3 min

Did I say that?

A chance to eat your words

Credit: Xtra files

Xtra has reported a lot of wacky things in its 20-year history.Obviously this Oct 14, 1994 quote from then Liberal MP Roseanne Skoke is a classic: “There are those innocent victims that are dying from AIDS and then there are homosexualists that are promoting and advancing the homosexual movement and that are spreading AIDS…. And so this love compassion [between homosexuals], based on an inhuman act, defiles humanity, destroys family and is annihilating mankind.”

But people change, don’t they? To celebrate our 20th anniversary this issue, we tracked down some people who have been quoted in the paper over the years and ask them whether their statement reflects what they think now. (Xtra called many Skokes in Nova Scotia; none returned our calls.)


THEN: “When I first came out, it was a rarity to see another South Asian in a bar; now I see so many of them, but they’re scattered.”

* Phillip Solanki, then of the South Asian Gay Association in Xtra’s Jul 31, 1987 issue

NOW: “I’d see it tremendously differently now. It’s not a rarity to see South Asians in a bar at all. I was amazed at the latest Pride Day where they were everywhere. Not just a presence in the floats but in every group there were identifiable South Asians,” Solanki says.

The group, which later became known as Khush, spawned chapters around the US, but disbanded in Toronto a few years back: “The group became redundant because of its own success.”


THEN: “Most Anglican bishops are aggressively hostile to gays and lesbians.”

* Vancouver Anglican bishop Michael Ingham, Diocese Of New Westminster in Xtra’s Dec 17, 1998 issue

NOW: “I think a lot has changed,” Ingham says now. “While you still see the same aggressive hostility amongst some bishops, there’s now a growing recognition that the place of the whole issue of gays and lesbians in the life of the church is a serious issue and must be discussed.”

His comments were given in the context of the Lambeth Conference, a gathering of the Anglican Communion held every 10 years. In 1998 there were very contentious debates on issues of homosexuality within the church.

Ingham, whose own diocese approved same-sex blessings for gay and lesbian couples, is seen as a high-level supporter within the church.

“I continue to receive hate mail. My children have been taunted at school. I’m dealing with a major rebellion of ultra conservative clergy here in Vancouver, but apart from that everything is wonderful.”


THEN: “Weeks will go by when I don’t even think homosexual thoughts or experience temptation. I am in love with Nancy and I am sexually attracted to her.”

* Tye Gamey, director of the Winnipeg office of New Directions For Life, an ex-gay ministry, in Xtra’s Apr 20, 2000 issue

NOW: “I feel totally the same way,” Gamey says; he says he left homosexuality about 13 years ago.

Do the thoughts still come every few weeks?

“Longer now. It’s not something I really think about. It would only be the thought that would come but it doesn’t linger at all. The thought would come, but I would say, no I don’t want to go there, I have no desire to go back.”


THEN: “I feel sorry for them [gay men and lesbians who don’t believe in marriage]. They obviously haven’t found the right person yet.”

* Elaine Vautour, married at the Metropolitan Community Church Of Toronto, Jan 14, 2000, as reported in Xtra’s Jan 11, 2000 issue

“I was misquoted. That’s not what I meant at all,” Vatour says. “What I meant was that I wanted people to be able to make that choice whether or not they wanted to be married,” says Vatour, whose marriage to Anne Vatour was legally recognized this June.


THEN: “A lot of men don’t know the risks or how to put on a condom.”

* John Maxwell, then gay men’s health promotion coordinator at the AIDS Committee Of Toronto in Xtra’s June 20, 1996 issue

NOW: “I would say some men still don’t know all the information. But most gay men are quite sophisticated in terms of their knowledge of HIV and AIDS although it hasn’t made things easier as we’ve seen with the rise of barebacking,” says Maxwell, who is still with ACT, now as director of community development.

“There are more infections amongst gay men. More men are struggling with condom use…. Men who have been in the scene for some time are quite sophisticated in their HIV knowledge but they’re struggling with their ability to be safe all the time.”