair and SMC student
Andrew Davidson expressing his concern about accusations that there is
significant amount of homophobia on the SMC campus. He
notes that discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation is
contrary to Catholic teaching. He
that the USMC Chaplains were asked to look into the issue in December
1989 and to respond with some form of initiative to address the problem. It is not clear what initiative, if any, was
St. Michael’s College
Student Union votes against donating $100 to the University of Toronto
Committee on Homophobia. University of
Toronto Prof. David Rayside made the request to SMCSU, noting that the
donation would be an important statement on the part of the council
the issue of homophobia is serious. SMCSU
decides that it will operate its own initiatives to raise awareness of
the issue of homophobia on the USMC campus. It
is unclear what initiatives, if any, are ever undertaken (see The
Mike, 14 February 1991)
Gays, Bisexuals and Transgendered of the University of Toronto) fail in
their campaign to receive a 75-cent levy from students at the
of Toronto. The tax would have been
earmarked for a Queer Resource Centre. Vote
breakdowns indicate that students from St. Michael’s College as well as
the faculties of pharmacy, dentistry, medicine and nursing killed the
levy. A large throng of St. Michael’s
College students reportedly cheer when the vote is announced, with some
shouting: “Fuck you all,” to members of LGBTOUT. (see
Xtra!, 8 April 1999)
April, 1999 The demonstrators
parade a papier-mache
crucifix throughout campus, made from homophobic posters recently
by the “Noble Knights of U of T.” The
posters displayed several homophobic statements including “Gays and
Lesbians Positively Need Christ.” The
protesters then held a “kiss-in” at Brennan Hall, which was met with a
significant amount of hostility by SMC students.
On Holy Thursday, a group of students from U of T campus Christian organizations and LGBTOUT hold a march through the University of Toronto campus, including St. Michael’s College.
The demonstrators parade a papier-mache crucifix throughout campus, made from homophobic posters recently spread by the “Noble Knights of U of T.” The posters displayed several homophobic statements including “Gays and Lesbians Positively Need Christ.” The protesters then held a “kiss-in” at Brennan Hall, which was met with a significant amount of hostility by SMC students.
Several USMC students
were enraged, arguing that it the papier-mache crucifix was a
desecration of a sacred symbol, paraded on one of the most important
days in the Christian calendar. (see Xtra!
8 April 1999).
University of Toronto office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and
Queer Resources distributes Positive
Space campaign materials in the first-year orientation "frosh
kits". These materials are actively removed by the Saint Michael's
College Student Union (SMCSU) prior to distribution of the kits.
The Registrar’s Office
of St. Michael’s College becomes the first division to publicly display
Positive Space symbols. The Principal’s
Office follows in the summer of 2002 with the appointment of Mark
McGowan as principal. The
symbol is composed of an inverted rainbow triangle, meant as a sign
that people in that office are supportive of LGBTQ students, staff and
faculty and would welcome questions and requests for assistance.
The University of Toronto office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Resources distributes Positive Space campaign materials in the first-year orientation "frosh kits". These materials are again actively removed by the Saint Michael's College Student Union (SMCSU) prior to distribution of the kits.
Prof. Peter Wolfe from Marquette University, Wisconsin, speaks at St. Michael’s College on the invitation of the St. Michael’s College Students for Life group. Campus queer organizations are insulted by the invitation, noting Wolfe’s views on morality and homosexuality. In the past Wolfe has publicly denounced homosexuality as an “affliction,” comparing it to alcoholism. Jude Tate, of LGBTQ Resources at U of T, noted in an article in the Varsity about the issue that "the climate and environment at SMC has been on ongoing conern for people around LGBTQ issues for a long time." Tate also mentioned that St. Mike's had been removing postive space literature and stickers from frosh kits for the last two years. (see The Varsity 14 February 2003).
Also November, 2001
The first ever meeting
of q@SMC (queer at St. Michael’s College) takes place in the wake of
lecture by Prof. Peter Wolfe. Attempts are
immediately made to gain club recognition status at the college,
however, problems arise when the religious communities at St.
particularly the Basilian Fathers and the Sisters of St. Joseph and
Loretto all decline to support the club’s petition for club recognition. In September of 2002, representatives of the
Basilian Fathers and Sisters of St. Joseph agree to sign the club
recognition form, however, the petition languishes in bureaucratic
delays with the St. Michael’s College Student Union (SMCSU).
Chair of q@SMC, submits an article for publishing in The Mike,
it is like to have a queer identity at SMC and how it feels to
encounter homophobia at St. Michael’s College. Editor-in-Chief
of The Mike, Peter Evans, ultimately decides not to run the story. The Mike argues that it was looking for
a news piece as opposed to an opinion piece and the piece submitted was
a cross between a news piece, opinion piece and an advertisement (see The
Varsity Weekend, 14 February 2003).
