Stand Together begins with an examination of the National Security Campaigns in the 1960's when the RCMP investigated thousands of lesbians and gays working in the public service in Canada. Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act detail investigations of individuals as 'suspected' or 'alleged' homosexuals working in a wide variety of public service jobs.

After the Criminal Code Amendments decriminalizing homosexual acts between two consenting adults came into effect in 1969, Gay Liberation organizations sprang up across the country calling upon lesbians and gay men to come "out of the closet and into the streets". The documentary examines the activities and politics of Gay Liberation and the changing societal attitudes towards homosexuality in the 70's and 80's including rarely seen footage of organized gay bashing on Halloween on Yonge Street in Toronto, and 'zaps' organized by gay liberationists. By June 1977, the Ontario Human Rights Commission recommended the inclusion of 'sexual orientation' in the Ontario Human Rights Code. However by this time, there was growing opposition to gay rights from conservative politicians, police, and religious right groups. The documentary examines the growing backlash to gay rights, the emergence of a religious right campaign spearheaded by Anita Bryant in the U.S. and Renaissance International in Canada, combined with escalating police raids against the gay community. A section of the video recounts the February 5th, 1981 bath raids in Toronto. Operation Soap, (the police code name for the bath raids) resulted in 286 men being arrested and charged as 'found-ins' in raids on four gay steam baths; the largest mafss arrest in Canadian history since the War Measures Act in Quebec. On February 6th and 20th an outraged community responded with demonstrations protesting police brutality.

Throughout this tumultuous history, and through the voices of the individuals who were at the centre of these events, Stand Together traces the history of the Human Rights Amendment Campaign by the Coalition for Gay Rights of Ontario (CGRO). The movement resulted in a victory on December 2, 1986 when the Ontario legislature voted to include 'sexual orientation' as a prohibited ground of discrimination in the Ontario Human Right Code, making Ontario the 2nd province to enshrine such protections.

Nancy Nicol
Stand Together


Section 1:National Security Campaigns
Section 2: out of the closet and into the streets
Section 3: Operation Soap
Section 4: Human Rights