Name: "Joy of Gay Sex" in Canada

Date:  1985 - 1995

Location:  North America

SubjectSexual/Gender Orientation , Explicit Sexuality


Artist: Dr. Charles Silverstein and Edmund White

Confronting Bodies: Canadian Customs and Toronto Police

Date of Action: 1985

Specific Location

Description of Artwork: '"'The Joy of Gay Sex' contains just about everything one needs to know about being gay. It is straightforward and illustrated and designed like the others in the series - 'The Joy of Sex,' 'More Joy of Sex,' and 'The Joy of Lesbian Sex.'"

Description of Incident: Two Toronto police officers citing a customs ban were able to have the book removed from virtually every bookstore in Canada. Glad Day Bookstore in Toronto appealed the action. The deputy minister of customs turned down this appeal, ruling that the book's depictions and illustrations of anal sex make it obscene. At the time, the book did not appear on the monthly Canadian customs list of over 3000 titles which were denied entry to Canada.

Results of Incident: More and more magazines sold at Glad Day Bookshop are missing whole sections, and any pictures depicting anal intercourse have a large black dot covering the offending act. Guidelines have been instituted by the federal justice department concerning importable materials. "Depictions of incest, bestiality, necrophilia, and sexual relations involving children or juveniles are prohibited. So are depictions of sexual acts which 'appear to degrade or dehumanize any of the participants' and 'portrayals and descriptions of the act of buggery.'" In most cases of appeal, "the deputy minister confirms the original ruling and the vast majority of the 12,000 books, periodicals, comic books, films, videotapes, records, laser disks, audio cassettes, and pamphlets that are each year declared obscene stay that way."

Source: "NOW", May 22, 1986

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