Tag Archives: Transgender Archives

Victoria: Trans History Recap

We had a stimulating three days of exploring trans identity and trans history at the University of Victoria’s Moving Trans History Forward 2016 conference, March 17-20.Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 10.41.55 AMThe conference was a grounding in important dates, personalties, and terminology in the transgender community. It also touched on current issues such as the need for preservation of trans histories and the status of trans materials in larger queer collections such as at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives (CLGA).

Academics, community activists, artists and historians created a stimulating jam-packed event. And like at most conferences, some of the most interesting conversations were with the person you found yourself sitting beside at lunch. One highlight was learning about the Transvengers web comic.  A collaborative project between trans youth and researchers at the University of Exeter, that saw the youth interact fantastically with sexologists from the past.

We were delighted to learn that there will be a trans history exhibition at the Nickle Galleries at the University of Calgary this June. Called Trans Trans, the show will explore the influence of Magnus Hirschfeld on Alfred Kinsey through images found in the Kinsey archive and others in popular culture. Trans Trans is curated by U of C history professor Annette Timm, and her academic partners, Michael Taylor (Portland, Oregon) and Rainer Herrn (Berlin, Germany).

We talked to trans activist, Rupert Raj, about his time in 1970’s Calgary, and his association with the Gender Identity clinic at the Foothills Hospital. Following the conference, we found sources in UVic’s Transgender Archives about the physicians who ran the clinic as well as more on the early days in Calgary of the Foundation for the Advancement of Canadian Transsexuals (FACT).

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Researchers: Kevin, Carter, Demetrios and Son at the UVic Trans Archives post-conference


Trans History in YYC

In June 1978, a national Trans publication was began in Calgary. Called Gender Review: A FACTual Journal, it was the publication of the Foundation for the Advancement of Canadian Transsexuals (FACT), which began in January of the same year. The non-profit organization focussed on public education of gender dysphoria.

Gender Review‘s premier issue had an article  on “Transsexual Oppression” about Montrealer Inge Stephens; information about transsexual resources; news items such as trans woman Canary Conn’s appearance on the Phil Donahue show; and a listing of books and articles by and about trans people.

The founding president of FACT was Rupert Raj, who moved the organization and publication to Toronto in July 1979.  Raj has gone on to be a leading Trans activist and  educator in Ontario and Canada and in 2013 was inducted into the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives (CLGA) National Portrait Collection.  His personal records are also housed at the CLGA as the Rupert Raj Trans* Collection.

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The University of Victoria’s Moving Trans History Forward 2016 conference’s concluding event is a Founders Panel, on Sunday March 20th from 9:30 AM – noon.  Raj will be one of five panellists.  Unlike other conference events the Founders Panel is free and open to the public – we hope to see you there.


Club Carousel Concert Highlights & Other News

We had two packed houses at One Voice Chorus’ Club Carousel concert last weekend, and a dozen former Club Carousel members were in attendance.  Nick de Vos, a Club Carousel alumnus and photographer, took the pictures below.


Calgary Gay History Project’s Kevin Allen provided history narration between choral moments.


Club Carousel Alumni, Nick de Vos and Lois Szabo, with Kevin Allen.


One Voice Chorus receiving standing ovation from audience.


Gavin Caldwell (Piano), Kevin Allen, Lois Szabo (Club Carousel Founder) and Jane Perry (Artistic Director, One Voice Chorus) in front of the recreated Club Carousel logo.

It was a magical day, and the Calgary Hay History Project would like to thank One Voice Chorus for focusing on our city’s gay history in their artistic programming.

In other news, our colleague in queer history, Dr. Aaron Devor, the founder and academic director of the Transgender Archives at the University of Victoria, let us know that their publication, The Transgender Archives: Foundations for the Future, is now a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award in the category of LGBT Nonfiction.  Click on the book link for a free PDF copy; it is an absorbing read and exploration of trans histories.

The 27th Annual Lambda Literary Awards–or the “Lammys,” as they are affectionately known–kick off another record-breaking year with the announcement of the finalists. They were chosen from a record 818 submissions from 407 publishers.  The winners will be announced at a gala ceremony on Monday evening, June 1, 2015 in New York City.

Lethbridge-based artist and curator Leila Armstrong, is looking to fill her Cabinet of Queeriosities with an open call for submissions.  This is the third Queeriosities exhibition, celebrating LGBTQ history, identity, culture, and pride through a diverse range of subject matters and approaches.  Let all of the queer artists and historians in your network know that they have until June to submit.

In closing, I will leave you with the final poem of the Club Carousel concert, sourced from the Club’s September 1973 newsletter and written by the editor.

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Carousel Capers (Sept. 1973) Back Cover