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1974- The Brunswick Four – Forging a movement!

January 27, 2010
Adrienne Potts, Pat Murphy, Sue Wells & Heather Byers

Adrienne Potts, Pat Murphy, Sue Wells & Heather Byers pictured above were the four women violently removed by the police from the Brunswick Tavern. Their story mobilized and inspired members of the LGBTQ community in Toronto to unite and stand up against the social injustices faced by members of this community in Toronto. Photo uncredited, taken from http://www.rbebout.com/bar/1974.htm.

On January 5, 1974 four women, Adrienne Potts, Pat Murphy, Sue Wells and Heather Beyer went to the Brunswick Tavern located on Bloor St. W. in Toronto for amateur night. They composed and sang a song called “I Enjoy Being a Dyke.” They were then dragged out of the tavern and verbally harassed by the police. They were not given their right to an attorney and were asked to leave the police station. When they refused, the police forcibly ejected them from the station causing injury to Adrienne Potts. The four women returned to the tavern to collect information from witnesses and were again ejected from the bar by police and this time charged with causing a disturbance.

Once the Toronto community was aware of these events a public meeting was called and a defense fund was created to support the four women and this event also mobilized and united the LBBTQ community in Toronto to stand up to police brutality and injustice.

This event marks a radical change in the history of the LGBTQ community in Canada. This event marks a pivotal moment in the history of LGBTQ action in Canada and inspired many members of the community to mobilize against police harassment and discrimination and the story of the Brunswick Four inspired a strong movement for gay liberation in Canada.

“I have heard that I was courageous. In retrospect, and in the present, it has always been an issue of basic survival – physical, emotional and spiritual. Maintaining one’s own integrity and a desire to positively influence the present societal circumstances in which I find myself and others.”

-Pat Murphy

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