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George Hislop
(1927 - October 2005) Canada

George Hislop

Activist

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Born in the village of Swansea (later part of Toronto), Hislop graduated from the Royal Conservatory of Music at the University of Toronto in 1949 with a Diploma in Speech Arts and Drama. During the 1950s he worked as a freelance actor, before running a design and display company with his lover, Ron Shearer, between 1959 and 1971.

Although part of the gay scene in Toronto since the late 1940s, Hislop did not come to public prominence until 1971 when he became the co-founder and president of the Community Homophile Association of Toronto (CHAT), one of the major lesbian and gay organizations in Canada during the '70s. He was also an organizer of the first gay rights demonstration on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on August 28, 1971. Hislop was the co-founder of the Toronto Lambda Business Council.

In running for alderman in the City of Toronto election in 1980 and 1981, he became the first openly gay person to run for public office in Canada. Though unsuccessful, Hislop's candidacy was in part to protest recent human rights abuses, particulrly the 6 Februyary 1981 bath-house raids, in which Toronto police raided four saunas and charged almost 300 men in one of the largest mass arrests in Canadian history.

Hislop spent much of the 1980s and 1990s engaged in business pursuits, including running saunasm magazines, a reastaurant and a series of bars in Toronto.

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Source: excerpts from: Aldrich R. & Wotherspoon G., Who's Who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History, from WWII to Present Day, Routledge, London, 2001 - et alii

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