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Queer History: The Politicos Of It All

(Excerpts from Reg Giles Halifax Story Cycle, Peanut Butter & Jam Sandwich)

by Reg Giles • 2012-06-19

Reg Giles & MickeyGAE/Gala (The Gay Alliance for Equality/Gay and Lesbian Association) was an organization that was bound to be its own destruction. There were too many minds that were bent on their own ways. I'm not saying that the idea was not good or great; there was just too much too deal with under one group.

My whole train of thought during the period (as a GAE member, staff person at both The Turret & Rumours) was that the organization needed money to wage its battles, pay for its lawyers, and other bills. The Turret was the place that I thought had the highest potential for generating income.

There were those in GAE that thought that The Turret Club should remain a drop-in style centre. The Turret became a constant battleground for most of its days and I think the political battle lost a lot of its focus because of the constant infighting.

Some of us were just not interested (physically or mentally) in the raw politics of fighting government. At the time, I felt that was best left to those that understood that arena. One thing I always did know was how to make money. The Turret building was coming up for sale. The GAE membership had to make a decision to either "buy or not to buy" the building.

If I remember correctly, the asking price was 50 to 75 thousand dollars; ironically it sold for 4 or 5 times that price a few years later. The meeting was packed and (in my humble opinion) STACKED! There were the usual debates and it was quite heated. One of the points against buying was that maintenance costs would have been too high. I tried to argue, "What maintenance, we do it all now anyways!"

There were concerns about not being able to use the second floor because of fire codes and liquor codes, but I've always found that there are ways to conform or make adjustments. I had these already mapped out in my mind but the mindset seemed to be, "Reg doesn't know what he's talking about."

Anyhow, the hammer came down and the members voted against buying. I felt that the decision had already been made before the meeting. That was the beginning of the end. Some held a funeral for The Turret; it should have been held for GAE/GALA instead and given a decent, deep burial.