Tag Archives: Calgary

Hello 2022!

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Calgary Gay History Project. Phew, it feels like we have done a lot, but we couldn’t have done it without ongoing community support and encouragement—thank you!

The Project is powered by volunteers who do this research off the side of their desks. Consequently, I’m happy to introduce a new research volunteer, Sheldon Cannon, who is exploring the history of the Goliath’s Bathhouse raid in Calgary.

Globe and Mail photo, Dec. 18, 2002, captioned: “The door to Goliath’s Sauna has a sign saying closed, since the bathhouse was raided by Calgary police late last week. The gay community is outraged by the charges filed against 13 men. Source: Ted Jacobs/Calgary Herald”

The raid is also having an anniversary—it’s been 20 years—and Sheldon will be writing a series of blog posts to explore the raid’s impact on the city’s queer history. In addition to archival research, Sheldon is interviewing people who were present during the raid and community members who have memories of the event to share. Covid-willing, we hope to have a public presentation about the raid sometime this year.

Sheldon Cannon

Sheldon is a medical student with a background in science and an interest in history, politics, and anthropology. Raised in rural Saskatchewan and having completed his BSc in Physiology at the University of Alberta, he is a prairie boy through and through. Having dipped his toe into history as a teenager on his local museum board, it was a workshop with Edmonton’s premiere queer historian Darrin Hagen that got him interested in gay history specifically. He discovered the Calgary Gay History Project through their video on Everett Klippert after finding out Everett was born in Sheldon’s hometown. Sheldon’s project on the 2002 Goliath’s Bathhouse raid seeks to explore our community’s ever-changing relationship with police and how physical spaces (or lack thereof) impact gay life. Outside of history, Sheldon also assists in medical research and endeavours to develop his artistic side as a beginner dancer and acrobat.

Welcome, Sheldon!

{KA}

Holiday Reads from @YYCGayHistory

Calgary-Gay-History-Project-adjacent author, Gordon Sombrowski, launched What Narcissus Saw this month. It is the second short story collection from the acclaimed Fernie/Calgary based writer. Holiday shoppers can find What Narcissus Saw at a handful of independent bookstores and online. His Calgary launch party at Loft112 was on Saturday, December 11th.

Athabasca University Press just released Bucking Conservatism: Alternative Stories of Alberta from the 1960s and 1970s edited by Leon Crane Bear, Larry Hannant, and Karissa Robyn Patton. Calgary Gay History Project researchers Nevena Ivanović and Kevin Allen contributed a chapter to the book with editor Larry Hannant called, Gay Liberation in Conservative Calgary. Bucking Conservatism was produced under a creative commons license and is free to read online or download.

Our Past Matters has had another stellar year. It is now a textbook in two University of Calgary courses—one in Social Work, the other in Gender & Sexuality Studies—despite not being an academic read! The Our Past Matters ebook also had a short run as an Amazon #1 Best Seller in its category.

Readers note: this is our last post for the calendar year. Thank you for your ongoing support and enthusiasm for local queer history. Consider these books as our good read recommendations for this holiday season. If you enjoy them, leave reviews on sites such as GoodReads and Amazon for other readers to discover.

Happy reading!

{KA}

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

{The Calgary Gay History Project is revisiting its most impactful blog posts—now numbering in the hundreds—since its inception nine years ago. Gay men are smarter than straight men—so says history has been, hands down, its most popular post since it was published on July 18, 2013. It also has a notable time reference to the big Calgary flood.}

The sixties were a boom-time for psychometric assessment, and in particular Intelligence Quotient (IQ) 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 IQ and Scholastic Achievement? It concluded that 80% of the variance in IQ 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 IQ’s, the average intelligence of the homosexual offender was significantly higher than average (IQ 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 IQ 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 IQ 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 IQ 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.

{KA}