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  • 1900-1920 (Creation)
    Alan Lee, John 1933-2013

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John Alan Lee (1933-2013) was professor of sociology at the University of Toronto, Scarborough. Prior to his academic career, Lee was a labour organizer, journalist and educator.

Lee was born on August 24, 1933 in Maxville, Ontario. Lee received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto (1956) and his PhD. from the University of Sussex (1971). In 1971 he became a U of T faculty member, where he worked until his retirement in 1999.

Lee was one of the first professional Canadian's to come out in public, he did so on TVOntario's 'The Judy LaMarsh Show' in 1974, after a decade of working as an undercover gay activist, where he wrote to protest discriminatory depictions of the LGBT community members. Lee was actively involved in a gay sit-in at the Ontario Attorney General's office, as well as a gay kiss-in in the Ontario Legislature. In 1975 he was the inaugural chair of the Gay Academic Union, and elected chair of the Right to Privacy Committee after the 1981 Toronto bathhouse raids.

Lee wrote extensively throughout his life publishing 300 articles and books, including: Colours of Love: An Exploration of the Ways of Loving (1973); Getting Sex: A New Approach (1978); RCMP vs. The People: Inside Canada’s Security Service (1979); and Gay Midlife and Maturity (1991). In 2004, Lee published his autobiography on consisting of 26 chapters. Over the next 8 years Lee added six additional chapters, two appendices and a bibliography of his publications.

Along with his LGBT activism he also advocated for multiple organizations and causes, including socialist groups, trade unions, anti-war movements, Amnesty International, the Sierra Club, and in later life he became an advocate for the right-to-die movement and helped found the organization Dying with Dignity.

In 2005 Lee was inducted into the CLGA's National Portrait Collection. He fathered two children.

Lee chose to end his life on December 5, 2013 in Toronto.

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