Dying man seeks apology for anti-gay slur in his 1970 high school yearbook

Robin Tomlin haunted for decades after he was described as 'fag'

Dying man seeks apology for anti-gay slur in his 1970 high school yearbook
04 October 2012

Robin Tomlin is dying of liver cancer but wants some closure on one of the most painful episodes of his life.

As a student at Argyle Secondary School in North Vancouver 42 years ago, he received his yearbook and when he opened it to the page with his picture on it, there was one word printed under his name: ‘Fag.’

‘I feel like, emotionally, they’ve been beating me with a stick for 42 years,’ he tells the North Shore News.

Tomlin, who is not gay, has gone public about the long ago incident because he wants an official apology from the school and wants it to delete the anti-gay slur from any remaining copies of the yearbook they may still have on hand.

He began his quest more than a decade ago after his daughter saw the yearbook for the first time. Shocked, she told him he had to fight to have it corrected. With his cancer diagnosis, the fight is even more urgent.

‘I want to show the young people today that you can’t let them get away with it,’ he tells the Toronto Star.

In 2004, the school told Tomlin that the statutory limitation period had long since expired. But now that a lawyer who went to the same school has taken on the case pro bono, the school has offered to replace the page in school and district copies.

As the case has gained publicity, Tomlin received an email from current Superintendent John Lewis who wrote: ‘I wish to clearly convey on behalf of myself, the Board of Education and my staff that we are sorry that the Argyle yearbook was published as it was in 1970.’

Lewis added: ‘I cannot take responsibility for actions or lack of oversight by staff over 40 years ago. I regret that you had such a negative high school experience.’

Tomlin suffered his bullying in silence. He never told his parents about the yearbook or the beatings that caused him to often arrive late to school and to skip his graduation ceremony.

He said the emailed apology is not enough.

‘I want a face-to-face apology, not an email,’ Tomlin says. ‘That’s the only way I think it would be a genuine apology. I don’t want a million bucks. I don’t think this is too much to ask.’



No thumbnail available

Gay boxer Orlando Cruz wins second fight since coming out

The Puerto Rican featherweight thanks ‘his LGBT community’ after defeating Mexican boxer Aaron Martinez 
No thumbnail available

Experience the stunning scenery and outdoors appeal of Narvik in Norway

The perfect place to begin your northern Norwegian adventure.
No thumbnail available

Elton John will set up Katy Perry at Oscars

Elton will line up eligible hunks for Perry at his raucous Oscars party singles table
No thumbnail available

Gay teens to conquer the mountains at first LGBT youth summer camp

US-style camp will be aimed at LGBT young people in the mountains of north Wales
No thumbnail available

About Gay Star News

Gay Star News: the world's first LGBT news, entertainment and travel site, updated 24-7
No thumbnail available

Jesse Tyler Ferguson hopes TV role helps gay marriage acceptance

Modern Family star tells Gay Star News marriage foes embrace Mitch & Cam
No thumbnail available

Gay congressman Barney Frank uses last day in office to protest defense secretary candidate

Says Chuck Hagel 'voted consistently against fairness for LGBT people'
No thumbnail available

British MP expenses backlash partly due to gay marriage support, says cabinet minister

Work and Pensions Secretary Ian Duncan Smith said Culture Secretary Maria Miller’s support for gay marriage is partly to blame for the expenses row backlash from ‘bitter’ Conservative MPs
No thumbnail available

Filipino gay party renews bid for Congress

  LGBT party Ang Ladlad hopes to win at least two seats in the Filipino mid-term polls next year
No thumbnail available

Kathy Griffin tells Letterman she has no regrets over Anderson Cooper New Year's Eve flap

Comic says she tried to go down on newsman for 'ladies and gays'