Tag Archives: queer

Protecting Queer History Places

The National Trust for Canada is holding its annual conference in Toronto. It starts today, and its title is: The Heritage Reset: Making Critical Choices.

The conference is asking this question: “as the urgency increases to advance decolonization and anti-racism, take bold climate action, and redress economic and social inequity, are heritage principles and heritage places in step, or stuck in the past?” 

Specifically relevant to queer history, they are exploring the idea of a social-cultural reset. How can the heritage community embrace a fuller story and confront exclusion?

It’s a good question. Locally, has Calgary’s heritage community done enough to protect queer historic places and spaces in the city? The answer of course, from our perspective, is “no.”

To be fair, the City of Calgary created Lois Szabo Commons last year, and the Lougheed House did queer history programming in 2019. But where are our protected buildings, heritage plaques and interpretations of queer history sites? How do we make our relatively invisible queer history visible?

Earlier this year, the National Trust hosted a webinar on this very subject with Andrew Dolkart from the inspiring NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project. We encourage you to watch it.

In the next year, this will be a thrust of the Calgary Gay History Project. To date, we have been active in building the Calgary queer landscape through mapping projects and walking tours. It is time to agitate for queer inclusion in Calgary’s built heritage inventory.

{KA}

What Narcissus Saw in Whistler

Calgary Gay History Project volunteer, Gordon Sombrowski, heads to Whistler, British Columbia today. His book of short stories, What Narcissus Saw, is a finalist at the Whistler Independent Book Awards. Selected from hundreds of submissions, he said he was excited to make the short-list—now it is down to the final three books.

What Narcissus Saw is competing against Churchill at Munich by Michael Carin of Quebec and Rez Dog Blues and the Haiku: A Savage Life in Bits and Pieces by William George Lindsay of BC. The award winner will be announced at a Friday night event during the Whistler Writers Festival.

Sombrowski said it was a great honour to have been selected as a finalist.

“Like every writer who seeks to publish I set out to write stories that I hope readers will want to read. Having a jury of accomplished writing peers select my work helps me to feel like I have done that,” he explained.

Tomorrow, keep your fingers crossed for Gordon! 🤞😘✨

What Narcissus Saw event last month at Shelf Life Books, photo by Noel Bégin.

{KA}

Bucking Conservatism Wins Award

At this month’s Alberta Book Publishing gala, Bucking Conservatism: Alternative Stories of Alberta from the 1960s and 1970s was awarded the Regional Book of the Year prize. 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.”

About the Editors

Leon Crane Bear is Siksika and a treaty Indian, as well as a graduate of the University of Lethbridge. Larry Hannant is a Canadian historian specializing in twentieth-century political dissent. Karissa Robyn Patton is a historian of gender, sexuality, health, and activism, and is a Canada Research Chair postdoctoral fellow at Vancouver Island University.

Reviews

[A] beautiful mosaic of activist history for many reasons. It’s an intersectional collection that takes for granted the links between social justice struggles. It’s well-written, well-organized and insightful. [. . .] Groups embarking on future projects will benefit from the robust list of references that marks each piece. [. . .] Bucking Conservatism offers a blueprint, a model, for others who want to continue this work, in whatever time period.

—Joe Kadi, Alberta Views

With such a breadth of subjects, there really is something for every reader in the book. This is a book I can imagine picking up off the shelf again and again and looking at for ideas and inspiration.

—Belinda Crowson, Canadian Journal of History

Congratulations, Leon, Larry and Karissa! We’re very pleased for you. Thank you for the invitation to participate.

{KA}