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Canadian LGBT Activist Jim Deva Dies Suddenly at 65

Canadian LGBT Activist Jim Deva Dies Suddenly at 65


Vancouver mourns the well-known bookseller, who made headlines in a 20-year censorship battle with Canada's government.

Photo by Chung Chow/

Jim Deva, a prominent member of Vancouver's LGBT community, died suddenly this Sunday after falling from a ladder while gardening at home, reports local news station CKNW. He was 65 years old.

Deva was best known for promoting and defending LGBT literature. He co-owned Little Sister's Book and Art Emporium in Vancouver, and was at the forefront of a decades-long censorship battle with the Canadian Border Service Agency.

In a case that would span 20 years, Deva fought for the right to sell and import LGBT-themed books to his store, and for that right to be extended to other Canadian booksellers. His case was eventually brought to Canada's supreme court, where the judges ruled in Deva's favor.

"He and the bookstore stood up for freedom of speech," Vancouver lawyer barbara findlay (who spells her name with lower case letters) told Canadian Broadcasting Corporation News.

"Deva's legacy really can't be overstated," she continued. "He established a community center as well as a bookstore, and this has been a place that everybody has looked to for information, for support, for advice."

In April, Deva and Little Sister's were awarded the Gray Campbell Distinguished Service Award by the Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia. In the wake of his untimely passing, community members and Canadian politicians have been reaching out with support to his partner Bruce Smythe, and remember his activism fondly on social media.

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