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30 Years After the Toronto Bathhouse Riots

30 Years After the Toronto Bathhouse Riots

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It's been 30 years since hundreds of police officers raided four Toronto bathhouses as part of a calculated government-organized campaign to close gay businesses and send a message to the city's newly visible LGBT community.

More than 300 men were arrested February 5, 1981. But rather than silencing them, the events of that night galvanized the city's gays and kick-started a liberation movement that brought about positive change for Canada's emerging out gay population.

Rage against the government and an antigay police force had been building since a 1975 raid on Montreal's Sauna Aquarius. Six years later, Canadian gays had had enough. The night after the Toronto raids, more than 3,000 people gathered for a protest that eventually led to legal fights against censorship, support for AIDS services, and activism for partnership and employment rights as well as marriage equality.

Read more here, including eyewitness accounts.

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