Canada’s first sitting LGBTQ+ Judge Harvey Brownstone talks Queer Crime on new podcast “Examination in Chief”

Justice Harvey Brownstone was appointed a judge of Canada’s Ontario Court of Justice in 1995, making him the first openly gay judge in the country. Since then, he has presided in criminal court and family court and has adjudicated several high-profile cases.

Along with being the first openly gay judge in Canada, Justice Brownstone is also the best-selling author of Tug Of War, the host of a television show on matters involving family law, and has been featured in multiple Yap Films documentaries including Killer in the Village and The Cobra Killers.

Justice Harvey Brownstone
Photo: Nicola Betts

In 2007, Justice Brownstone presided over the same-sex wedding in Toronto that led to a 2013 landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision to strike down the existing Defence of Marriage Act, a law that prohibited same-sex married couples from collecting federal benefits.

Most recently, Justice Brownstone is taking his skills and life experience to the airwaves as host of Yap Films’ and OUTtv‘s new true-crime podcast, Examination in Chief. The podcast takes an in-depth look into how all levels of the LGBTQ+ community of Canada’s criminal justice system. Brownstone sits with experts to hear about the real experiences of queer people across the country. From brushing up on LGBTQ+ history to adventuring into the world of hook-up apps, Justice Brownstone conducts an Examination in Chief to learn more about the different ways crime and policing impact queer people. The podcast covers topics ranging from serial killer Bruce McArthur, the Toronto Bath House Raids, sex work, and how the vulnerable LGBTQ+ community is treated and victimized.

[Left] Jelena Vermillo and [Right] Harvey Brownstone
Examiner in Chief Podcast

In this five-part series, Examiner in Chief features Brownstone’s candid and thought-provoking discussions with impressionable guests, like transgender pornstar and activist, Jelena Vermillion; Educator & Trainer in the HIV and 2SLGBTQ+ movement and community advisory group member with the independent review of missing persons for the Toronto Police Service, Haran Vijayanathan; Toronto’s award-winning crime reporter, Wendy Gillis; Ryerson instructor, activist, and journalist, Andrea Houston; Educator and Support Worker for the LGBTQ+ community, Stacey Love-Jolicour; queer criminalization historian, Dr. Tom Hooper; the LGBTQ+ liaison for the Toronto Police Sevice, Danielle Bottineau; PASAN Communications and Resource Development Co-ordinator Sena Houssain, and Marketing & Communications Specialist, Ian Royer (aka yours truly), and more!

[Left] Danielle Bottineau and [Right] Harvey Brownstone
Examiner in Chief Podcast
[Left] Andrew Fedosov and [Right] Ian Royer
Examiner in Chief Podcast

Examination in Chief is now available on all podcast streaming platforms including OUTtvGO, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play and more. 

For more information and a full list of projects, please visit