Active History is celebrating its tenth anniversary! As part of our anniversary celebrations we are sharing glimpses of how Active History developed and showcasing our favourite and most popular posts from the past ten years. Today is our last re-post and we’re looking back at 2018.
In 2018 we launched the Beyond the Lecture series (still open to submissions!) and we published two open access ebooks, Confronting Canadian Migration History and Beyond The Lecture: Innovations in Teaching Canadian History. Also in 2018, Sean Graham launched the new History Chats podcast channel which features a number of fantastic recorded talks. In 2018 also we hosted a number of series including: Plains Injustice, The Spanish Flu,and Lost Stories.
It was tough picking a post to reshare from 2018 – there were a number of really great, thoughtful, and timely posts. We ultimately decided on re-sharing Tom Hooper’s “The Police Records of a Bath Raid Found-In: Excluded from Bill C-66.”
For more than 25 years, Ron Rosenes* has been an activist on issues related to HIV/AIDS. In 2007, he was given the Canadian AIDS Society Leadership Award. In 2012, Carleton University awarded him an honorary doctorate. He is a member of the Order of Canada.
Despite this impressive resume of advocacy, the Toronto Police Service has a file on him. In the late evening of February 5th, 1981, he was sitting alone in his room at the Romans II Health and Recreation Spa, one of the city’s gay bathhouses. 200 police raided the Romans and three other similar establishments, arresting 306 men, Rosenes included. He fought the charges in court, but was guilty of being found in a common bawdy house.
This is a historical injustice. In 2016, Toronto’s Chief of Police issued a statement of regret for the raids. In November 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a formal apology to the LGBTQ2+ community in the House of Commons. He stated that discrimination “was quickly codified in criminal offenses like ‘buggery,’ ‘gross indecency’, and bawdy house provisions. Bathhouses were raided, people were entrapped by police.” On the same day as Trudeau’s apology, the government introduced Bill C-66, which would create a legislative process to expunge the records of certain Criminal Code convictions that have been defined as “historically unjust.” Continue reading