Canada to memorialize LGBT victims of Cold War-era ‘gay purge’

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05/10/2020

Todd Ross was a naval combat information operator on the HMCS Saskatchewan in 1989 when he was called out over the public address system, escorted off the destroyer by officers and told he was the subject of an espionage probe. Over the next 18 months, Ross was given six polygraph tests and interrogated about his sexual orientation and loyalty to Canada. Eventually, he broke down. Facing a two-way mirror, he admitted to a stranger what he had not yet told some close confidants. “Yes,” Ross said. “I’m gay.” The 21-year-old seaman was given an ultimatum: Accept an honorable discharge or lose his security clearance, effectively extinguishing any prospect of career advancement. He chose the discharge and returned home to New Brunswick, where only a few years earlier he’d been named the province’s top army cadet.

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