Our Mission

Sharing the stories of LGBTQ+ murder in our community.

The Gay Village

Toronto is home to The Gay Village, Canada’s largest LGBTQ+ community. Known by some as The Village and the Church/Wellesley Village, it’s nestled in the heart of the downtown core. The Gay Village’s core is where Church Street and Wellesley Street East meet. Church Street is the business core. Small businesses and residences are on adjoining and nearby streets.
 
The Village is packed with queer businesses. They range from strip clubs to Starbucks, from art galleries to dog parks. Hospitals, schools, spas, lawyers, accountants, dentists and physicians are within walking distance. There are steambaths, sex shops, fetish clothing stores and the occasional illegal pot shop.
 
During summer, restaurants, cafés, pubs and clubs open up their patios. Hundreds of people-watchers show up, and once night falls, Church St is full of queens, kings and queers. Yearly Pride and Hallowe’en celebrations bring out thousands of people to the street.
Residents and visitors are tolerant, so the area is a magnet for rough-and-tumble people. Prostitutes, drug addicts and homeless street kids find refuge in The Village.
 
The streets are dirty and lined with used condoms and cigarette butts. There is a weird amount of single shoes to find on lawns and in bushes. People often go missing; rarely do they even get a much as a flyer posted on a utility pole.
 
The spectre of violence hangs heavy in the air. Whether it’s street violence or institutionalized violence, the streets are mean.  Sometimes people go missing. Sometimes people die from overdoses. Sometimes they are murdered.
 
We cover only LGBTQ+ murders on this website, but there are many violent deaths in The Gay Village. 
 
The Gay Village can be a dangerous place.

 

Public Sex & Death

Lots of people have public sex. It’s gay men who often pay the highest price.

Some gay men have public hookups. Even though there are apps, gay men are still out cruising for other men for anonymous sex in public places. A sheltered beach, under a boardwalk, a public restroom or somewhere off the track of a popular park. It happens.

In Toronto, there are still police stings, and gay men are still charged.  Gay men have sex in public places because they are in the closet. Or because it’s a quick way to get off. Or it’s a way to express sexual identity. Or because it’s the thrill of not getting caught (or maybe getting caught by someone who will join in).

For whatever reasons, many gay men have a larger number of casual sexual partners. Sometimes that is in public. But public sex has its risks. From being arrested to HIV infection to, yes, being murdered, there is more risk than anyone bargained for. Here are some murder victims who were killed in public places where there was a sexual overtone:

Trans Victims

“Transgender” is a broad term. Trans people have a gender identity different from the gender they were born with. “Trans” is a shortform for transgender.

When a trans person is murdered, identifying them as trans can be a problem. Sometimes they will called a transvestite, transsexual or transgender person. A person’s gender identity can be hard to get right, especially if they are dead and unable to say for themselves. These things are never set in stone, and they change depending on time, place, context and on who you’re talking to. Sometimes, years after a murder, the deceased will be identified as a different gender.

Gendering a murder victim can be hard, but we have tried our best to be accurate.
 
Many trans victims were sex workers. This makes them vulnerable to violence. Read more about trans sex workers rights before you judge.

Some of the trans people who were murdered are: