Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Toronto Boylove History: Gerald Hannon

Gerald Hannon (1944- ) is Canadian journalist, writer and gay rights activist.
Gerald Hannon was born in New Brunswick, but grew up in Marathon, Ontario. He later moved to Toronto for his university studies. At the end of 1971, he joined the editorial group of the Canadian gay liberation magazine The Body Politic and for most of its fifteen-year life he was one of its most prolific and controversial writers.

"Men loving boys loving men"

His most controversial article appeared in the December 1977/January 1978 issue of The Body Politic, titled "Men loving boys loving men" in which he documented the lives of three contemporary boylovers. The fact that his account was not condemnatory and presented them in a sympathetic light made Toronto Sun journalist Claire Hoy begin publishing columns attacking Hannon and The Body Politic for promoting child abuse. These attacks eventually brought a police raid and obscenity charges against him and the magazine's editorial collective. The charges were laid under the former Section 164 of the Criminal Code of Canada (use of the mails to distribute immoral, indecent or scurrilous material). Two months later, the magazine's publisher Pink Triangle Press and its officers were acquitted. However, the legal battle continued for more than five years due to several appeals, with the final victory of the journal and its editors.

Ryerson Polytechnical University

After the demise of The Body Politic in 1987, Hannon continued writing freelance and later won two National Magazine awards and several other nominations. He later begun teaching journalism in a part-time position at Toronto's Ryerson Polytechnical University (now Ryerson University). For the next decade, Canadian media continued to attack him for his "Men loving boys loving men" article but the University defended his right of free speech. Nevertheless, that was only until Hannon openly admitted that he worked as a part-time prostitute. This new controversy led to his suspension from the University in late 1995. Later, the Canadian Union of Public Employees filed a grievance on Hannon's behalf, asserting that there were no grounds for a disciplinary enquiry since no staff or student of the university had complained about any inappropriate behaviour on Hannon's part.

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