Wilson, Douglas (1950-93)

Doug Wilson, a gay educator, activist, writer, human rights advocate and politician was born in Meadow Lake. In 1975, while an Education student at the University of Saskatchewan, Wilson placed an ad in the student paper advertising the Gay Academic Union. The Dean of Education took swift action, prohibiting an “avowed homosexual” from supervising student teachers in the city's high schools. A Committee to Defend Doug Wilson was formed by local gay activists, professors, and students, in order to protest Wilson's treatment and demand his reinstatement. Wilson's case attracted significant local and national media coverage, and resulted in a Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission investigation. The University countered by applying for an injunction, claiming that the Commission had acted improperly because sexual orientation was not a specified category in the provincial human rights code. The University successfully obtained the injunction and the investigation was prohibited. However, public opinion favoured Wilson.

Wilson's case was historic because it exposed Saskatchewan residents to gay AND LESBIAN activism, which ultimately paved the way for policy changes on campus and throughout the province. Subsequently, Wilson was a key member and leader of local gay activist groups. He was appointed to the position of Executive Director of the Saskatchewan Association on Human Rights from 1978-83. Subsequently he held the position of race relations consultant for the Toronto school board. Wilson became the first openly gay candidate to run in a federal election, when he ran as the NDP candidate for Rosedale in the 1988 election. Wilson died of AIDS-related pneumonia in 1993.

Valerie J. Korinek