In August of 1988, David McKinstry wanted to find a gay business peer group. So he advertised a meeting in NOW magazine for gay men to discuss free trade issues.Only one person showed up from the ad, but two previous friends and a friend-of-a-friend made a total of five. The gathering was small but determined. Over the next few months they hosted brunches and recruitment house parties to spread the word.
In January 1989, our group was named the Fraternity from the latin word for brotherhood (Fraternitas). A governing board was established in February, and the Fraternity gained momentum with the goal of promoting “brotherhood, equality and liberty” in a supportive environment. The following month marked the end of meetings at member’s homes, with a move to a local restaurant (Bumpkins). By our first anniversary, our group had 65 members and graduated to the Bond Place Hotel. Over the next four months, membership soared to 125 and we progressed to the Royal York Hotel.
The Fraternity was incorporated as a nonprofit association in 1991. Since that time, the group has seen different bases as we’ve actively negotiated meeting and catering costs. We’ve had many amazing guest speakers, boat cruises, house parties and stunning gala events. Our strong sense of community has encouraged the involvement of members from their early 20’s to their mid-80’s, and at all levels of public awareness of their sexuality. Although the majority of Fraternity members are “out”, we respect that various factors place all of us at different places in our respective journeys.As with any volunteer group, we’re only as strong as the leadership and members involved.
The current board is committed to the continued revitalization of our group. In the past few years, we’ve introduced a new logo, website and weekly E-mail updates. Many other important improvements are also happening in the marketing, administration and provision of high-value member services for our group. Our membership has more than quadrupled, and our equity is stronger than ever. We strongly encourage everyone to become an active participant in this rebirth.
There has never been a more exciting time to be a member of the Fraternity!