“A Queer Trial”

The Society promoted this event put on by the UVIC Office of Community-University Engagement. “A Queer Trial“, written by University of Victoria professor Dr. Jennifer Wise, celebrates the sensational trial of an unsung hero of Victoria’s gay history—on the very site where the trial took place, Bastion Square.

The play tells the real-life story of John Butt, an openly gay man who in 1860 was acquitted of sodomy charges by two successive juries—the first of which preferred to spend a night in jail themselves sooner than agree on a conviction.  One of the jurors in the second trial (that also acquitted Butt) was Peter Lester, one of BC’s early pioneers, real estate investor and a business partner of Mifflin Gibbs.

We’re going to be taking this beautiful message of tolerance and humanity right into the heart of the community.” says Wise. “As we celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary this year, this play highlights an important part of our history and reminds us about how essential this message of tolerance is in our world today.” Jennifer Wise