Born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas to Frank Thomas and Julia Ann May McGehee, Peter moved with his family to Little Rock when he was six. He was the second of three children. McGehee played the trombone at Parkview High School in Little Rock where he graduated in 1973. McGehee studied at Southern Methodist University in Dallas before moving to San Francisco to work in theatre where he graduated from the University of San Francisco. While living in San Francisco, he wrote his first play and first comedic musical revue The Quinlan Sisters. That is where he later met Canadian activist Douglas Wilson, who became his partner. He moved to Saskatoon in 1980 to be with Douglas, and subsequently to Toronto in 1982.
He published his first novella, Beyond Happiness in 1985 and premiered his second revue, The Fabulous Sirs in 1987.
In 1988, McGehee and Wilson were both diagnosed HIV-positive. McGehee subsequently wrote two novels, Boys Like Us and Sweetheart, and a book of short stories, The IQ Zoo. Boys Like Us was published in 1991, shortly before McGehee's death of AIDS-related causes; Sweetheart and The IQ Zoo were both published posthumously.
Using notes that McGehee had written in preparation for his third novel, Wilson subsequently wrote Labour of Love before his own death in 1992. That novel was published in 1993.
Peter McGehee was an American-born Canadian novelist, dramatist and short story writer. While living in San Francisco, he met Canadian activist Douglas Wilson, who became his partner. He moved to Saskatoon in 1980 to be with Douglas, and subsequently to Toronto in 1982. In 1988, McGehee and Wilson were both diagnosed HIV-positive. Boys Like Us was published in 1991, shortly before McGehee's death. Using notes that McGehee had written, Wilson wrote Labour of Love before his own death in 1992.
Peter McGehee - AIDS quilt
Douglas Wilson (1950 - September 24, 1992) was a Canadian gay activist, graduate student, publisher and writer born in Saskatchewan. In 1975, he gained prominence in a fight for gay rights with the University of Saskatchewan. The University's Dean of the College of Education refused to allow Wilson into the school system to supervise practice teachers because of his public involvement with the gay liberation movement. Wilson was vice-president of the Gay Community Centre Saskatoon and had been trying to start a gay academic union at the university. The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission failed to protect Wilson and his case was unsuccessful.
Wilson spent most of his life fighting for human rights issues, activism and AIDS organizations. In 1977 he founded Stubblejumper Press, a small publishing house dedicated to works by Canadian lesbians and gay men. He served as executive director of the Saskatchewan Association on Human Rights from 1978 to 1983. In 1983 Wilson moved to Toronto to work for the Toronto Board of Education as an advisor to the Race Relations and Equal Opportunity Office. In 1984 he became one of the founding publishers of Rites: for lesbian and gay liberation.
Wilson was the first openly gay candidate to be nominated by a major political party to stand for Parliament, as a candidate of the New Democratic Party in the Toronto riding of Rosedale in the 1988 election. During the campaign he was diagnosed with AIDS. He spent the rest of his life as an AIDS activist, helping to found AIDS Action Now! and founding chairperson of the Canadian Network of Organizations for People Living With AIDS. Wilson published his partner Peter McGehee's novels, Boys Like Us (1991) and Sweetheart (1992). One month before his death, he completed McGehee's notes of his third novel, Labour of Love (1993). Wilson died on September 24, 1992 at the age of 42.
Doug Wilson - AIDS Quilt
In 1995 the University of Saskatchewan's gay organization (Gays and Lesbians at the U of S, GLUS) established the Doug Wilson Award, given annually to honour those individuals who have shown leadership and courage in advancing the rights of gays & lesbians at the University of Saskatchewan. The University of Saskatchewan Students' Union (USSU) has presented the award since 2001, after GLUS folded following the establishment of the USSU-run Pride Centre.
In March 2009, Stubblejumper, a film about Doug Wilson was screened in venues across Saskatchewan. It was directed by Saskatchewan filmmaker David Geiss.
Further Readings :
Boys Like Us (Stonewall Inn Editions) by Peter McGehee
Paperback: 168 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (February 15, 1992)
Amazon: Boys Like Us (Stonewall Inn Editions)
Zero left Arkansas for the cool, contemporary tones of gay life in Toronto. Now his best friend has been diagnosed with AIDS, and in the midst of trying to organize a support group, Zero is called home to attend his mother's second marriage. Funny and bittersweet, Zero's adventures suggest that, although God is unfathomable, she must at least have a sense of humor.
Sweetheart by Peter McGehee
Publisher: St Martins Pr (June 1993)
In Boys Like Us, McGehee introduced a wonderfully zany cast of characters living in Toronto, all friends and ex-lovers of Zero McNoo, a gay man from Arkansas. Now one year later, Zero struggles with sex, love, family, politics, and friendship in the age of AIDS. "Full of tangy dialogue and wacky situations."--Booklist.
Labour Of Love by Doug Wilson & Peter McGehee
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: St Martins Pr (December 1994)
Amazon: Labour Of Love
Characters from Peter McGehee's two novels ( Boys Like Us and Sweetheart ) return courtesy of Wilson, the author's lover, who picks up the story where McGehee left it when he died in 1991. The result, while clearly the work of a different hand, is a warmly observed work about a gay couple's bravery in the face of a messy and protracted death from AIDS. Zero MacNoo, the narrator of the previous two books, is now the central character of a story set in Toronto, but this time the narrative voice belongs to his lover David, who, though he too has AIDS, nonetheless takes on the grim stewardship of Zero's death. Prominently featured in the story are "the Burmuda Triangle" (the lesbian menage a trois who live upstairs), Zero's difficult, alcoholic mother and a socialist transvestite named Searcy, whose high spirits and victory over fag-bashers give the story its lightest moments. Wilson, who passed away in 1992 shortly after completing the manuscript, deserves only praise for this dignified, loving and eminently readable tale. This novel should not be limited to readers of gay-oriented fiction; it is a universal testament to the sustaining power of art.
More LGBT Couples at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance
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