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Douglas Wilson was born in 1950 in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan. He received his Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Saskatchewan, with majors in Art and History. He taught public school in Makwa, Saskatchewan, in 1969-1970 and 1973-1974. He did post-graduate work in Educational Foundations at the University of Saskatchewan between 1974 and 1976. During this period, he worked as a sessional lecturer and supervisor of practice teaching for the College of Education.
While living in Saskatoon during the early 1970s, Wilson was actively and visibly involved in the gay liberation movement. He was instrumental in the organization and administration of groups such as the Zodiac Friendship Society (later the Gay Community Centre of Saskatoon) and the Saskatchewan Gay Coalition. The latter organization fought for the human rights of homosexuals in the province, and in the late 1970s, Wilson was the group's leading activist.
On September 22, 1975, Dean J. Kirkpatrick of the College of Education suspended Wilson's work as a supervisor of practice teaching in public schools, on the grounds of Wilson's open admission of his homosexuality and his public involvement in the gay liberation movement. A Committee to Defend Doug Wilson was formed to fight the university's action, and Wilson placed a formal complaint with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission. The inquiry was never held, as the Court of Queen's Bench ruled that sexuality was not covered by The Fair Employment Practices Act.
In 1978, Wilson became the Executive Director of the Saskatchewan Association on Human Rights, a position which he held until 1983. In 1983, he and his partner Peter McGehee moved to Toronto, Ontario where he worked for the Toronto Board of Education's Race Relations office. Wilson became the first openly gay candidate to run in a federal election, when he ran unsuccessfully as the NDP candidate for Rosedale in the 1988 election.
Wilson died in Toronto in 1992.