She was instantly identifiable when she entered a room - flying in, long, curly auburn hair blazing. And she was always fired up about something.
Activist, teacher and theorist Jeri Wine died in December, and another piece of an era went with her.
These days, same-sex marriage hogs the headlines and queer commentators elbow each other for air time and visibility. But when Wine was laying the groundwork for feminist studies in the early 80s, gays were but a tiny speck on the het landscape. And at OISE, where she taught, she was the only out lesbian.
That made her unique as a radical. Students ate up the way she brought her politics into the classroom: she refused to allow men in one of her courses on violence against women, something unheard of then and probably impossible now.
Feminist ideas were blossoming in those days, so much so that activists became weirdly euphoric about cracking the political system. The idea that the Feminist Party of Canada, the one Wine helped promote, could become a player in Canadian politics seems almost ludicrous now, but it was reasonable at the time.
A member of Women Against Violence Against Women, Wine broke new ground by putting the issue of sexual abuse at the hands of therapists and doctors right in the face of the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons.
That was an ugly fight, often humiliating for the women who came forward to tell their stories, and Wine was famously ridiculed by Dini Petty on her Citytv talk show. But the College did finally acknowledge that it had some predators in its ranks.
Wine leaves not only her intellectual and political legacy but the lingering controversy over the safety of the building housing OISE. She died of mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer known to take 20 to 30 years to develop. She always believed the building was not safe. She quit her position and moved east over a decade ago to launch a psychotherapy practice, saying she needed to be free of 252 Bloor West. When she visited later, she could be seen wearing a face mask and carrying around an electric air filter.
The questions remain. That's one thing that hasn't changed since Wine first came out at OISE.