In Memoriam: Trevor Jacques

This remembrance of Trevor is a joint effort by Colin Lawrence, Sabrina Olender, Nancy Irwin and me, Steve Munro.

We invite readers to leave their own memories via the comments section. These are moderated and will usually appear publicly in short order.


Pride 2009 – Photo credit: Toronto Sun

On May 22, Trevor Jacques died of a heart attack at the age of 64.

He was predeceased by his parents Roland and Marie-Louise (YouYou) of whom he was particularly fond, and is survived by siblings Gerald, Jacqueline and John, and many other relatives.

Trevor was born in England and moved to Canada in 1981.

Trevor had two families: his birth family in England and Belgium, and his adopted family among Toronto’s LGBT and leather SM community including his partner, Colin Lawrence.

His degree in Physics from the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London only hinted at the career to follow. It included field seismology, avionics, infra-red sensing, computer systems engineering, database marketing, and authoring a web-based survey creation tool. At his death, he was Chief Information Officer for a Toronto fitness equipment manufacturer.

Trevor was an avid outdoorsman. His website included the line “If I’m not home, you’ll likely find me on water, on blades, or on skis.” Cycling was another passion, and at the end he was riding through the University of Toronto grounds clad as was his wont in black super short shorts, flip flops and a wee t-shirt.

And his Apple watch. For years, Trevor mocked those who were slaves to their phones, but Apple won out.

Classical music was another love, although that ebbed for composers much past the mid-19th century. At concerts, opera and ballet, Trevor could be found in leather with ostentation matching the occasion. One memorable Dancers for Life gala saw him sporting a metal studded cod-piece to the surprise and delight of many in the house. For occasions such as Pride, he would sport rather less.

Trevor played a major role in Toronto’s gay leather community. During the early years of the AIDS crisis, a major concern was how SM play could be done safely. Collectively Trevor, the late Dr. Dale McCarthy, Mike Hamilton and “Sniffer”, hatched the idea of a health and safety seminar for SM players over drinks at The Toolbox, then a well-known watering hole on Eastern Ave.

These original four volunteers, known as the FourSM, first presented the seminar nine months later. This became Toronto’s Safer SM Education project, part of ACT’s Talking Sex project. It was the longest running of all Aids Committee of Toronto’s projects, making it to more than 14 years.

The seminars were designed for the gay male community, but in time audiences grew to a wider range as interest in SM play grew beyond its closeted origins.

The FourSM put their seminar knowledge into print with On The Safe Edge: A Manual for SM Play.

Illustration by Geoff Simpson

A pamphlet on SM safety started out as a simple foldout but grew over the years to a glossy 40 pages with editorial work from Trevor and many others.

Trevor was twice honoured with the Pantheon of Leather award for the Canadian Region. In November, 2000, he was presented with the Francis Robichaud Memorial award for long-time service by a member of the leather community to the gay and lesbian community. In 2002, Trevor received a volunteer award for his many years of service to ACT.

Trevor’s kitchen had a prodigious stash of tea, much obtained from Fortnum & Mason’s on his trips back home. His forté, however, was chocolate truffles produced in a dazzling array of flavours for the year end holidays. His annual fête would have been a grand post-pandemic celebration.

A celebration of Trevor’s life will be arranged when circumstances permit.

Trevor and his truffles will be sorely missed.



Out On The Town: Enroute to the Northbound Leather Bash 2017

Pride 2009


Colin Remembers

It is so overwhelming that Trevor is gone, but I am also buoyed by the impact he obviously had on so many lives. This wasn’t supposed to go live until Saturday morning, but through a slight miscue it spread through the community like wildfire. How wonderful.

I will miss all the actions and conversations I was hoping to have with him that are no longer possible. And will revel at the horizon this man created for me. He took risks for me and my growth that changed my life forever. And for that I will always adore him.

I love you Trevor

Colin Lawrence


Sabrina Remembers

I had first met Trevor briefly, some 15 or more years ago, in and around the Ms. Black Eagle contest here in Toronto. I met him again years later in a much more significant way, at one of the Northbound meet n greet events, 8 years ago. Trevor quickly became part of our family. He was a generous, fun-loving and horizon-opening partner to Colin and quickly became a good friend to me. 

Trevor was always quick to smile, and quick to mischief! And every time I think of Trevor I of course also think of his truffles and related truffle parties, which I immensely enjoyed. Trevor had such a wide and varied social circle! I was always meeting someone new and interesting through him.

