Tag Archives: Pride Week

Pride and Pre-justice (a recap)

Proclaiming your gay pride in Calgary used to be hard. In previous years, homophobia and transphobia were actively practiced in our city. We had both an unsympathetic society and an unjust state. Here is the speediest of recaps.

1980 – Calgary gay activists host a national gay rights conference that ends in a controversial rally and march. Then Mayor Ross Alger and police Chief, Brian Sawyer are decidedly unsupportive.

1981 – Newly elected Calgary Mayor Ralph Klein proclaims he is a mayor for everyone including the gay community, then quickly distances himself from gays due to public outcry.

1987 –  Delegates from many of Calgary’s gay and lesbian organizations come together to form an umbrella organization called Project Pride Calgary. Inspired by the Stonewall Riots, they produce a Pride festival locally to celebrate community. Their first festival in 1988 includes a concert, workshops, a dance, and a family picnic – but no public rally or protest.

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1990 Pride Rally Poster

1990 – the Calgary Lesbian and Gay Political Action Guild (CLAGPAG), one of the Project Pride partners, organizes the first political rally, which they internally described as a media stunt. 140 people muster at the Old Y to pick up lone ranger masks, and then gather at the Boer War Statue in Central Memorial Park.

1991 – CLAGPAG more ambitiously, holds its first Pride Parade. 400 people at City Hall cheer gay Member of Parliament Svend Robinson, who gives an inspiring speech despite gloomy weather and even gloomier protesters, three of whom were arrested. 1991 is also the year Mayor Al Duerr famously proclaims gay pride week in Calgary but then denies future proclamations due to public pressure.

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Svend Robinson, June 16, 1991.  Photo: Luke Shwart

1998 – Vriend vs. Alberta. The Supreme Court decision forces Alberta to include sexual orientation as a prohibited ground for human rights discrimination. Alberta Premier Ralph Klein blusters, and stirs up his socially conservative base, but in the end capitulates.

2001 – Former Conservative Prime Minister, Joe Clark, agrees to be Calgary’s Pride Parade Marshall and solicits scorn from social conservatives everywhere, including the Westboro Baptist Church. “We might have a big crowd preaching against those fags up there Sunday,” Reverend Fred Phelps says from Topeka, Kansas but then fails to show up.

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Joe Clark, June 10, 2001.  Photo: Grant Neufeld

2002- Calgary Police raid Goliath’s Sauna, and charge operators and found-ins under antiquated bawdy house laws, provoking legal challenges from the gay community. (The Crown eventually drops charges in 2005 citing changing community standards)

2005 – Same-sex marriage becomes legal in Canada. The Alberta Government remains officially opposed and threatens to invoke the notwithstanding clause to negate the law in Alberta, but doesn’t.

2006 – Parade marchers tussle with protestors carrying signs “no pride in sodomy.” One marcher is arrested.  Police Chief Jack Beaton says publicly he disapproves of the protestors.

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2009 Pride Board Members, Dallas Barnes & Sam Casselman.  Photo: Kevin Allen

2009 – Pride Calgary moves the parade from June to the September long weekend, and transitions from a grassroots collective to an incorporated non-profit society.

2011 – Mayor Naheed Nenshi is the first Calgary mayor to march in our Pride Parade, and is parade marshall that year, making national headlines.

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Mayor Naheed Nenshi, September 4, 2011 Photo: Todd Korol, The Globe and Mail

2016 – Protestors are hard to find and politicians are seemingly everywhere – it has been an amazing journey.

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2016 Pride Panel: Resiliency

The Calgary Gay History project has been invited to participate in a panel discussion during pride titled: Resiliency through Time and the Pride Movement.  Happening on Wednesday, August 31st at 4 PM, it will be a similar format as last year’s Pride Origins Panel, with a reception before and after – all taking place at the Hyatt Regency Hotel downtown.  We hope you can join us.

The panel will explore how pride movements have changed over time and the impact it has had on resiliency within the LGBTQ community at both the macro and individual levels.

The Schedule:

4pm to 5pm, Pre-panel reception, cash bar

5pm-6pm, Panel Discussion

6pm, Post-Panel Reception with Complementary Appetizers

The event is hosted by the Hyatt Regency, with Calgary Outlink and Pride Calgary as sponsoring organizations.  One can RSVP via Facebook: here.

Panel Members include:

Robert Fracassa, HyPride Founder

Robert is the Senior Manager of Digital Analytics & Optimization Strategy for Hyatt Hotels Corporation in Chicago and holds a BS in Computer Science and an MBA from the University of Michigan. Four years ago Robert and a few fabulous friends had a vision to create a Hyatt employee networking group focused on LGBT diversity and inclusion, and is proud to be one of the original 4 founders of Hyatt HyPride. Today, Hyatt HyPride has grown to over 600 Hyatt employee members, and Robert is now the Global Chair of the Hyatt HyPride LGBT Diversity Business Resource Group representing dozens of chapters throughout the world.

Jahida Laribi, Author

Kevin Allen, Calgary Gay History Project

Kevin Allen is the research lead of the Calgary Gay History Project whose family has lived in Calgary for four generations. Kevin’s work has uniquely detailed Calgary’s gay history, including bringing back to life many forgotten stories of LGBT struggles that have helped to shape our society today.  Kevin is also a founder of the Fairytales Presentation Society and is currently on the board of directors of Calgary Outlink.

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Goodbye Jonathan & 2016 Pride Week

Jonathan-BrowerThe Calgary Gay History Project would like to give a shout out and goodbye to Jonathan Brower, a long-time volunteer with the project, whose special interest in Calgary’s queer theatre history was an important aspect of our work. Not only has his local queer theatre company, Third Street Theatre, commission the play 69, by playwright Natalie Meisner, but we just picked up two boxes of archival materials he has gathered referencing this ground breaking art form in our city. We admire and respect all of his contributions to Calgary and send him and his partner our best wishes for this new chapter of their lives.

Pride Week is coming up quickly and the Calgary Gay History Project will be offering two gay history walks during the “queerstravaganza” this year. One route will be through Downtown Calgary and the other at the University of Calgary. We are in initial talks to be involved in more Pride Happenings at the moment and will keep you posted via this website.

Thursday, Sept. 1st

7:00-8:30 PM Downtown Gay History Walking Tour

Downtown History WalkJoin the Calgary Gay History Project’s Kevin Allen on a walk through the city centre. We will highlight significant political and social events that affected the gay community. On the way we will pass by several historical watering holes where gays and lesbians gathered.  Everyone welcome.

Meet:  CommunityWise (The Former Old Y) 223 12 Avenue SW

 

U of Hist WalkSaturday, Sept. 3rd

3:00 – 4:15 PM University of Calgary Gay History Tour

Join University Alumnus, Kevin Allen, as he explores the University’s role in the emancipation of the LGBTQ community in Calgary. Combining personal reflections with historical references, the tour was a hit at this year’s academic conference, Congress.

Meet: Q Centre: 2nd Floor. Old MacEwan Hall, University of Calgary.

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