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 Featured Title
The Canadian War on Queers
National Security as Sexual Regulation
Gary Kinsman   Patrizia Gentile  

$97.00 Hardcover
Release Date: 11/15/2009
ISBN: 978-0-7748-1627-4    

$36.95 Paperback
Release Date: 3/1/2010
ISBN: 978-0-7748-1628-1    

584 Pages

Sexuality Studies series


About the Book

Selected for the 2011 Over the Rainbow Book List, a Book List from Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Round Table of the American Library Association

From the 1950s to the late 1990s, agents of the state spied on, interrogated, and harassed gays and lesbians in Canada, employing social ideologies and other practices to construct their target -- people who deviated from the so-called norm -- as threats to society and enemies of the state.

Reconstructed from official security regime documents released through the Access to Information Act and interviews with gays, lesbians, civil servants, and high-ranking officials, The Canadian War on Queers offers a passionate, personalized account of a national security campaign that violated people’s civil rights and freedoms in an attempt to regulate their sexual practices. Gary Kinsman and Patrizia Gentile disclose not only the acts of state repression that accompanied the Canadian war on queers but also forms of resistance that raise questions about just whose security was being protected and about national security as an ideological practice.

This path-breaking account of how the state used national security to wage war on its own people offers ways of understanding, and resisting, contemporary ideological conflicts such as the "war on terror." It is required reading for students, scholars, and social activists in lesbian, gay, and queer studies or anyone interested in the issues of national security, state repression, and human rights.

About the Author(s)

Gary Kinsman is the author of The Regulation of Desire and an editor of Sociology for Changing the World. He is a professor in the Sociology Department at Laurentian University, Sudbury.

Patrizia Gentile is assistant professor in the Pauline Jewett Institute of Women’s and Gender Studies at Carleton University.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Preface: National Security Wars -- Then and Now


List of Abbreviations

1. Queering National Security, the Cold War, and Canadian History: Surveillance and Resistance

2. Queer History and Sociology from Below: Resisting National Security

3. The Cold War against Queers: Social and Historical Contexts

4. Spying and Interrogation: The Social Relations of National Security

5. The "Fruit Machine": Attempting to Detect Queers

6. Queer Resistance and the Security Response: Solidarity versus the RCMP

7. The Campaign Continues in the 1970s: Security Risks and Lesbian Purges in the Military

8. "Gay Political Activists" and "Radical Lesbians": Organizing against the National Security State

9. Sexual Policing and National Security: Sex Scandals, Olympic Clean-Ups, and Cross-Country Organizing

10. Continuing Exclusion: The Formation of CSIS and "Hard-Core Lesbians"

11. From Exclusion to Assimilation: National Security, the Charter, and Limited Inclusion

12. From the Canadian War on Queers to the War on Terror: Resisting the Expanding National Security State

Appendix: Index of Interviews





Kinsman and Gentile have taken on an ambitious project both with respect to their topic as well as the scope of more than four decades worth of material.
This is an incredibly important piece of work and will be appreciated by those who have a historical interest in national security campaigns and queer history, as well as those who want a history on which to base contemporary resistance to the security campaigns that are still being mounted against many marginalized people today.
-- Tamara de Szegheo Lang, TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies, Issue 25, Spring 2011

"The Canadian War on Queers is destined to be a landmark book in the study of Canadian state security apparatuses and an important contribution to Canadian history and LGBT studies."
-- Barry Adam, author of The Rise of a Gay and Lesbian Movement

"The Canadian War on Queers is a groundbreaking account of campaigns by the Canadian state against its own people. Passionately written and thoroughly researched, the book performs a public service by revealing how prejudice can destroy lives but, as importantly, how bigotry can be resisted. This book not only deserves to be read, it needs to be read."
-- Steve Hewitt, Senior Lecturer in American and Canadian Studies at the University of Birmingham and author of Spying 101: The RCMP’s Secret Activities on Canadian Universities, 1917-1997 and Snitch! A History of the Modern Intelligence Informer

"Reading this meticulously researched and well-written book is like lifting up a big rock on a beach and staring with awe and astonishment at the creatures that slither for new cover ... A powerful chronicle of the appalling campaigns of fear and lies that shattered and destroyed the lives of countless gay and lesbian Canadians in the name of national security. It names both the villains and the heroes, and is history all Canadians should be aware of."
-- Svend Robinson was New Democrat Member of Parliament for Burnaby, BC, from 1979 to 2004, and came out in 1988 as the first openly gay MP in Canada

"Compelling personal stories illuminate this impeccably researched analysis of the use of national security legislation to wage a war against lesbian and gay Canadians during the Cold War years. As if that wasn’t enough to accomplish in a single book, the authors employ this history to lay bare the current government’s use of national security legislation to silence critics of corporate power and justify a litany of human rights abuses in today’s 'war on terror.' A profound and extremely readable contribution to both queer history and the politics of fear that masquerade as straightforward policy concerns."
-- Lynne Fernie, Filmmaker, Co-Director, Forbidden Love: The Unashamed Stories of Lesbian Lives and Fiction and Other Truths: A Film about Jane Rule

"The Canadian War on Queers is a major work on the history of the Canadian state security practices and an astonishing piece of queer social history. Kinsman and Gentile present an account of a national security regime built on persecutory practices that are mind-boggling in their scale and longevity. At the heart of this book is a collection of oral histories that are smart, heartbreaking, and funny. While it might sound trite, they have a lot to tell us about the importance of community and the possibility of resistance. The analysis offered by Kinsman and Gentile and the extensive archive constituted through their work is going to make an invigorating contribution to the history of sexuality in Canada."
-- Mary Louise Adams, author of The Trouble With Normal: Postwar Youth and the Construction of Sexuality

"National security, state repression, and human rights: Who wouldn’t love a book with this much intrigue! Beautifully realized, this is an unbelievable fifty-year journey documenting a critical part of queer Canadian history. Not only is it impeccably researched but it’s told through the voices of our community."
-- Janine Fuller has played a leading role in the battle against censorship and discrimination in Canada. She is the manager of Little Sister’s Bookstore in Vancouver, BC, and co-author of Restricted Entry: Censorship on Trial

Sample Chapter

Front Matter and Chapter One

Related Topics

Gender Studies
History > Canada
Sexuality Studies

Other Ways To Order

In Canada, order your copy of The Canadian War on Queers from UTP Distribution at:

UTP Distribution
5201 Dufferin Street
Toronto, Ontario
M3H 5T8

Phone orders: 1(800)565-9523 or (416)667-7791
Fax orders: 1(800)221-9985 or (416)667-7832

Ordering information for customers outside Canada

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