Love's Gay Fool. Autobiography of John Alan Lee.


About the Author

Portrait of John Alan Lee.

John Alan Lee is a retired professor of sociology (University of Toronto), but did not earn his PhD and begin teaching until age 37. His prior careers include factory labour, where he became a full-time trade-union officer, journalism, and adult education. He has been a socialist since age 17, and was the first Canadian university student to visit the new Communist China, in 1956. He has lived fifteen years in communes.

Lee was totally heterosexual when he married in 1958, but slowly became attracted to men. He informed his wife (still a close friend to this day) and became a gay activist. He is the first Canadian academic to go public, on TV (1974).

He has run for office in Canada’s Parliament, and served on the executive of many organizations including trade union and socialist groups, anti-war movements, the Canadian Sierra Club, and local Amnesty International. The first Canadian Gay Academic Union was formed in his home in 1975. A Quaker, he has civil disobedience training, and organized a successful gay sit-in of the chief law officer of Ontario, and a gay Kiss-in in the Ontario Legislature. He has published nine books and more than three hundred articles, and has appeared more than fifty times on television.

In personal life, Lee follows the advice of the ancient Greek poet, Homer: “Let love be the business of our lives.” Since 30, he has lived with gay partners in relationships ranging from 6 months to 14 years, for a total of 32 years. After losing his longterm partner in 1991, he began dating again, and probably holds a world record in advertising and blind dating: 1350 replies to ads screened by phone, and 271 men met in blind dates. His efforts resulted in 30 affairs ranging from a few weeks to two years, but in 2003 he is single again – and still advertising.

His gay relationships have ranged from blissful to traumatic. He’s the only gay lover ever to be publicly scandalized in Toronto by an enraged “ex” – who circulated thousands of flyers in the “gay village” warning others not to date him! He is also the only professor in the 175-year history of U of T to inspire an entire class to successfully boycott their final exam (on the grounds that such exams inaccurately test student ability). The fact is, Lee enjoys collecting "firsts" in various kinds of civilized notoriety!

Discretion advised: Lee’s story contains explicit sexual details which may offend some persons.


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