The ArQuives Digital Exhibitions

Oral History with Philip McLeod (July 1991)


Dublin Core


Oral History with Philip McLeod (July 1991)


Toronto-based gay liberation activist and community organizer Philip McLeod, interviewed by historian David Churchill in July 1991, at the University of Toronto. The first fifteen minutes of the tape features still shots of gay liberation ephemera filmed by Churchill prior to the interview with McLeod, and shots of the University of Toronto campus.

This is an interview with Philip McLeod, a gay liberationist. In this interview, Mcleod describes his early life. He was born in Montreal in 19XX, the son of Mae Moreash. He was raised in the city's Protestant Infants' Home, where his mother worked. In 1943, Mcleod enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force. Mcleod describes his time in the Second World War, framing the war as a critical juncture in the rise of homoerotic sentiments, but not behaviours, for many men who were conscripted or enlisted.

McLeod discusses his move to Southern Ontario following the war in the early 1950s, where he worked at the Ajax Public Library, Ryerson Polytechnic, the Toronto public school system, the London (Ontario) public library system and eventually for XYZ. He retired in 1982 and resided in Toronto, where he owned a number of houses, which he rented out to supplement his income.

Mcleod recounts the social life of gay men in Toronto at mid-century in some detail. His experience as a professional offers insight into the restrictions that working life placed on cruising. The interview documents the bars, clubs, parks, and neighbourhoods gay men congregated in during the 1950s onwards.

The interview documents various strategies of signification for gay men. McLeod recounts being cruised as a librarian in London, ON public library system, as well as the role bodybuilding periodicals played in gay life at mid-century.

The interview documents McLeod’s own shift in political consciousness following the 1981 police raids on gay bathhouses in Toronto. He offers a discussion of how the coming out process for men coming of age in the 1970s was shaped by the political movements.


Churchill, David;
McLeod, Philip


Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives




Churchill, David (interviewer)
McKinney, Cait (digitizer)


Churchill, David







Hyperlink Item Type Metadata


Churchill, David; McLeod, Philip, “Oral History with Philip McLeod (July 1991),” The ArQuives Digital Exhibitions, accessed December 6, 2023,