Canada | Gay Slurs | News | Vancouver

Vancouver High School Apologizes to Man Taunted for 42 Years by 'Fag' Slur in His Yearbook: VIDEO


A Vancouver-area high school has sent a letter of apology and promised a face-to-face one to a man taunted by a printed anti-gay slur for 42 years, the CBC reports:

“I am writing to formally provide you with a sincere apology on behalf of the entire North Vancouver School District,” says a letter sent to Robin Tomlin on Oct. 4 and signed by John Lewis, the district’s superintendent of schools.

Tomlin says he's been haunted for years after his high school yearbook committee printed the word "fag" next to his picture in the 1970 Argyle Secondary School yearbook.

Tomlin isn't gay, but he says the slur stuck and he was badly bullied in school. He says he was even too afraid to go to his school prom for fear of being beaten up and eventually moved out of the area to start a new life.

"Well it made me feel like the whole school thought that," he said.

Watch the CBC's report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Feed This post's comment feed


  1. Is this a joke?

    Posted by: Matthew | Oct 5, 2012 11:36:41 AM

  2. Wow -- I can't believe the school administrator said that it was a difficult situation. What's so hard about saying they were wrong, particularly since it was well before her time? Wanting him to sign a legal document was unacceptable. I hope the in-person apology includes some explanation of how they'll keep something like this from happening again.

    Posted by: Tom | Oct 5, 2012 11:46:09 AM

  3. Brutal. And school administrators have got to be some of the biggest D-bags on the planet.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Oct 5, 2012 12:04:08 PM

  4. This is Canadia of all places. They are usually so gosh darn nice up there.

    Posted by: Madison | Oct 5, 2012 12:11:18 PM

  5. @Madison,

    I'm afraid that's a myth, Madison. Ironically, the friendliest people I've encountered are in the Bible Belt south. A lot of it may be passive aggressive friendliness, but it would be overly cynical to say this was solely the case. I think many southerners are genuinely friendly and nice people, if obsessed with religion. Canadians by comparison, on a personal level, are often frigid. No pun intended.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Oct 5, 2012 12:23:56 PM

  6. WTF? I don't even see how that would have been acceptable in 1970. Not that homophobia wasn't more acceptable, but that a slur like that would be printed in the official school yearbook.

    And the department of education was clearly more interested in covering their @ss than anything else. Good for Mr Tomlin or his daughter taking it to the media and MAKING them finally address it. As the saying goes, sunlight is the best disinfectant.

    Posted by: Caliban | Oct 5, 2012 12:24:41 PM

  7. Well, if Ratbastard says it is so, than it must be true!

    Posted by: BEE BEE | Oct 5, 2012 12:32:31 PM

  8. The BC equivalent of 'Minnesota Nice'...a smile on their face when they talk to you...but nothing but bigots behind your back.

    Posted by: chuck | Oct 5, 2012 12:33:07 PM

  9. @RATBASTARD You're hanging out with the wrong Canadians. I was on the east coast of Canada this past summer - Nova Scotia, PEI and Newfoundland - and I don't think I encountered one unfriendly person. They were all so nice that they made me almost want to be nice in return. :)

    Posted by: Gigi | Oct 5, 2012 1:31:09 PM

  10. I'm surprised none of the comments are talking about the amount of hate his classmates had within them to do something like that. The sheer venom of what they put in that yearbook and the nastiness it took for them to do it (especially in 1970 when that slur was rarely… RARELY used in movies and TV like it is today) was beyond sick.

    Posted by: What it took to happen | Oct 5, 2012 1:40:31 PM

  11. Shame on that school board. This isn't difficult to address, unless you want to censor the guy.

    I hope he gets that apology in person, and they also apologize for dragging this out so long, instead of just apologizing when asked.

    What is wrong with those people?

    Posted by: Randy | Oct 5, 2012 5:41:12 PM

  12. Madison, have you been to Canada for more than a few days? Contrary to popular belief, Canada has A LOT of homophobia even though they have gay marriage. This story doesn't surprise me one bit.

