picCanada Day 2020. Photo by Roger Johnson

Matt Hughes was born in San Antonio, Texas on July 17, 1941 and resides in Ottawa with Roger Johnson, his partner since the early 1980s. He became a Canadian Citizen in 1987.

A pioneering activist whose 1984 challenge against Acadia University secured the first same-sex spousal benefits from a Canadian school, he was instrumental in starting a gay social organization for the students at Acadia University.

During his tenure (1969 - 1996) at Acadia University, he reported the Administration to the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission every time there were homophobic comments made by faculty, students, and in particular, the Acadia Baptist Divinity College, which - while it resides on campus - is not part of the university.

He taught a wide variety of music courses and always taught piano, fortepiano and music history: his music history classes were called "Out of the Closet" by music students as Matt was not afraid to talk about gay and lesbian composers and performers particular when no references could be found. He has published with the University of Texas, Yale, Columbia, Dalhousie and the University of Toronto Presses. As a fortepianist, he has performed in Canada,the U.S.A. and Europe. He has recorded with CBC and ATV television. In 2009, Matt donated his fortepiano to the Canadian Opera Company to be used in performances of operas by Mozart, Donizetti, Rossini and Bellini. He has given masterclasses to the members of the COC's piano staff and will work with the Ensemble Studio's Apprentice Accompanist in the Fall in preparation of an all Schubert lieder recital at the new opera house.

Matt and Roger were delegates to the NDP National Convention that elected Alexa McDonough as leader. They believe they were the only gay couple in the country not supporting Svend Robinson. Matt was talking with Alexa when Svend came across the floor to give her his support.

pic2007 In 2007, Matt's work with the Toronto Home For The Aged was documented in Toronto Xtra and The Toronto Star. He serves on the Community Advisory Committee for Fudger House Home for the Aged in Toronto; in addition, he is co-founder of the Molly Wood Senior Social Club. This is the first such known club in a home for the aged, and serves as an educational and social outlet for GBLT residents. Matt was appointed last year to the City of Toronto's Diversity Committee for the Homes for the Aged, the mission of which is to prepare a toolkit to be used to make all 10 such Homes a safe environment for GBLT seniors. It will be distributed nationally.

Matt has been President of two national organizations: The Canadian Federation of Music Teachers' Associations (1989 - 1991) and the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives (2003 - 2005). While President of CFMTA, he was able to organize a successful national campaign to exempt private music lessons of the GST and the PST. As President of the CLGA, he was able to find it a permanent home as a gift from the City of Toronto.