Gay activist, educationalist and writer, Bernard Courte, was raised in Weir, Quebec, where he was told to ‘speak white’. Bernard learned English out of necessity. This and an early traumatic experience with homophobia—the infamous 1977 raid on Truxx bar in Montreal—were defining elements in his life. As an adult, he fought tenaciously for the French language and for lesbian and gay rights, marching, writing, and speaking with an infectious enthusiasm and dynamic energy.
Courte’s first involvement with political activism was with the Association pour les Droits des Gais du Quebec where he gained experience as a writer for its paper, Le Berdache. In 1982 he moved to the new monthly, Sortie, which he soon edited. An early champion of AIDS awareness in Quebec, he wrote numerous articles on this issue for Sortie and RG, and also appeared frequently on radio and television.
A recognized expert in language and education, Courte taught English as a second language in Quebec and worked for the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education in Toronto from 1986. Here he focused on AIDS, education, and rights for Franco-Ontarians. He wrote frequently for educational and francophone journals, penned a column for Sortie until it folded and then for Xtra!.
As his health began to decline, Courte seemed to pick up speed. In 1988 he created a francophone section within the new advocacy group, AIDS Action Now! and initiated the translation of its AIDS treatment data newsletter. He also started a French-language index of medical data relating to AIDS treatment, a resource unique in North America. He helped found a francophone AIDS support group in Toronto, organized safe-sex workshops, and was involved with nine AIDS conferences in six years.
Bernard died of complications from AIDS in Toronto on 19 October 1991. (2003 Induction Statement)
Militant gai, animateur et écrivain, Bernard Courte a grandi à Weir (Québec) où on il se faisait dire ” Speak White “. Il a appris l’anglais par nécessité. Cette expérience et celle de l’…