Author Archives: calgarygayhistory

#GlenbowFromHome with #OurPastMatters

As we celebrate pride month and commemorate the Stonewall Riots tomorrow with 24- hour worldwide programming, here in Calgary, the Glenbow Museum’s Jenny Conway Fisher interviewed Kevin Allen about his book Our Past Matters.

In this far-ranging discussion, Jenny and Kevin explore how queer history resonates with the currents of today. They talk about the Pride movement and note that Calgary Pride, whose origin event was in June 1990, celebrated their 30th anniversary this month. Kevin also explains how the Glenbow Archives contributed to the making of Our Past Matters.

Check out the 36-minute conversation: here. Thank you, Glenbow! It was a delight.

{KA}

Awards & Bad Blood

Our Past Matters: Stories of Gay Calgary was selected as a finalist for the Next Generation Indie Book Awards in the category of regional non-fiction. We must give a massive shout out to Calgary Gay History Project supporter, Lolly de Jonge, who encouraged us to enter. The award ceremony this year is being held virtually on June 26th at 6 PM on Facebook Live. Thank you, Lolly, we feel grateful for the honour!

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Collage from Bad Blood

In January, we were approached to participate in a journalism multimedia project by students from Mount Royal University. They were interested in exploring the history of Canada’s blood donation ban from men who have sex with men. The creative team consisted of Nathan Woolridge, Karina Zapata, and Riggs Zyrille Vergara. They recently published an interactive website titled: Bad Blood. It takes a deep dive into the history of the tainted blood scandal, the current legal context for gay donors, and the champions who are trying to progress the country forward. It is well worth a read. Congratulations, Nathan, Karina, and Riggs!

{KA}

The Apple Tree – our first fiction!

Gordon Sombrowski is an acclaimed short-story writer. He is also the significant other of Kevin Allen, the Research Lead of the Calgary Gay History Project. Gordon recently wrote a narrative piece about the current pandemic, called The Apple Tree, that reflects on Calgary’s AIDS history. Just as AIDS had a powerful effect on gay male sexual behaviour, he muses that Covid-19 might change us as well – he says: “all pandemics leave scars.”

Apple Tree

Here is an excerpt from The Apple Tree:

Georgie looks out the window and plans his day. His Covid day. That is what he calls each day, Covid day one, Covid day two, now it is Covid day fifty-three. Every day so much like the next: breakfast, lunch, dinner, a walk down to the river, a walk around in the town park, a walk along the empty streets. All of it alone. Everyday Georgie is alone, but for the one day a week he drives to the grocery store, early when no one is there, he buys his groceries, his mask in place. But Georgie is not really alone. He has the internet.

Tom is the best of his many acquaintances, and he spends time online with them and Tom and with a bunch of the gang at work. He has organized to have a drink or dinner with Tom once or twice a week, and he always has drinks with his colleagues on Fridays, otherwise casual drinks or coffee with his other acquaintances all mediated by the computer screen.

Georgie has become an expert at internet socializing. He has discovered that he likes internet socializing, it is safe, and fills his need for company. It has not escaped his notice that this internet socializing, looking at a screen to see an image that is like the person, but is not the person, is a lot like pornography.

Click here for the full short story.

This is the first original fiction we have published on the Calgary Gay History Project’s website; let us know what you think! Happy reading.

{KA}