Tag Archives: calgary public library

Finally, a Kid’s LGTBQ History Book!

With the current calls for recognizing LGTBQ diversity in Alberta schools, a timely new book aimed at educating children about LGTBQ history has just been released. Gay & Lesbian History for Kids: The Century-Long Struggle for LGTB Rights focuses on the last 100 years of the struggle for human rights. With a brief section on the history pre-1900, this book focuses on personal stories and firsthand accounts of events, which makes reading easy and relatable for all. Even better, the writer Jerome Pohlen, has actively used the stories of non-whites and transgender people in the text.


Gay & Lesbian History for Kids does not shy away from the truth, beautiful and terrible all in one. The book makes sure the reader understands this with the activities: they encompass many disciplines in arts and history that could be used in the classroom. One that is very poignant is to perform a monologue from the Laramie Project, a play on the murder of a young gay man, Matthew Sheppard, in 1998.

Because of its focus and content, this book is very much for older children and teenagers. The other caveat is that it focuses primarily on the American story, with some break out sections on English and Canadian issues. While important for Canadian readers to know these early origins, any educator will have to supplement the text with our own narratives.

At least, until someone writes a Canadian book for children on LGTBQ history. Any takers?

The book is available also at the Calgary Public Library.

Gay & Lesbian History for Kids: The Century-Long Struggle for LGBT Rights, with 21 Activities by Jerome Pohlen. From the For Kids series: Chicago Review Press (Oct 2015)




2014 Pride Week Recap & Kickstarter Check In

Not only did the Pride Parade and Street Festival this year have a record turn out: 50,000 people by most estimates, it also had politicians of all stripes marching, many for the first time, in support of the LGBTQ community.  (I even picked up a free pride bracelet courtesy of the Government of Alberta!).

Check out the Calgary Gay History Booth’s short video which gives you a flavour of the day (courtesy of Nancy Miller and evolution New Media).

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The Kickstarter Campaign is going well, and we are very humbled by the show of support and interest in the book project from both media and everyday Calgarians.  We are halfway through the campaign today, so encourage everyone to share, tweet and talk it up.  All efforts in this regard are really appreciated.

And you could help even more by composing a short video or paragraph on why you think our community’s history is important to you.  Email me at calgarygayhistory@gmail.com and we will share it on social media in support of the Writing Calgary’s Gay History campaign.


Gay men are smarter than straight men – so says history.

The sixties were a boom-time for psychometric assessment, and in particular Intelligence Quotient (I.Q.) research.  Perhaps one of the most famous (and controversial) papers of the time, was Arthur Jensen’s article, published in 1969, How Much Can We Boost I.Q. and Scholastic Achievement?  It concluded that 80% of the variance in I.Q. in the population studied was the result of genetic factors due to race.

Similar lines of research were done on homosexuals.  In Canada, a University of Toronto Social Work professor, John C. Spencer, published an article in the Canadian Journal of Corrections (1961).  He looked at 132 sexual offenders in the Toronto Forensic Clinic.  These incarcerated individuals were categorized into three groups: exhibitionists, pedophiles and homosexuals.   Spencer concluded that while exhibitionists and pedophiles had essentially normal I.Q.’s, the average intelligence of the homosexual offender was significantly higher than average (I.Q. of 114 vs. the population average of 100).  Reading between the lines, he may have been an early homosexual rights advocate as he mused openly about criminal law being a vehicle for moral condemnation (see article image below).

Other researchers confirmed the I.Q. findings.  Renée Liddicoat, published A Study of Non-Institutionalized Homosexuals, also in 1961, and found that South African homosexual men and women had significantly higher verbal I.Q. scores than that of her heterosexual control group.

A 1949 study of 100 neurotic homosexual and 100 neurotic heterosexual soldiers similarly found evidence of higher intelligence scores and educational achievement amongst the gay soldiers (Winterstein-Lambert, E. Bulletin de la Faculté de Médicine de Instanbul).  In fact, this paper’s conclusion was that the gay community did not need psychological treatment, rather job placement support in order to deal with neurotic symptoms.

However, like many I. Q. studies there is a potential for cultural bias in the research as well as other sources of error.  Some studies showed no difference, and at least one showed reduced intelligence in homosexual men.  A quirky finding in many intelligence studies was the homosexual male’s sensitivity to art and culture.  Silvio Marone, in the International Journal of Sexology (1954) wrote, “homosexual behaviour is not rare among artists, and homosexuality has a great influence on art.”

Finally, speaking of great influences, the Calgary Public Library’s Magazine’s and Newspapers department was devastated by the recent flooding in Southern Alberta.  Many of the articles researched for this website have come from that basement department (such as: this one).  We are really saddened by this particular loss.  Individuals interested in donating to the Library’s flood recovery fund can find more information: here.


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