Gary Kinsman

picCirca 2010

Gary Kinsman had a major connection with Nova Scotia and with Halifax in 1989 and in the early 1990s when he was teaching in the Sociology Department at AcadiaUniversity. He lived in Halifax for a year with his partner PatrickBarnholden? and their cat Diva. He was involved in the Valley AIDS Concern Group,was a supporter of the PWA Coalition, was involved in the provincial network of AIDS groups, and in the organizing for the gay/lesbian conference in Halifax, and writing for WayvesMagazine.

He participated in the Halifax sit-in in protest against the very limited proposals by Kim Campbell regarding lesbian/gay rights. He began his research on the national security purge campaigns (including use of the FruitMachine) against lesbians and gay men while he was in Nova Scotia and conducted a number of interviews with people who had been interrogated by the RCMP who were then living in Nova Scotia. It was as a research associate of Acadia University that he received Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) funding for his research on the national security campaigns against lesbian and gay men in Canada.

In 2010, Kinsman was co-author of, The Canadian War on Queers: National Security as Sexual Regulation.1 The central issue of the work is the long-running national security campaigns in Canada which constructed queers as security risks and in so doing both reinforced particular discourses of the Canadian state and heterosexual hegemony, reinforcing dominant conceptions of “normal” sexuality. The main focus is on the security campaigns that began in the 1950s and largely tapered off by the 1980s. Kinsman’s personal history is here, as an anti-Stalinist Marxist queer activist, and he continues his encouragement to queers to resist these national security practices by illustrating their agency and by providing a model for future activism and resistance.

Kinsman is also co-researcher for the AIDS Activist History Project (see its page.)

On February 7, 2011 Gary delivered the lecture Commie, Pinko, Fag in Halifax. Gary says, "It was the book launch for The Canadian War on Queers at Venus Envy. I was also in Halifax to give two other talks if I remember right. One was at Dal and one was at the Mount. 2

On October 16, 2011 Dr Nick Mulé interviewed him for Queer Ontario. "Kinsman separates out the difference between formal legal rights and on-the-ground material social changes for the most vulnerable." The interview is here - youtube, 1.25 hours.


1. Gary William Kinsman, Patrizia Gentile. The Canadian War on Queers: National Security As Sexual Regulation. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2010. xxiii + 554 pp. $95.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-7748-16 (alternate, search)27-4; $34.95 (paper), ISBN 978-0-7748-16 (alternate, search)28-1.
2. DanMacKay?'s lecture notes & twitter corr with Gary