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Immoral, Indecent, and Scurrilous
The Making of an Unrepentant Sex Radical

by Gerald Hannon

Immoral, Indecent, and Scurrilous

ISBN: 9781770866027

Format: Trade Paperback w/ Flaps
Size: 6" x 9"


BIO031000 Biography & Autobiography / LGBT

BIO025000 Biography & Autobiography / Editors, Journalists, Publishers

BIO032000 Biography & Autobiography / Social Activists

Price: $24.95


Publication Date: July 16, 2022



“At least by reputation, I am a sex radical: gay activist dating back to the Cretaceous, defender of pedophiles, defender of (and participant in) sex work, sometime porn actor and maker, shameless voyeur (no window is safe if my binoculars are at hand), perpetual sour-puss on the subject of gay marriage. I came of age in the 1960s and ’70s, an era when most of those character traits and activities would have been seen as illegal at worst and shameless at best. Some still are. Others — gay marriage, for example — have switched sides, transitioning from what many people thought of as an unthinkable and illegal travesty to a ritual celebrated in a growing number of jurisdictions, Canada included.”


When eighteen-year-old Gerald Hannon left his small mining community in Marathon, Ontario to attend the University of Toronto, he never would have predicted he’d become part of LGBTQ2S+ history. Almost sixty years later, he reflects on the major moments in his career as a journalist and LGBTQ2S+ activist. From the charges of transmitting immoral, indecent, and scurrilous literature laid against him and his colleagues at The Body Politic to his dismissal from his teaching post at Ryerson University for being a sex worker, this memoir candidly chronicles Hannon’s life as an unrepentant sex radical.


“I don’t agree with everything that Gerald Hannon believes and writes, but this is a perceptive and personal insight into a slice of Canadian history, sexual politics, and media that I can’t imagine anybody else being qualified or able to deliver. A genuinely important and fascinating book.”

— Michael Coren, author of Reclaiming Faith: Inclusion, Grace, and Tolerance

“Besides an intimate view of his own life, loves and outrages, Hannon’s memoir is a cogent insider account of radical gay activism in Toronto beginning in the mid-1970s: the bath house raids, the launch of Gay Pride and the history of The Body Politic collective, the publication where Hannon was a staff photographer, reporter and chronicler of sexual mores.”

-Sandra Martin, Globe and Mail

“Gerald Hannon’s memoir of an ‘unrepentant sex radical’ provides all the Immoral, Indecent, and Scurrilous tales its tempting title promises. As a gay activist, prize-winning journalist, writing instructor, sex worker, and choral and opera singer, Hannon explores the ‘passionate communities’ that comprise his remarkable life. This is one of the best-written accounts of being ‘queer’ that I’ve read in years, and it’s a crucial addition to Canadian LGBTQ2S+ history.”

— Stan Persky, author of Buddys: Meditations on Desire

“Hannon’s memoir is a queer history page-turner. His account of losing his job as journalism teacher when his private life as sex worker exploded into a media sensation should be a case study in journalism programs everywhere. Recalling The Body Politic trials, the bathhouse raids, and dying friends, he turns a welcome spotlight on Toronto’s tumultuous queer activism of the 1970s and 1980s.”

— Jonathan Ned Katz, author of The Daring Life and Dangerous Times of Eve Adams

“Poignant, passionate, and irreverent, Immoral, Indecent and Scurrilous tells the story of one of Canada’s original gay liberationists. It follows Gerald Hannon from a not-so-auspicious childhood in a small town on the shores of Lake Superior to a coming out and of age in Toronto to the forefront of gay activism. Always challenging conventional (hetero)sexual norms, never afraid of arrest, scandal or hot water, the memoire spans a time of cultural, social and sexual upheaval. It is a story of remarkable courage, occasional political naivety, and an abiding commitment to sexual liberation and living life on his own terms.

— Brenda Cossman, Professor of Law and Goodman-Schipper Chair, Faculty of Law and author of The New Sex Wars: Sexual Harm in the #MeToo Era

“Gerald Hannon is a gifted writer who tells his story with penetrating insight, gentle humour, and eye-widening honesty. I didn’t always agree with his sex-radical stances, but always admired his tireless challenge to conventional norms. His writing career included unflinching profiles of notable Canadian personalities, invariably exploring paths no one else would dare. Now, he has done the same with his own remarkable life, extending from altar boy to gay liberation activist, and then much-honoured journalist. Every part of this memoir carries critically important lessons about the meanings of free speech, journalistic integrity, and sexual desire — lessons as important now as ever.”

— David Rayside, Professor Emeritus of Political Science; founding Director of the Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, University of Toronto

“Historians will find this a rich resource as time passes, offering an unflinchingly honest first-hand account of both the pain and joy surrounding the birth of gay liberation in Toronto. But for any reader, now or in the future, this is simply a delightful book, thought-provoking, and also laugh-out-loud funny.”
— Mary Breen, author of Any Kind of Luck at All


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