A big thank you to all of the Calgary Gay History Project readers who filled out our survey for queer history offerings at Calgary Pride this year (August 26 – September 5). Here is where you will find us:
Saturday, August 27, 2 PM
Join Shelf Life Books and Kevin Allen for a talk about his book Our Past Matters: Stories of Gay Calgary. The talk will be followed by an open mic, where audience members can share their stories of Gay Calgary or read poems or prose pieces (with a 6-8 minute time slot limit). If you identify as a part of the 2SLGBTQ+ community and would like to participate, then please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org! You can also sign up before the event, space permitted. Registration for audience attendance is recommended and appreciated! Free event.
Saturday, August 27, 4 PM
The Calgary Gay History Project’s Kevin Allen will lead a gay history walk through the Beltline. Learn about the City’s fascinating LGBTQ2 past. The walk begins at 4:00 PM in Central Memorial Park (meet at the Boer War Memorial in the centre of the park) and ends at 5:30 PM at Lois Szabo Commons, a new city park celebrating LGBTQ2 history. Spaces are limited; please register in advance through Calgary Pride. Free event.
Friday, September 2, 7 PM
Our friends at The Calgary Institute for the Humanities presents the 4th Annual LGTBQ2S+ Lecture, featuring Dr. Jules Gill-Peterson. Titled: Trans Panic: A Global History, Dr. Gill-Peterson explores the history of violence against trans women. Where did it come from? And when did it arise? Letting go of a purely psychological lens, history shows that targeting trans femininity has been integral to colonial statecraft around the world for the past 150 years. On Zoom or in person at the Central Library. Reserve your spot: here. Free event.
Sunday, September 4, Noon
Our History Booth at the Calgary Pride Festival—Immediately following the Pride Parade on September 4, join us at Pride’s new festival venue – Fort Calgary. At our table there will be history artifacts, books, and ephemera as well as Project volunteers to answer questions and have conversations about Calgary’s Queer History. Sponsored by Calgary Pride. Free event. Stop by and say, “hi!” Happy Pride!
I have lived in the Beltline for most of my adult life, which has also been central to Calgary’s queer community for more than 50 years. Additionally, most historians I know are voracious readers. Consequently, it is no surprise that my favourite Beltline store is Shelf Life Books.
Shelf Life has an interesting queer history itself as the site of the former Parkside Continental gay bar. There is an excellent mural on the backside of the store by Kyle Simmers, that subtly evokes this history with the inclusion of the bar’s now iconic logo.
The book store has been the largest seller of my book, Our Past Matters, and has hosted yycgayhistory special events for which I am very grateful. They also stock the books of queer friends and colleagues. Pick up any book by Suzette Mayr, Vivek Shraya, or Rae Spoon and you won’t be disappointed. Sharanpal Ruprai, whom I adore as a person, writes books of poetry that sing, charm, and sizzle. They also carry more comprehensive Canadian queer history readers such as the Valerie Korinek’s Prairie Fairies and The ArQuives‘ recently published OutNorth.
In fact, all independent book stores in Calgary need our custom. Furthermore think hyperlocal—support Calgary authors by buying their books. If you need inspiration, there is no greater source than Shaun Hunter’s Calgary Reading Lists. She virtually single-handedly has created a canon of local literature, as well as a useful reader in Calgary Through the Eyes of Writers.
I am wishing all Calgarians a safe, happy, and restful holiday season. Take care of yourselves and each other—find joy in unexpected places. — Kevin
Parkside Love was a great success last week. Thanks to Shelf Life Books, and all the Calgarians who came out to share memories of the former Parkside Continental bar. It was a special place for many and formative for Calgary’s LGBTQ2 community.
Kevin Allen standing in front of the original window/artifact from the Parkside Continental – 1302 4 St. SW.
Speaking of Everett, we are working with the New Central Library on an exhibition in May to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada. If you have any thoughts on what should be included in that exhibition write to us at email@example.com.