Today in Canadian Queer History

Last year I posted on the 35th anniversary of Operation Soapthe 1981 Toronto bathhouse raids that became our “line in the sand“. As I noted in a tweet earlier today, this was just one in a series of police actions against businesses that were then a major source of social and sexual connection for many gay men.

Oct. 1977 Montreal police raid 2 bathhouses; Mystique and Truxx bathhouse. 144 men charged.

12/09/1978 Police raid The Barracks in Toronto; 23 charged as ‘Bawdy House found-ins’ and 5 ‘Bawdy House keepers’.
06/06/1979 One of the ‘found-ins’ that went public about the raid was charged with Keeping a Bawdy House for his own residence.

10/11/1979 Police raid The Hot Tub in Toronto; 40 people charged.

04/23/1980 Police in Montreal raid; 61 people charged.

Operation Soap
02/05/1981 Police raid four bathhouses in Toronto;
* Club Bath Toronto;
* The Barracks;
* Richmond Street;
* Romans II
@ 286 people charged as ‘Bawdy House found-ins’ and 20 as ‘Bawdy House keepers’;
02/06/1981 3000+ people protest downtown;
02/20/1981 4000+ people protest downtown;
04/21/1981 6 people charged with ‘Living Off The Avails’;
06/28/1981 Protest March as part of Pride Festival includes the first Manifest of the Toronto Order of Perpetual Indulgence, who perform an exorcism at a Police Station;
Nov. 1981 Series of trials, with mixed results.

05/30/1981 Police raid a bath in Edmonton, Alberta; 60 people charged;
06/05/1981 Most plead Guilty and pay fines.

06/16/1981 Police in Toronto raid 2 bathhouses; The Back Door and The International; 21 people charged.

** Sources for most of the above information are listed in last year’s blog post about Operation Soap.

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