Jim Egan was an important part of the history of human rights in Canadian history. Born in Toronto, Ontario, he is considered Canada’s very first LGBTQ activist. He met his life partner, Jack Nesbit in 1948.

Starting in the late 1940s, Jim Egan proceeded to write hundreds of letters and articles for magazines and newspapers. His content focused on the portrayal of gay and lesbian in the media and their inaccuracies of them. He also advocated for equal rights and fair treatment of gays and lesbians under the law.

In 1986, Egan was retired and was able to collect from the Canada Pension Plan and applied for spousal benefits for his partner. After the request was denied, the pair took the case to the courts, and the case even reached the Supreme Court of Canada in 1994. They would lose the case, but the courts did rule unanimously to add sexual orientation as a prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which was a gigantic win for the LGBTQ community.

One man took up a stand against injustice and wanted better for the world. He strove to break barriers and create awareness about the struggles of gay and lesbian people in a time it was dangerous to be who you are. The incredible strength shown by these two men has paved the way for millions not only in Canada but also the world!