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Social Science Gay Studies

The Canadian War on Queers

National Security as Sexual Regulation

by (author) Gary Kinsman & Patrizia Gentile

UBC Press
Initial publish date
Mar 2010
Gay Studies, Minority Studies, NON-CLASSIFIABLE, Post-Confederation (1867-), Civil Rights, Gender Studies, Human Rights, Lesbian Studies
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2010
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  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2009
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  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Mar 2010
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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 targets as threats to society. Based on official security documents and interviews with gays, lesbians, civil servants, and high-ranking officials, this path-breaking book discloses acts of state repression and forms of resistance that raise questions about just whose national security was being protected. Passionate and personalized, this account of how the state used the ideology of national security to wage war on its own people offers ways of understanding, and resisting, contemporary conflicts such as the “war on terror.”

About the authors

Gary Kinsman was one of the first three employees of the AIDS Committee of Toronto, a member of AIDS ACTION NOW!, the Newfoundland AIDS Association, the Valley AIDS Concern Group in Nova Scotia, and now the AIDS Activist History Project ( He is currently involved in the Policing the Pandemic group. He is also the author of The Regulation of Desire, and co-author of The Canadian War on Queers. His website is

Gary Kinsman's profile page

Patrizia Gentile is an associate professor in the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies at Carleton University.

Patrizia Gentile's profile page

Editorial Reviews

This account of the surveillance of Canadian lesbians and gays in the name of national security is impressive, at once bone-chilling and inspiring.

Left History, 14.2

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.

TOPIA, Spring 2011

An important intervention into mainstream studies of Canadian historiography.

Canadian Woman Studies, Vol. 29, No. 3

Other titles by Gary Kinsman

Other titles by Patrizia Gentile