When Wayne Davis embarked on his RCMP career in 1965, he was fulfilling a childhood dream that would take him across the country, and eventually, into a dark part of Canada’s history that is often left in the shadows.
From the 1950s to mid-1990s, thousands of LGBT members of RCMP, the Canadian Armed Forces, and Federal Public Services were weeded out through an unspoken policy known as ‘The Purge’. or Davis, it brought a swift end to an 18-year career as a staff sergeant. In fact, homosexuality was illegal in Canada during his first two years with RCMP.
“I was promoted again and moved to Toronto, where my career came to a screeching halt in 1985,” Davis, who was closeted at work at the time, recalled.
“I was called into administration one day, and they said ‘someone saw you in a gay bar. Why were you in a gay bar?’ I guess I could have said I was there with a gay friend- but I was tired and a little bit defiant. I simply said ‘I was in a gay bar because I’m gay.'”
The often abusive and degrading tactics are summarized in a documentary called The Fruit Machine; named for a failed device commissioned to detect homosexuality. Read more via Global News