Tag Archives: AIDS

Remembering Mark

One of the moving aspects of working on local gay history is that—sometimes—the stories you are sharing of long dead activists come to life when living family members reach out and connect.

In April, I was writing a series about AIDS: reflecting on one pandemic while we move through another. I discovered the story of Mark Perry-Schaub, a thwarted Calgary ’88 Winter Olympics volunteer, who fought to regain his volunteer position after losing it, because he had AIDS.

After coming across the post, Ann—a relative—wrote to me. Mark died before Ann was born; this unknown Uncle left a haunting ache in Ann’s family.

Mark Perry-Schaub (photo courtesy of his family)

Ann explained: “I’ve always been drawn to learning more about Mark, and talking about him. That’s why I contacted [his friend] Dave McKeen when I was 16, and attempted to contact Doug McKay, Mark’s friend who’d been his roommate and cared for him in the final months (unfortunately McKay died in 2005 when I was a toddler). I’ve written a number of essays on Mark, and AIDS in general, for school… I just always wanted to know more, like as much as is possible without being able to meet him. I think being LGBT+ myself results in me being even more interested, like he could have been such a great supportive figure in my life. We could have been close.” 

Ann shared photos, news clippings, and fleshed out details of Mark from family stories. Mark, even appeared in an AIDS Calgary video: Respect Yourself Protect, Yourself. Although I had seen it before, I did not make the connection that the man named Mark in the video was Mark Perry-Schaub. What a surprise to see Mark animated again!

Mark in a still from AIDS Respect Yourself Protect Yourself

According to Ann, Dave McKeen told her that: “Mark had a heart of gold and even when too ill to really help, he was still volunteering his time and energy to help those in greater need; no one volunteered as much as he did.”

Mark died on April 1, 1988, aged 26, just weeks after the Calgary Winter Olympics concluded. His memorial service was held at the Metropolitan Community Church. Although his parents weren’t in attendance, his siblings were; it was a profound loss.

Ann shares, “it sounds like he was an amazing person. Of everyone, alive or dead, he’s the person I’d want to meet the most. I imagine he’d have been an awesome uncle.”

I think Ann is right…

{KA}

Our History Matters

Calgary Gay History Project Researcher, Tereasa Maillie, has curated a history series to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Calgary Pride!

Beginning tomorrow, the first of ten online programs, launches. The series includes the history of LGTBQ+ newcomers in Canada, the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Calgary, and films on gay and lesbian life in ‘50s and ‘60s. On September 4th, the series will go out with a kick and a twirl: History is a Drag will feature performances by top drag artists taking a new spin on our stories and histories.

“We really need a celebration of culture, of gender, and of sexually diverse communities in 2020! So let’s challenge the histories we hold at the same time,” Tereasa explains. The series intentionally explores history from different angles, lenses, and identities.

The series is free and held online through Showpass. View the full calendar of Calgary Pride’s Learning Series workshops at https://www.calgarypride.ca/learning-series/

forbiddenlove

Film Poster from the NFB’s groundbreaking lesbian history doc.

Forbidden Love: The Unashamed Stories of Lesbian Lives (1992)
August 14, 7-9 pm
National Film Board – 1 hour 30 minutes with discussion to follow. A Queer film classic, Forbidden Love is a historical documentary on what was happening for Lesbians in ‘50s and ‘60s Canada. Interviews from women of all ages and cultures are interspersed with a pulp lesbian romance story. Join Natalie Meisner, Lalangi Ali, Tereasa Maillie, and Lois Szabo as they discuss the film’s impact on them personally and their understanding of Canadian history.

Gross Indecency: The Everett Klippert Story (2018)
August 15, 7-8 pm
TELUS Originals – 17 minutes with discussion to follow. Join director Laura O’Grady, Kevin Allen, and lawyer Brian Crane to discuss Everett Klippert, the last Canadian to be jailed for homosexuality. Winner of the Calgary International Film Festival 2018 Best Alberta Short.

klippert2

Kevin Allen in a scene from the film, Gross Indecency: The Everett Klippert Story. Photo courtesy, Spotlight Productions

AIDS in Canada: The Forgotten Pandemic
August 20, 7-8:30 pm
HIV/AIDS is still with us: More than 70 million people have been infected with HIV and about 35 million have died from AIDS since the start of the pandemic in the late 1970s. A frank and open discussion on the epidemic with survivors, medical experts, and historians of our country’s response.

Queer the Music
August 21, 7-8:30 pm
Local musicians, including Toni Vere, speak about the history of Queer music in Calgary and share their own stories. Join us for some powerful musical performances too.

Rainbow Connection: History of LGTBQ+ Newcomers in Canada
August 24, 1-3pm
Canada has been a leader in recognizing LGBTQ+ refugee claims and resettling refugees fleeing persecution based on their sexual orientation and gender-based identity. Join the discussion with a panel of experts on the history of LGTBQ+ immigration and refugees to Canada.

Small Town Queer- Film Series
August 27, 7-8:30 pm

TELUS Story Hive – 2019 – Three 20 minute shorts with discussion to follow
Join us for an online screening of Laura O’Grady’s three excellent films about Fort McMurray, Medicine Hat, and Lethbridge’s Queer communities, which includes a discussion after each section about the history of small town life. Panelists include members of the Queer community from these towns.

Origins
August 28, 6-7:30 pm
An exciting discussion with the founders of Calgary Pride about the early days, the changes in our community, and how Pride has shaped our city.

Queering the Archives
September 1, 7-8:30 pm
Local historians and archivists will share stories hidden in the records and discuss the need for archives and museums to support Queer history.

Queer Art Destroys History
September 2, 7-8:30 pm
A lively panel with LGTBQ2S+ artists who tackle art, society, and history, confronting and sharing Calgary’s Pride.

History is a Drag – Performance
September 4, 7-8:30 pm
Three outstanding drag performers take a page from Calgary’s history to reinterpret it in their own way. Shane On You, Nada Nuff, and Farrah Nuff will transform your ideas on what history is with stories and songs.

{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}