I am honored to have known him and to have had him as part of our family and am deeply saddened that our time with him was so brief.


Thank you for bringing such light to us Trevor. You are greatly missed.
~ Sabrina


Nancy Remembers

I first met Trevor at a workshop at Ryerson University. There were straight jackets involved. My girlfriend at the time went up front to try one on. That was 1992, and the scene in Toronto was flourishing in an underground way. The Betty Page Social Club had already begun in 1989.

Years later I attended and then was asked to join the Safer SM Education Project that did maybe 8 full day sessions a year. Fact was, they needed a woman. By then I was on par with Steve and Trevor, comfortable enough with our kinks to be sharing information.

I had co-founded the SM Women’s Discussion Group in 1999 and we were having parties. We often co-ordinated with those Safer SM events that, by then, had moved to the Manulife building’s party room. He was brave to host those very kinky workshops in the place where he lived. He was not in the closet! And he delighted in wearing his fetish outfits in the elevator or on the street.

He was overjoyed when our practices no longer had us listed in the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM as mentally deranged. Like losing that status as queer here in 1969, these changes happened in his lifetime. It took many like Trevor to make those changes.

It happens with queer and kinky folk that we end up crossing all sorts of social divides because we are a minority within a minority. Just being queer used to be enough to bring people from all walks of life together. Queers met at a bar or a party. Kinky queers dared enter a leather bar or a dungeon party.

Trevor and I came from very different backgrounds. But that did not stop us from debating on so many levels, covering subjects that could have easily had us walk away. Instead, we challenged and educated each other.

I felt a certain joy when it was he who sent me an article on racism. Ever since BLM stopped the Pride Parade in 2016 we had been defending our stands. It was only a couple of months ago when I thought, wow, he learned. I was so pleased. And this is the man who told me that the education system had failed me. Took me two decades to understand. But it did not take that long to know I had a chosen brother.

He indulged me in window shopping around Yorkville, looking at high heel shoes! We met for tea. We bicycled and roller bladed together. Skied. And we spent countless hours trouble shooting his system that hosted my email. It kept us connected if all else failed!!!

Gone are the days I would call him from my warehouse to his Ivory Tower to ask what the weather was like, and he would tell me what people were wearing so I would not have to climb back up 5 flights of stairs. Lately, he sent me photos of sunsets. Now what?

I am grateful for his speedy exit, sudden and painless. Bravo! But those of us left behind have a hole that will not be filled. Just last week I texted, asking what those little bears were called … and he said Tele-Tubbies. Right. Those of us at that MLT dance will recall that scandal!!!

Trevor, you will be forever missed – in my lifetime and beyond. Your activism changed our world!


Steve Remembers

Trevor’s path crossed mine back at the outset of the SaferSM series when a friend invited me to attend. Not long after, as a volunteer, I turned into something of a House Manager and willing demo model for sessions.

But for me, Trevor was not just about the leather scene and SM workshops. He was also someone with overlapping interests in the arts, technology and politics. Our conversations would wander through many threads, and already I have bumped into “I should talk to Trevor about that”, only to remember his absence.

The idea that play could be, should be fun, hit a high point during one workshop when we presented a highly modified version of the ten plagues in a decidedly non-Biblical context. As the hapless Pharaoh, all ten were visited upon me. The things we do to serve our community!

The Ten Plagues

  1. Darkness [blindfold]
  2. A plague of frog [a toy frog that croaked when squeezed used as a gag]
  3. A swarm of gnats [pinching and pulling of hair]
  4. A swarm of flies [clips modified to have small cardboard bugs on them]
  5. Dead cattle [floggers and rubber chicken]
  6. Boils [cupping]
  7. Lightning [violet wand]
  8. Locusts [threatened shaving]
  9. Blood [the plague of condiments]
  10. Death [mummification of the Pharaoh with condiment preservation]

Grey Poupon mustard of course!

This site exists as my personal blog, and from 1996 to 2014, it was hosted on Trevor’s small server farm. Now I am returning the favour.


5 thoughts on “In Memoriam: Trevor Jacques

  1. Trevor was the first person I met over 20 yrs ago at the door when I found the Safer SM seminars in Toronto. His wide smile and dancing eyes instantly set me at ease as it was the first one I had attended that was organized for topics that were truly edge play at a time when kink was still very marginalized. The topics they were presenting were much more advanced than anything I had ever seen before.

    I’ve always been a nerd about education. Finding this series helped my own growth as a Dom and set a very high standard for me personally and professionally.

