Tag Archives: prairie conference

We are in Saskatoon next week!

Our planned trip last August to Saskatchewan had to be postponed, but we are finally travelling to Saskatoon April 13-16 to do research in the Neil Richards Collection of Sexual and Gender Diversity located at the University of Saskatchewan.

Not only will be looking for Calgary citations in the collection, but we will also be meeting with Mr. Richards to discuss best practices for setting up our Calgary gay history archive.

Prairie cities in Canada had a lot in common when it came to the gay liberation movement in the 1970s. Activists in Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon and Winnipeg met as often as they could, to share information and bolster each other efforts at a time when there were not a lot of people doing this important work.

Calgary’s Gay Information and Resources Calgary (GIRC) hosted the 1979 Prairie Gay Rights Conference, May 19th to 21st  {The Saskatchewan Gay Coalition hosted the 1978 conference in Saskatoon}. This annual conference over the Victoria Day weekend was preoccupied in 1979 with the imminent Federal Election, and Progressive Conservative (PC) leader and Albertan, Joe Clark’s stand on gay rights. Stan Schumacher, an independent candidate running in Calgary – Bow River alleged Joe Clark was soft on homosexuality. Post-election, a PC spokesperson explained to activists that the (now) Prime Minister’s position was not necessarily opposed to the inclusion of sexual orientation in federal human rights legislation. However wanting to get elected, that position was not made public!

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Registration Information for 1979 Prairie Conference

Gay groups across the country during the 1979 election campaign agitated for a gay rights charter distributed by the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Rights Coalition but got little traction. However, a 27-year old Svend Robinson was elected that year in Burnaby; he would become the first openly gay Member of Parliament when he publicly revealed his sexual orientation in 1988.

Any former Calgarians or visitors to Calgary, who are now living in the Saskatoon area, and who have stories about our LGBTQ history are invited to contact Kevin – we are keen on interviewing you!