Gay was Toronto's first gay magazine, published almost simultaneously with ASK Newsletter, together among Canada's first gay magazines. The magazine was first printed on 30 March 1964.[1] The earliest periodical anywhere to use 'Gay' in its title. Produced by four Toronto men in a commercial venture, the Gay Publishing Company, Gay ran “serious” articles, letters to the editor, a diary, gossip columns, a feature called the "Gabrial Club", poetry, fiction, politics and a discrete personals column. Gay was illustrated, usually with photographs of drag queens, but also including physique photography.

Intended for a 'mainstream' gay audience it reflected cautious reformism, defending the rights and normalcy of a constituency living in a hostile environment. This was not unlike the political activism emerging in a few large American and European cities before more confrontational activism. Gay also published on Toronto police raids on bars, and on the calls for social and political change that were beginning to surface.

The first five-hundred-copy issue sold out almost immediately. Printing two thousand copies by issue three, distributed to a number of outlets in Toronto and Montreal. Shortly, Gay expanded into the United States as Gay International. It quickly outstripped American publications' distributions, and by the spring of 1965 it was publishing twenty thousand copies across North America and selling about eight thousand. Publication ended in 1966 when criminal charges were levied against one of its central creators.[1][2]


  1. ^ a b McLeod, Donald W. A Brief History of Gay: Canada's First Gay Tabloid, 1964-1966.
  2. ^ "Our Silver Anniversary: Canadians have been organizing for twenty five years!". Newsletter of the Canadian Gay Archives. National Archives for Lesbians and Gay Men. 7. June 1989.