Also January, 2002
Advertisements are displayed for the first ever event
q@SMC. Of the first 20 posters displayed,
all are torn down or removed from the St. Michael’s College campus. The group then displays another 60 posters,
the vast majority of which are removed. By
the day of the event, only 10 to 15 posters remain.
The Committee on Student Experience, USMC, invites q@SMC to make presentations on the queer experience. Six compositions are submitted, detailing what it is like to be a queer person at the College. One academic living in Men's Residence wrote: "I feel pity for those staff members, teachers, dons and priests at SMC whose homosexuality is an open secret, but who will never have the chance to live as gay people in a dignified way." Another wrote: "unlike every other college at U of T we live like strangers in our own home. Regardless of what the residence code may dictate, it cannot protect us from pointing fingers and quiet insults."
The Toronto Star
publishes an article in which it
details many of the difficulties that queer persons, and q@SMC
specifically, had been experiencing at the College. Several
students note the isolation and difficulty in being an "out" person at
SMC with one student noting that "borderline tolerance and inclusion
two very, very different things, and that is made very clear at our
college." The article does note some of the positive support that
queer persons have received at the College, particulary from Sr. Anne
Marie Marrin, Dean of Women's Residence at SMC. Principal Joseph
Boyle is also on record in the article as stating that as part of the
University of Toronto communty, the college supports and endorses its
policies on equity and diversity (The
Toronto Star , 7 May 2002, p. A19)
The University of St.
Michael’s College adopts a Statement of Inclusiveness, stating that
Michael's is committed to doing everything it can to ensure that people
of all backgrounds regardless of religion, colour, gender, ethnicity,
sexual orientation, social or economic class and nationality will feel
welcome in its midst."
A Catholic student at
the University of Toronto attends a meeting of q@SMC claiming to be
interested in joining the group. An
latter appears in an on-line magazine entitled lifesite.net in several
misconceptions and errors. Among the
misconceptions spread are that q@SMC is funded by, and a branch of, the
“militant homosexual activist” LGBTOUT and that the group is
anti-Catholic in its sentiment. The
also lists members of the St. Michael’s College community who had
supported q@SMC, several of whom later receive hostile correspondence
from readers of the article.
SMC Principal Mark
McGowan establishes the Principal’s Advisory Committee on Sexual
Orientation, including two members of q@SMC.
Also October, 2002
q@SMC holds its first
elections. Bernard Fitzpatrick, President,
and Jennifer Hamilton, Vice-President.
University of Toronto office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and
Queer Resources distributes Positive
campaign materials in the first-year orientation "frosh kits". These
materials are again actively removed by the Saint Michael's College
Union (SMCSU) prior to distribution of the kits.
Prof. Peter Kreeft of
Boston University holds a lecture at St. Michael’s College entitled
“Sexuality, Marriage and the Family,” on the invitation of the St.
Michael’s College Students for Life and the Intercollegiate Studies
Institute. In the lecture, Kreeft makes
comparisons between homosexuality and alcoholism, cancer, bestiality,
drinking kerosene and eating mud. Kreeft
also went on to say that one can not be a “homosexual catholic” because
such a statement is a category confusion.
days following the lecture, the coverage in The Mike consists of an editorial
and an article, both from the Executive Editor, Andrew Krupowicz.
In the editorial, Krupowicz writes that "a certain group of
[queer] political radicals, blinded by their own agenda, fail to see
SfL's real message and have the audacity to accuse Sfl of spearheading
an effort to spread hate." He also notes that "the current
generation of political activists is doing the queer movement a
disservice," and that "the true adversaries of queer activists are
backward rednecks whose mentality harkens to the days when the state
sent pepole to jail for having homosexual sex." In his article,
Krupowicz mentions Kreeft's comparison to cancer wiriting that "he
to make that disction clear by using a simile that compared sin to
cancer, and the doctor's treatement of cancer to the way a person hates
the sin, but loves the person - the cancer patient." He goes on
write that "some people were offended by this simile and assumed that
Kreeft was equating gay sex with cancer. Most, however,
the professor's point and continued to follow his train of thought."
(see The Mike, 22 November
November and December, 2002
In the wake of the lecture, q@SMC and LGBTOUT send letters condemning the lecture to The Mike. The Mike refuses to publish the letters unless controversial sections are edited. Later, an ad designed by q@SMC and financed by concerned campus groups of the University of Toronto is submitted to "The Mike", containing condemnations from the Graduate Student Union, the Student's Administrative Council, and the letters previously submitted by q@SMC and LGBTOUT. Although Editor-in-Cheif Mike Jacques had previously refused the q@SMC letter arguing that it was libellious, he publishes it within the ad for reasons of "diplomacy". (see The Mike, 22 November 2003, Vol LVI, Issue 7).
University of Toronto's Office of Student Affairs begins an
investigation into the Kreeft lecture after a number of complaints.
