Saturday, November 25, 1995

Thane Burnett

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Ryerson Prof: I'm A Hooker

Gerald Hannon says he supplements his teaching income with prostitution: Page 5

Pg. 5

Prof says he's a hooker

Ryerson educator moonlights as hustler

Controversial Ryerson journalism professor Gerald Hannon says he works as a male prostitute to supplement his teaching income.

In a lengthy and startlingly frank conversation with _The Toronto Sun_ last night, the popular but embattled educator said he doesn't want to stop turning tricks.

"No, actually, I find it quite enjoyable -- I started in my mid-40s," he said. "I'm high-spirited about my prostitution."

He explained that when he began about eight years ago, he was hooking almost daily, but now turns tricks about "a couple times a month.

"There are fewer clients for a 51-year-old prostitutue than when I was in my 40s," he said.

Hannon, a longtime proponent of sex between adults and children, made national headlines recently over bringing up his views on intergenerational sex during conversations in his feelance journalism class at Ryerson.

'Very resourceful'

He now says he's felt "very resourceful" in the way he's supplemented his income as a part-time university teacher, part-time writer and part-time hooker. "A lot of people have to get grants," he chuckled.

His life as a gay hustler is being loosely explored in a low-budget art film being made by Toronto director Nik Sheehan. In _Symposium_, Hannon is featured acting out a night as a prostitute with a 21-year-old actor as the paying customer.

"The scene is autobiographical -- it came from his true experiences as a prostitute," Sheehan said.

The work is due out in time for the 1996 Lesbian and Gay Film and Video Festival in Toronto.

While the film maker wouldn't permit _The Sun_ to see the five-minute segment -- one of 12 to be included -- Hannon said it shows the two men going into his apartment, "having sex," then sharing a muffin and talking about love.

"It was based on an incident where quite a young man -- in his late teens -- came to see me," Hannon said. "He was surprised to see I was an older man (but) it was his first sexual experience so we went ahead with it."

He said he remembers his first time working as a prostitute, around 1987, saying: "Of course I was terribly nervous and apprehensive. I very quickly came to learn, as most prostitutes do, the person who's even more terrified than you are is the person who's turned up as a client. They have no idea what to expect.

"For all they know you can slit their throat." He said he has some regular customers, adding that "Everyone I know knows what I do." However, he said he's never brought up his other life with his students.

While at first nervous about working as a prostitute, Hannon said he's never felt in danger toiling in the sex-for-hire trade. "In all the years I've been doing it there has never been a single bad experience," he said.

When asked whether hooking has influenced his views on adult-child sex, he said probably not, but: "I, like every prostitute, have had some very young clients."

He said his prostituting will some day stop, noting his age is getting in the way: "It's niche marketing, right? And the nich is getting smaller and smaller."

He said he's never worked Toronto streets, explaining he counts on ads and regular clients. "It's always been by phone -- nice middle-class people like me use the phone services," he said.

Of the legal dilemma involved, Hannon said: "As far as I know prostitution is not illegal in Canada."

'Not for everyone'

While there is an offence of communicating for the purposes of prostitution, Hannon said the only communication is in the ads he runs, noting his is one of many.

"I realize that turning to prostitution to supplement your income is not for everyone," he noted.

Of concerns by parents or students of him teaching by day and hooking by night, he said, "I'm sure there are some who would say 'I don't like my son's professor being a homosexual.' What's that got to do with anything? They have to see what I do in the classroom."

That sentiment was echoed by at least one of his colleagues last night -- as it has by many of his students previously.

"I don't have a problem with what Gerald Hannon does on his off-hours," said Don Obe, a member of Ryerson's journalism faculty.

Heather Bird .................... Page 12

Photo: Out-take from _Symposium_ as printed in _Fuse_ magazine Cutline: Art imitates life ... Gerald Hannon, right, and 21-year-old actor are seen in still from movie Symposium. The photo was published in Fuse, a Toronto arts magazine.

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Last modified: February 8, 1997

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