Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Chronology: the “coming out” of IS! gays and lesbians

by the Gay and Lesbian Caucus

First Published: In Struggle! No. 286, May 4, 1982
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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1972-77 – IN STRUGGLE!’s absolute silence on the gay question.

Fall 1977 – About a dozen militants get together to help the Organization take a position on the question of homosexuals. This act is considered factional and the group is ordered to dissolve. Documents are seized.

1978 – During a public conference on the communist programme an IS! sympathizer goes to the mike to demand that the right to sexual orientation be included in Article 8 of the programme. In March 1978, Internal Bulletin no. 26 carries a directive which states that gays and lesbians can join the Organization. However, the directive also mentions their “instability” and consequently the need for greater “security” measures in their case.

1979 – IN STRUGGLE!’s Third Congress. A proposal to include the right to sexual orientation in the programme is brought forward by a delegate from the West. No one seconds it.

1980 – Another directive, printed in the Internal Bulletin of April of the same year (no. 39), reaffirms the directive of March ’78 and criticizes contemptuous attitudes which still exist within the Organization toward homosexuals. The directive calls upon the newspaper to start a public debate on the question. Homosexuality is defined in this document as socially harmless... A series of letters on homosexuality appear in the newspaper (no. 190-226). In November 1980 there is an editorial which takes a position in favour of the defence of the civil rights of gays and lesbians.

1981 – Several articles written by the journalist responsible for the gay movement are never published. In November, during an internal Quebec regional conference, a call was made to gays, lesbians and bi-sexuals to get together to prepare for the upcoming Congress.

January 1982 – An article is published in no. 279 of the newspaper, It’s time for gays and lesbians to speak out!. At the public conference on the political crisis of IN STRUGGLE!, January 30-31. there was a workshop on the gay question which brought. together some 20 people from various regions of the country. All agreed on the need to set up a caucus.

February 1982 – A statement by the Gay/Lesbian Caucus appears in no. 281 of the newspaper. The statement receives the unanimous support of the Central Committee... a rare occurrence at this time.

March 1982 – An interview with members of the caucus is published in issue 283 of the newspaper. An in-depth article was anticipated, for the special issue of PROLETARIAN UNITY no. 26 on women. We wound up with a letter... Besides their regular meetings, the members of the caucus take part in various debates organized by the gay and lesbian movement in Toronto and Montreal. But, in spite of all this, none of the various controversial documents published in preparation for the Congress touch the gay question at all...