The Halifax Gayline opened in 1972 and ceased operations in 1996 after providing a quarter century of information, counselling and referral service to the gay/lesbian/bisexual (and curious, and homophobic) communities.

It was staffed by trained volunteers and was funded by GAE and later GALA; after that wound down, other GayBars donated space and money for the phone line. The hours of the Gayline were for the most part 7:30 to 10:00pm Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

We had the interesting number, 429-6969!

In the 90's the name was changed to The Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Line.

The Gayline moved around! Here's some timelines:

GreenLantern Building in a small office on the 3rd floor, the same as DavidGray's TheeKlub. Dave donated the space, which he had rented as storage space for his club.
October, 1973
Barrington Street (RedHerringBookstore - across from Shoppers Drug Mart),
The Turret building
Blowers St
Dresden Row
1981 - 1982
Annual report was written by GaryWest.
5187 Sackville St this move along with the GAE Office was before "Rumors" was open on Granville St. in the old Office Location (across from where Reflections was located in 2004). Director: GaryWest 2
1985 - 1986
GaeGala's community center, RadclyffeHall, on Macara Street. [I think these are the years we owned that building.]
1987 - 1995
basement of Rumours (on Gottingen Street)
October 27, 1987
List of volunteers: SusanBailey?, KeithButt, NancyColwell?, BryanDoucette?, AnneFulton, RonGarnett?, BarendKamperman, DanielMacKay, NormanMoulton?, EdSlade, WayneTrites?, AndrewWhite?.3
1995 - 1996
basement of TheStudio on Barrington until its death. Informal sponsorship deal with the owner of Studio (see below.) Phone number; 423-7129.
June 14, 1996
The last entry in the last log book, by JimBarnaby4

pic We filled out a card like this for every call. Once a month, someone would look at them and produce monthly statistics for type of call, gender etc. They were just index cards that we printed with a giant rubber stamp.

Training for the Gay, Lesbian and Bisexal Line was a whole-day session with existing volunteers including one who was a social worker, then several shifts working with a current member. Here are the 1993 guidelines for volunteers.

Here's a list of books on homosexuality, produced by the HalifaxRegionalLibrary

NilsClausson writes: One of the first things GAE did was set up the Gay Line. I was one of the original volunteers in 1972 and 1973, along with TommyBurns, DavidGray, EdSlade, JimDeYoung, AnneFulton and one or two others whose names have disappeared into the mists of time. We were trained by DianeWarren, who was on the board of GaeGala (as vice-chair, I think; she later became chair). Diane was a volunteer on the City of Halifax's Help Line (so was DavidGray as I recall) and so she provided the training.

EmeraldGibson writes: I was phone line director GAE AGM in 1979 until 1981 when Gary West took over midway through the year. It was during my tenure that the training changed and a manual was developed for the volunteers. The location never seemed to be kept as a secret somehow some way someone always found out and the security of the volunteers was always at risk. I did during my term advertise the line and made inquiries about advertising. I sent an inquiry to a base newspaper in CFB Greenwood about rates and ask what they would charge to publish it got mail back a few weeks later with a copy of the add and an invoice of $5, call after this made a dramtic increase into the line but so did the crank calls.

DanielMacKay writes: I was with the Gayline for about 10 years, from the mid-eighties until its demise, working one or two 3-hour Thursday-night shifts per month. On a busy night you could expect a half dozen calls. The smattering of homophobic calls which made your life interesting - it was a real challenge to make the 'phobes realize you were a real person, and give them some information about being gay. Of course we know that a lot of these gay "bashers" were curious so turning around that kind of call was really rewarding. More than 50% of the calls were people wanting to know where the CruisingAreas were, tourists interested in the baths and GayBars, etc. Starting in the '80s we gave out SaferSex information along with these directions. A small number of calls were actual counselling calls and they were really rewarding. Although we were trained for it, suicide calls were very rare -- in discussion with the other workers, in the almost quarter century of operation we only ever got one.

In its last incarnation, the phone was located in the basement of Studio and since I had arranged for moving it there, the bills came to me; there was an informal sponsorship deal with the owner of Studio to pay for it, but the relaying of the bills didn't work very well and when the GayLine wound down I had a couple hundred dollars to pay. The bill says we had phone number 423-7129.

One longtime volunteer says, "MOST of the calls were for the three B's - Bars, Baths, and Bushes."



In progress: this list was compiled in July, 2020 by Ron & Bryan Garnett-Doucette going over the log books and guessing at the names of people who left notes and the dates: last names are very rare, and some people used pseudonyms while working which are marked in quotes. Early log books weren't part of this set.

WhoYears Worked
AndrewWhite?June, 1987
Anne (of Sandy & Ann)1989
AnneFulton1983, July 14, 1987, 1988
BarbSawatsky1983, July, 1987
BarendKamperman1987, 1988-09-29 (his last entry in the log) Barend says: September 29th 1988 was a Thursday, one day before my 38th birthday; my sublet at Monastery Lane was finished, I'd quit my security job but didn't apply for UI because I'd be in Japan by then. I stopped volunteering on Gayline because I'd have to commute into town from Grand Lake using my parents car. That year I flew to TO then Van then Juno Alaska then Tokyo then Osaka Japan.
BryanGarnettDoucette1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1992, 1994
Chuck (maybe ChuckGillis)1983, 1984
DanielMacKayApril 25, 1986 (first solo), 1987, 1993, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1992
David 1994
Devota August, 1994, 1990, 1992
DianneWarren?August, 1973
Doug August, 1994, 1995
EdSlade1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991
Fred 1984, 1985, 1986
GaryWest1981, 1982
HeatherBurke? “Janice” 1983, 1984
JimBarnaby1989, 1994, 1995, 1996
KeithButt “Brent” "KP Butt"1985, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1991
Kelly S 1985
LaneFerguson?1983, 1984, 1985
Marjorie 1983
MauraDonovan1990, 1991
MikeSangster1988, 1989, 1992, 1993
NancyColwell?1987, 1989
Nancy (Niki)April, 1987
NormanMoulton?April, 1987, 1989
Richard 1985
Ron 1983
RonGarnettDoucette1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993
Sam April, 1995
Sandy 1989
SueBailey? “Kelly” 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991
TomRomard?1991, 1992, 1993
WayneTrites? "Darrell"April, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1991

1981 - 1982 Annual Report


By Call TypeCountincrease (+) decrease(-)
Crank Calls 628-373
Wrong numbers 128-295
Legit Calls 778+255
Total calls 2090

By Gender
Male 653
Female 125

By Information Type
Interpersonal 145
Information 633


What happened to the Gayline? Hmmm. I think mainly

This page is part of the HistoryProject.

May 2006

Maybe it's time for a new GayLine in Halifax, it would be great to go along with Pride.'

Is there a need to bring back the Gayline and why?

There was an attempt to revive the Gay Line in 1998? by Jody Gurholt and some others. Training was done, but I don't believe it went any further then this.

Ron writes: I was involved in discussions and meetings both (at different times) with the Help Line and B-GLAD (to partner) to bring the Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Line back, but volunteers, location and funding are always the issue - funding being the most difficult.


2. GAE Minutes August 4, 1982
3. Volunteers contact database on DanielMacKay Apple // disk