Tag Archives: Calgary Outlink

2016 Pride Panel: Resiliency

The Calgary Gay History project has been invited to participate in a panel discussion during pride titled: Resiliency through Time and the Pride Movement.  Happening on Wednesday, August 31st at 4 PM, it will be a similar format as last year’s Pride Origins Panel, with a reception before and after – all taking place at the Hyatt Regency Hotel downtown.  We hope you can join us.

The panel will explore how pride movements have changed over time and the impact it has had on resiliency within the LGBTQ community at both the macro and individual levels.

The Schedule:

4pm to 5pm, Pre-panel reception, cash bar

5pm-6pm, Panel Discussion

6pm, Post-Panel Reception with Complementary Appetizers

The event is hosted by the Hyatt Regency, with Calgary Outlink and Pride Calgary as sponsoring organizations.  One can RSVP via Facebook: here.

Panel Members include:

Robert Fracassa, HyPride Founder

Robert is the Senior Manager of Digital Analytics & Optimization Strategy for Hyatt Hotels Corporation in Chicago and holds a BS in Computer Science and an MBA from the University of Michigan. Four years ago Robert and a few fabulous friends had a vision to create a Hyatt employee networking group focused on LGBT diversity and inclusion, and is proud to be one of the original 4 founders of Hyatt HyPride. Today, Hyatt HyPride has grown to over 600 Hyatt employee members, and Robert is now the Global Chair of the Hyatt HyPride LGBT Diversity Business Resource Group representing dozens of chapters throughout the world.

Jahida Laribi, Author

Kevin Allen, Calgary Gay History Project

Kevin Allen is the research lead of the Calgary Gay History Project whose family has lived in Calgary for four generations. Kevin’s work has uniquely detailed Calgary’s gay history, including bringing back to life many forgotten stories of LGBT struggles that have helped to shape our society today.  Kevin is also a founder of the Fairytales Presentation Society and is currently on the board of directors of Calgary Outlink.


The OK Campaign

Calgary Outlink, our community hub, has been in Calgary in one form or another since 1975.

{The Calgary Outlink AGM is tonight and open to the public!}

In the late 1990s, the organization was called GLCSA (the Gay and Lesbian Community Services Association). In 1998 they embarked on an awareness initiative called the OK Campaign, spearheaded by a resourceful volunteer and former board member, Brian Crawford. The campaign literature explained that it “was designed to promote personal reflection specific to gay and lesbian issues in the mainstream media.” In reality it was a not-so-subtle political statement and outreach tool.

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 4.01.45 PM

The campaign ended up targeting 98% of Calgarians through bus, billboard and poster ads throughout the city. The campaign ran in September of 1998 and 1999, and was the first of its kind and magnitude in a Canadian city. In 1998, the World Wide Web was still emerging as a communications force. The GLCSA crisis and information phone line was heavily used.  In that year the organization logged 3700 calls, and utilized over 10,000 volunteer hours.  Just over a third of the people who used the phone service were under 25.

GLCSA aggressively fundraised in advance of the OK Campaign: the campaign budget being $56,000. The community delivered: many pledging a regular monthly contribution in support of the initiative. One fundraising dinner netted $27,000. The local office of Pattison Outdoor Group were hired to coordinate ad placement, and like many other gay advertising initiatives before the OK Campaign ran into troubles.

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 4.01.10 PMSome local shopping malls protested having the text only ads in their facilities. Worried that the ads could offend shoppers, they demanded the ads pulled. Mortified Pattison Account Executives gave bonus advertising of $15,000 to the Campaign to compensate for mall owners who had insisted the ads be taken down. Eventually the GLCSA wrote critical letters to those mall owners but were restrained in lodging a formal human rights complaint by the “public education only” nature of the campaign.


Calgary Gay History Project News

It is a busy time in Calgary for queer events and happenings.  You can catch the end of the Fairytales Queer Film Festival this weekend as well as Third Street Theatre’s Stars of the Stage and Screen Gala.

One Voice Chorus, whom we partnered earlier this year to present the Club Carousel Cabaret has a concert coming up featuring a local Gay-Straight Alliance – topical given recent history in Alberta! Rainbow Connections: A Pride Concert will be held on Sunday, June 7th at 3 PM.

Close on the heels of the Third Street Gala is Calgary’s Outlink’s Glitter Gala on June 13th. The Calgary Gay History Project has been invited to participate for a second year. Our researcher, Tereasa Maillie, will be exploring the history of YYC Pride in a short presentation.

We are planning a couple of research trips as well.  Kevin Allen will be on the West Coast again (Victoria and Vancouver) from June 14-18 to gather more interviews for the project. If you or some one you know has a Calgary gay history to share, please contact us.  We also are tentatively planning a trip to Saskatoon (and Regina?) in the first week of August, to check out the Neil Richards Collection of Sexual and Gender Diversity at the University of Saskatchewan.  Again, if there are any former Calgarians in Saskatchewan whom you know, please have them get in touch with us.

Now that the Provincial election has concluded, stay tuned to the website for weekly history vignettes, and updates to the project.

Have a great summer!