In February, the investigation is concluded after the Principal's
Advisory Committee on Sexual Orientation releases its own statement
regarding the lecture. There is no official response from the
University of Toronto. (see Xtra! 26
December 2002, No. 474; Xtra! 14
February 2004, No. 477)
"Principal's Advisory Committee on Sexual Orientation" publishes a
condemnation and statement of dissociation of the Kreeft lecture in
Mike". The condemnation letter later appears in "The Independant" and
"The Bulletin". While acknowledging that the university is an
apporpriate environment in which to discuss difficult questions and
engage in scholarly and informed discussion, the members of the
Committee stated that the lecture fell far short of the high standards
set by the College. They noted that they were "disturbed by many
of the speaker's hypotheses, particlarly on the subject of sexual
orientation," and that the speaker created an environment that was
"counter-witness" to the College's inclusiveness statement. They
also acknowledged that many members of the audience felt "belittled,
patronized and excluded from the Body of Christ because of their sexual
orientation." (see The
Independent 6 February 2003, Vol. 25a, issue 21, The Bulletin, 10 February 2003,
no.12, The Mike 31 January
Vol LVI, Issue 10).
Also February 2003
A number of Faculty and Staff members of St Michael's College publish a public statement of concern in response to the condemnation of the Kreeft lecture by the Principal's Advisory Committee on Sexual Orientation. The letter is featured within a "Special Report" by lifesite.net. The various co-signors argue that the University of Toronto's Statement of Purpose has been violated by the committee's statement, citing the right to "raise deeply distrubing questions and provocative challenges to the cherished beliefs of society at large and of the university itself." The letter is signed by Prof. Richard Toporoski, Prof. Elmar Kremer, Fr. Guy Trudel, C.S.B., Prof. Thomas Pangle, Prof. Lorraine Pangle, Prof. Clifford Orwin, Prof. Donna Orwin, Prof. John Hartley, Prof. James Morrison and Prof. David Novak of the University of Toronto as well as Fr. Thomas A. Lynch, Acting Dean, St. Augustine's Seminary, Toronto.
McGowan replies in The Mike
that St. Michael's College, including the Office of the Principal and
the advisory committees, strongly endorse the University of Toronto's
Statement of Institutional Purpose, wherein academic freedom is
guaranteed. He also confirmed that the St. Michael's College
Council passed a resolution clearly stating that the USMC Inclusiveness
Statement is not intended to impede academic freedom at the university.
(see The Mike 14 February 2003)
Also February, 2003
St. Michael's College Students
for Life (SMCSFL) send an open letter to the administration of St.
Michael's College. The letter states that: "we have been
as so dangerous that we should not be allowed to speak. People
not challenging our position; people are challenging whether or not we
should even be allowed to state our position." They further write
that "our mission, to present the teaching of the Church with respect
all aspects of life and therefore sexuality, is an important one at a
university where one view is aggressively trying to silence those of
others." The letter also challenges the Principal's Advisory
Committee on sexual orientation, and more specifically Prof. Mark
McGowan, to acknowledge the Catholic Catechism's teaching that
"homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." (see The Mike, 28 February 2003, Vol.
56, Issue 12).
Also February, 2003
St. Michael's College Student Union passes a motion affirming the PACSO
condemnation of the Kreeft lecture, but never publishes it. In the same
meeting, SMCSU Finance Commissioner and presidential hopeful Chris
puts forth a motion which would result in prohibiting the posting of
LGBTQ Positive Space materials in the SMCSU office, which fails by a
considerable margin. Deans later fails in the SMCSU elections by a
Also February, 2003
Graduate Students' Union (GSU) of the University of Toronto writes a
letter to Principal Mark McGowan. The GSU affirms the right to
free speech in an academic setting, it argues that the University has a
responsibility to respond when that free speech causes serious damage
the campus atmoshpere of diversity and inclusiveness. The GSU
supports the statement of the Principal's Advisory Committee on Sexual
Orientation and encourages the President of the University of Toronto
participates independently in the SMC Clubs Fair, and collects a
considerable number of signatures for their club status petition.
of the religious communities
refuse to sign the petition; citing the repercussions of the previous
signing and arguing that signing such petitions interfere with the
objective functioning of their respective offices. q@SMC scambles to
find other religious signers, but does not succeed. The religious
communities themselves, with the support of the Office of the President
of USMC, ask the SMC Student Union to drop the requirement. SMCSU
agrees, just prior to the 2003 round of club recognition.
President Bernie Fitzpatrick is asked by SMCSU Frosh-Week organizers to
speak at the "SMCSU Alternate Mass", a forum discussing the SMC
experience, intended as an alternative to the frosh week mass. Bernie
speaks on diversity in a Catholic environment and the Christian example
of defying the norm.
The removal of the Positive Space materials from the previous year's frosh kits is discussed in a meeting between Administration and SMCSU Orientation Coordinators (specific date unknown). All coordinators denied removing the materials from the kits in previous years. Orientation 2003 marks the first year in which Positive Space materials were not removed from the frosh kits.