    Posted by: What's new? | Oct 5, 2012 6:16:49 PM

  13. Why didn't he sue? Perfect defamation case.

    Posted by: anon | Oct 5, 2012 6:39:44 PM

  14. @WHAT'S NEW: so does any place you go. Last time I checked the US was not a gay paradise. If it was, your political system wouldn't use it as a wedge issue. Every country has their bigots.

    Posted by: BILLY | Oct 5, 2012 8:39:00 PM

  15. @Billy But the US has 311 MILLION people in it; Canada doesn't even have a population of 35 million, yet we hear story after story of homophobia and gay bashings there. For such a small population, the amount of homophobia there is scary.

    Posted by: What's new? | Oct 6, 2012 12:07:40 AM

  16. But Little Kiwi is a Canadian and he's so enormously gay it, in effect, doubles the number of gay Canucks, which should make them (him) a potent force for tolerance...or, er, is it the other way around? For myself, I go to Canada a lot and just stay in the closet so I don't get slapped around by the loggers and hockey players.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Oct 6, 2012 1:26:06 AM

  17. @WHAT'S NEW: story after story? As if! Where are you getting your facts? Granted, you are going to run into homophobes anywhere, but you make it sound like the country is majority homophobic. Get real. Let's review:

    Nationwide Gay Marriage:

    Canada 1 USA 0

    Nationwide anti-discrimination laws based on sexuality:

    Canada 1 USA 0

    Nationwide adoption by same sex couples:

    Canada 1 USA 0

    Gays allowed to serve in the military:

    Canada: Since 1992 USA: 2011

    Posted by: BILLY | Oct 6, 2012 3:39:02 AM

  18. Billy's got this one right. Plus there's one more alarming statistic:

    5 USA teens die by suicide EVERY day.
    In Canada, the death rate is about one unlucky soul every other day.

    Posted by: TruthSeeker_Two | Oct 6, 2012 4:14:53 AM

  19. Hello??? Can you not read??? The USA is over 9x the population of Canada. Of course suicide rates are going to be higher here.

    And Billy, yes it's nice your government has done so well as far as equal/legal rights are concerned, but it doesn't change the fact that Canadians are very homophobic.

    Posted by: What's New? | Oct 6, 2012 6:07:13 AM

  20. @GiGi,

    I have family in Nova Scotia. You're right, they're good people. I'm referring more to the urban areas where mot people live. There is NO DIFFERENCE between an average Canadian and and average America, all thing being equal.


    @Truth Seeker,

    USA = 320 million people
    Canada = 35 million


    Posted by: ratbatard | Oct 6, 2012 10:53:26 AM

  21. @RATBASTARD: no one is disagreeing with that. But "What's New" is making it sound like the country as a whole are all a bunch of homophobes and that isn't true. They have advanced much further along in terms of LGBT laws and wouldn't have gotten that far if the country was a bunch of bigots as he likes to think. Meanwhile, in his own country.....

    Posted by: BILLY | Oct 6, 2012 12:58:19 PM

  22. BTW gay marriage came into effect in 2003. Once the Conservatives got a majority government recently they could have easily repealed it (you know, since the country is all homophobic). But no, they said it has been dealt with and is a non-issue. That's coming from a Conservative government and a country of homophobes (according to What's New).

    Posted by: BILLY | Oct 6, 2012 1:09:44 PM

  23. and it took them 42 years to apologise..thats 42 years too late sorry.

    Posted by: Jamie | Oct 6, 2012 5:17:37 PM

  24. There is no doubt that printing the slur was a mean spirited thing to do. If he is still thinking about it a lifetime later (42years) he should grow up. Its long over. It shouldn't be even on his radar.

    Posted by: andrew | Oct 6, 2012 11:01:35 PM

  25. Andrew, I hope that he's gotten over it for the most part, but it's ridiculous to think that he'd ever forget it, nor should he forget it.

    And you know who else should apologize to him besides the school administration? His classmates. I hope they haven't forgotten, that they're ashamed and that they've done something to atone for their hatefulness.

    Posted by: David Lauri | Oct 7, 2012 12:55:39 AM

  26. 1 2 »

Post a comment


« «Tom Ford and Partner Richard Buckley Welcome a Son« «