Tag Archives: calgary public library

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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Humbled Again!

Thank you everyone who took the time to come to the Gay History presentation at the Calgary Public Library last Friday and the Jane’s Walk on Saturday.

We had over 100 people in attendance at the downtown library, keen to learn more about the project, and to share some stories themselves.

May 3rd Library Crowd

The Calgary Heritage Authority was kind enough to give me a historical brick, as a thank you, with a plaque commemorating the occasion.

Kevin Brick

Then, the next day the Jane’s Walk turned into a crowd.  We started with about 60 people and added a few dozen along the way, making for our own kind of Historical Pride Parade.

Jane's Walk 1Janes Walk 2It was a deliciously warm and sunny morning.  Thank goodness the Calgary Foundation lent us a portable microphone and speaker, otherwise the walk could never have been so big!  People were able to share some of their own stories along the way of the 12 sites we visited.  It turned out to be a magical morning.

Special thanks to Del Rath, part of the research team, who lugged the speaker around on the walk, and to Terry MacKenzie for these candid photographs.