    In fact it was Trevor that encouraged my own writing and workshop career. He felt casting a net as wide and far as possible would help with the growth of kink education.

    He was a valuable resource for education but more than that I considered him a fantastic mentor and friend.

    We would chat at length over many topics and I was thrilled to hear of his adventures in the Arctic, seeing the remains of the HMS Terror soon after its discovery. What a chance to see something so legendary!

    It’s with both a heavy heart that I learned of his passing, yet joy filled my heart knowing him, his humor and that he passed doing something he loved.

    We should all be so lucky.

    Sincerely,
    Morpheous

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  2. It would have been 36 years ago this summer when I first met Trevor. I was new to the city. I had just moved to Toronto from NYC and had answered a Globe and Mail ad “roommate wanted” – little did I know then how our lives would continue to have so many touch points both personally and professionally. I spent the next two years as Trevor’s roommate and had the pleasure of being brought into his eclectic and fun loving circle of friends.

    One of my early memories of Trevor was just how particular and fastidious he was. As some of you may remember Trevor was an All-Star when it came to stacking dishes in the dishwasher and never one to hide his light under a bushel he would from time to time remind me how my talents in that area needed a little tweaking. So to this day – I must confess – all I know about stacking a dishwasher I learnt from those early days at 44 Charles Street West. Just one of many things I learnt from that quirky yet loveable man with the omnipresent pair of trademark leather pants. Trevor was bold and unapologetic and I will miss him dearly.

    As many of you knew, Trevor was passionate about computers and Apple products in particular. So many years later, when I was looking for someone who could assist with our companies’ software design needs, I did not have to look too far. His contributions to our company are everlasting, and his dedication immense right up to the present. I owe him a debt of gratitude.

    This is a memory shared with me by one of our work colleagues – Judith Saul.

    “One of my favorite stories about Trevor took place well before we had a web or IT dept and he offered to teach me how to build a website. He and I used the computer in Lindsay’s office as Lindsay hovered nearby. As he explained things, he often repeated “You can do this, it’s not rocket science. You can absolutely do this Jude, it’s not rocket science”. At one point I asked Trevor what his background was. He responded that he had been a nuclear physicist and worked for NASA. He WAS a rocket scientist. I looked at Lindsay, “I rest my case” was all I could say.”
     
    I believe I can also speak for all of us when I say we will certainly miss his gifts of homemade truffles at Christmas.
     
    RIP dear Trevor. Cycle free in heaven.

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  3. I first met Trevor when he was leading workshops at Ryerson. In time, when the workshops moved to the Manulife building, I got to know Trevor better. I was one of many others who volunteered to make the workshops more inclusive – it was a wonderful experience for which I am still to this day incredibly grateful.

    I grieve the loss of a man whose infinite grace and kindness helped me through an exceedingly difficult time in my life. He was steadfast, making me countless cups of tea (from his Fortnum and Mason collection); we discussed and argued about many things. How else could it be? We were from vastly different backgrounds and there were occasions when our respective opinions were leagues apart. That said, we always talked things through; there was always a willingness to listen, to engage in discourse. Regardless of the outcome I always came away learning something more about his perspective and a bit more about Trevor.

    Years have passed since we had one of those vigorous discussions but time has never altered the profound gratitude in my heart for his kindness. I miss you dear Trevor. To my mind you lived your life without apology, with grace, humour, tenacity and always kindness.

    Adieu mon ami. You are much loved.

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  4. Just a private remembrance of dear Trevor… I met him when we both worked at Spar Aeroplane in the 1980s. He was not really “out” at work, but he loved to sneak off windsurfing when the waves were crashing. .. he became a good frIend and introduced me to so many teas…!! I helped with the books and the pride guides and he took me, a straight white female along with him to many events. Broadening my education! We both loved classical music and ballet and had seasons tickets with Gilles and Ken. Trevor always had space on his couch for me when I returned to Toronto (I now live in New Zealand). I have so many lovely memories. We talked last in about January. Please, can anyone tell me if he was riding alone when the event occurred? I am glad to know this news but so saddened. I have lost a good friend. But I am so glad that he got to exit in this fast and hopefully painless way. Arohanui Trevor…

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  5. I was Trevor’s hairdresser for about 37 years. We first met while I worked at the Vidal Sassoon. I always look forward to seeing him and hearing about his adventures. His stimulating mind and his loving heart I will forever miss and remember. I wish you peace and love.

    Eliza

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