Tag Archives: Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives

Trans History in YYC

In June 1978, a national Trans publication was began in Calgary. Called Gender Review: A FACTual Journal, it was the publication of the Foundation for the Advancement of Canadian Transsexuals (FACT), which began in January of the same year. The non-profit organization focussed on public education of gender dysphoria.

Gender Review‘s premier issue had an article  on “Transsexual Oppression” about Montrealer Inge Stephens; information about transsexual resources; news items such as trans woman Canary Conn’s appearance on the Phil Donahue show; and a listing of books and articles by and about trans people.

The founding president of FACT was Rupert Raj, who moved the organization and publication to Toronto in July 1979.  Raj has gone on to be a leading Trans activist and  educator in Ontario and Canada and in 2013 was inducted into the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives (CLGA) National Portrait Collection.  His personal records are also housed at the CLGA as the Rupert Raj Trans* Collection.

National-Portrait-Galllery-Rupert-Raj (1)

The University of Victoria’s Moving Trans History Forward 2016 conference’s concluding event is a Founders Panel, on Sunday March 20th from 9:30 AM – noon.  Raj will be one of five panellists.  Unlike other conference events the Founders Panel is free and open to the public – we hope to see you there.


Queer Archives in Canada

In working on Calgary’s Queer history, the team has been in contact with others across Canada also conducting LGTBQQ research. It’s exciting to meet people passionate about their own projects, to look at the extensive archives and find those great nuggets of information, and read the amazing stories of courage. The types of archives varies greatly: from institutional collections focused on gender and sexuality, to smaller ones in people’s homes. We’re currently creating a database of existing archives in Canada, and have some interesting highlight to share.

The oldest in Canada is the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives (CLGA). Started in 1973 in a tiny cramped office, the archive has grown to become the largest independent LGBTQ+ archives in the world. Its home in Toronto is literally an old house built in 1858. With a focus on Canadian content, their collection includes personal papers, unpublished documents, publications, audio-visual material, works of art, photographs, posters, and other artifacts. They also host exhibitions. February’s is “Code, Read: Hollywood’s Hays Code and the Queer Stereotypes of the Silver Screen.”

Transgender pioneer Virginia Prince. University of Victoria Transgender Archives

One of the few exclusive transgendered archives is at the University of Victoria. Since 2007 the Special Collections Transgendered Archives has actively been acquiring documents, rare publications, and memorabilia of persons and organizations that have worked for the betterment of transgendered people. The Transgender Archives is accessible to the public, and available to faculty, students, and scholars for teaching and research. The incredible part of this archive is the sheer amount of personal material donated from people across North America. One well-known activist Betty Ann Lind (1931-1998), a founder of the Delta Chi Tri-ESS (Society for the Second Self) chapter of Washington, DC in the early 1970s, the predecessor to the TransGender Educational Association of Greater Washington.

The Neil Richards Collection of Sexual and Gender Diversity at the University of Saskatchewan began as a private collection. Started by its namesake when he was employed by the University Library, Richards developed and help acquire many impressive collections of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender materials, including organizational documents, collections of lesbian and gay pulp literature, magazines and newsletters published in LGBT communities, documentation about theatrical cross-dressing, novels and nonfiction published before 1969, and material on the Gay Rights movement. As of September, 2014, approximately 3,319 titles had been added to the Richards collection.

For more information about Queer archives in Canada, contact us.


A summer of Queer Calgary History

We at Calgary Gay History took the month of June mostly off, due to both work and high waters!  Our hearts go out to our colleagues who were affected by the flooding in Southern Alberta – I lost a storage office myself, which drowned in a basement near the river.  Fortunately no archival materials were lost!

If you would specifically like to help the arts community get back on its feet – you can make a donation to the Alberta Arts Flood Rebuild fund.  The Suncor Energy Foundation is currently matching the first $50,000 of public donations.

Now it’s July, and we will have a new post coming to you every Thursday up to and including Pride Week in Calgary, August 24 – September 2, 2013!

In the mail recently, I received my own personal copy of Homosexuality: An Annotated Bibliography, published in 1972.  This is a treasure trove summarizing early research about the gay community.

Homosexuality - An Annotated Biography

Authored by the Kinsey Institute’s, Martin S. Weinberg and Alan P. Bell, this tome surveys non-fiction literature on homosexuality published in English between 1940 and 1968.  They cite 1265 different books and articles, providing brief and pertinent descriptions of them.  The content of course, is very dated, but gives one an illuminating historical context on how homosexuality was viewed and understood in the 40s, 50s and 60s.

I first came across the book at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives in Toronto, but could not digest it all in one go.  This book will be part of my (not-so-light) summer reading plan.

Thus, check back here every Thursday this summer for new content as well as Calgary Gay History project developments, and we wish you a restful season.