2018 has been quite the year for the Calgary Gay History Project. A film. A book. A residency at the new Central Library. Thanks to Calgary readers, Our Past Matters hit the number two spot in the Calgary Herald’s best-sellers list this week.
Calgary Herald Non-Fiction Bestsellers: Dec. 22, 2018
I am truly grateful for all of the support of the History Project and the warm reception the book received. I am wishing everyone a joy-filled (and restful) holiday season and a very Happy New Year.
As a final website post for 2018, I thought I would share some images of Calgary gay history in Christmases past. It evokes for me, a line I used in the book: “We were here, and we always have been.”
- Myrt’s was a gay bar located at 808 9 Ave. SW
- Modern Pink was a publication that grew out of Lesbian and Gay Youth Calgary (LGYC)
- Clue! Magazine was published in Calgary from 1992-1995.
Posted in Gay history
Tagged bisexual, Calgary Herald, Christmas, CLUE Magazine, gay, lesbian, Modern Pink, Myrts, New Central Library, Our Past Matters, queer, transgender
As Historian in Residence at the New Central Library, I serve tea weekly (weakly?) on Thursdays from 5-6 PM in room 414-A on the 4th floor. Last night we had Lois Szabo discuss the origins of Club Carousel, Calgary’s first gay bar. Lois was one of the club’s founders in the late ’60s and has been an active member of the community ever since. She was chosen to be our Pride Parade Marshall in 2017.
Lois Szabo at the 2017 Pride Parade: Calgary Herald Photo
Next week, on Thursday, December 20th, we have local representatives from the el-Tawhid Juma Circle, Calgary’s inclusive mosque space also known as Unity Mosque. The queer affirming mosque space was founded in Toronto almost ten years ago and has since spread to other Canadian cities. Their mission is to be compassionate, inclusive, gender equal and LGBTQ affirming. Please join us for tea!
El-Tawhid Juma Circle Website
The library residency has proved to be very fruitful for research. I have been combing the pamphlet and clipping files in the library in the new Calgary’s Story section on the 4th floor.
For example, I discovered the story of Mark Perry-Schaub who was diagnosed with AIDS in July 1987 and subsequently lost his volunteer job with the Calgary ’88 Olympics Committee. He had been a volunteering for three years prior to the diagnosis and fought publicly to be reinstated. He was successful in his fight and despite struggling with three successive bouts of pneumonia he was strong enough to work throughout the Games. He died two months later.
This week I met with three nieces of Everett Klippert whom I had not interviewed before. They shared stories of their Uncle Evie which were new to me, including a wedding with a woman whom he ran away from – the day before the wedding!
Last week, I interviewed Joey Sayer, who was instrumental in founding Lesbian and Gay Youth Calgary (LGYC) in the ’80s, as well as significant gay publications Modern Pink, and Alberta Gay & Lesbian Press (AGLP). Oral history interviews like these, are key sources for future stories on the Calgary Gay History Project website.
- Kevin and Joey at the Historian In Residence Studio at the New Central Library
Posted in Gay history
Tagged AGLP, AIDS, bisexual, Club Carousel, El-Tawhid Juma Circle, Everett Klippert, gay, Historian in Residence, Joey Sayer, lesbian, LGYC, Lois Szabo, Mark Perry-Schaub, Modern Pink, New Central Library, queer, transgender, Unity Mosque
Fifty years ago today, Calgary’s gay community had its self-described first “public” function. It was reported that on Halloween 1968, “about 100 nervous Gays showed dressed to the nines” at the Highland Golf and Country Club. This event, gave those anxious organizers courage to start the first gay clubs in the city.
Today, I just received the keys to my office on the top floor of the New Central Library. The building brought tears to my eyes and took my breath away. What an honour to be appointed as its first Historian in Residence. It is astounding to me that in fifty years we have come so far as a community – from hidden and underground to lofty and visible.
Book Cover Image: Club Carousel Woodcut by Calgary Artist Lisa Brawn
Additionally, Our Past Matters: Stories of Gay Calgary has gone to the printers. We expect it to be here in three weeks! We are sorting out the book launch currently (more details to come), but soon you will be able to read it (finally)!
Thank you for your patience in the book writing process. So much has happened with the Calgary Gay History Project in the last four years that informed the final text. I hope you will find it was worth the wait.
Posted in Gay history
Tagged bisexual, Calgary, calgary public library, gay, Halloween, history, lesbian, New Central Library, Our Past Matters, queer, transgender