Browse Exhibits (16 total)
The Letros and St. Charles were two of the first popular gay bars in Toronto. These spaces were a safehaven for drag queens and genderqueer people, as until 2017 in Canada there was no protection for men who dress in women's clothing.
Due to the lack of protection under the law, cross dressers were regularly arrested and harassed by police. The exception to this rule was on Halloween, when men dressing as women was considered socially acceptable.
In the '50s, '60s, and '70s, the Letros and St. Charles Taverns would host annual drag balls, which attracted huge crowds. These crowds eventually became violent towards the drag queens and other patrons to the gay bars, making this gay-bashing an annual Halloween ritual.
The violent behaviour of Torontonians, the degree of police involvement, and the participation of the queer community in protecting their peers is very reflective of the politics and climate of Toronto during the height of the gay rights movement.
This exhibit explores the critical work that queer, trans, and two-spirited family photos do in documenting and creating queer modes of belonging, and how our emotional attachments to queer family photographs have also sustained LGBTQ2+ lives.
Teo kissing her son, Matthew
Gift of Teo Owang
Courtesy of the Family Camera Network and the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives
This exhibit presents the work of an oral history project, conducted in 2016, focussing on the 1998 delisting and 2008 re-listing of coverage for gender confirmation. Inside you can find the reflections of 7 activists, community members, and politicians about their work advocating for the trans community during this time.
[January 10, 2019: this exhibition is in process; if you have questions, please contact Elspeth Brown at email@example.com]
The Cabbagetown Group Softball League (CGSL) was founded in 1977 by a group of baseball enthusiasts who had gathered informally to play at public diamonds around Toronto since 1975. Many of the CGSL's founding members were activists in Toronto's gay liberation movement. The league's mandate was to provide an opportunity for members of the LGBTQ community and their supporters to play organized sports in a positive atmosphere. The league motto was "Gay Pride Through Sports". While the primary goal of the CGSL was to promote gay fellowship, it was also hoped that the league would serve as a means of bridge-building across ideological divides.
A collection of early records created by members of the league's executive committee, known as the CGSL fonds, can be consulted at the CLGA where it is designated by its fonds number, F0036. These records include meeting minutes, financial documents, correspondence, event memorabilia, promotional films, photographs, uniforms and button badges. The following exhibit is a representational sampling of the types of records and documentary themes included in the CGSL fonds and available for viewing and research purposes at the CLGA. It should be noted that a few of the documents in this exhibit derive from other fonds or collections at the CLGA that contain related records.
The CLGA would like to thank Jack Brannigan, the donor of the majority of the records in the CGSL fonds, for his invaluable assistance in providing contextual information for the documents, which made this exhibit all the richer. If you played on a team in the CGSL, please consider donating your records to the CLGA.
Toronto’s Desh Pardesh festival (1988–2001) was a multidisciplinary arts festival that showcased underrepresented and marginalized voices within the South Asian diaspora. These oral history interviews with artists and organizers involved in the festival were created by the South Asian Visual Arts Centre in 2016.
Credits: Created by students Amal Khurram and Alisha Krishna for the the LGBTQ Oral History Digital Collaboratory. The Collaboratory is directed by Dr. Elspeth Brown and funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
gendertrash is a zine/periodical “devoted to the issues & concerns of transsexuals.” Its four issues were published by Mirha-Soleil Ross and Xanthra Phillippa MacKay in Toronto from 1993-1995.
Click on the links at the side for more information on the history of gendertrash and related archival holdings in the Mirha-Soleil Ross fonds.
Digital collection by Sid Cunningham, Caleigh Inman, and MacKenzie Stewart.
Created in collaboration with the LGBTQ Oral History Digital Collaboratory. The Collaboratory is directed by Dr. Elspeth Brown and funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
Nancy Nicol is a documentary filmmaker who has dedicated her career to tracing the history of the LGBTQ movements in Canada and around the world. She has worked as a professor in visual studies since 1989 at York University. However, her career as a filmmaker started in the 1970s with experimental films, but by the 1980s Nicol’s work focused on documentary film addressing political issues including pro-choice struggles for access to abortion, unions, and the working struggles of women and migrants. By the 2000s her films changed focus to the history of lesbian and gay rights from the 1970s to the 2010s.
The exhibit in particular showcases shorts and excerpts from the award-winning documentary series From Criminality to Equality which includes Stand Together (2002), The Queer Nineties(2009), Politics of the Heart(2005) and, The End of Second Class (2006). Director Nancy Nicol brings to life 40 years of lesbian and gay rights movement history in Canada, through the voices of activists, community leaders, and human rights lawyers, combined with a rich resource of rarely seen archival materials. The films trace the emergence of gay liberation, the struggles for human and civil rights, recognition of same-sex relationship and parenting rights and same sex marriage. The work provides an in-depth study of the complex relations between social movement activism, legal and political change, and the capacity of ordinary people to take up extraordinary challenges to overcome injustice. It is an extended case study on the history of a social movement, a movement that emerged out of conditions of criminality and profound social exclusion.
In addition to the series From Criminality to Equality are shorts and excerpts from Nicol’s other films including Proud Lives: Chris Bearchell (2007), Proud Lives: George Hislop (2005), Gay Pride and Prejudice (1994), Making the Political Appear, Black Queer Histories of Organizing (2006), From Russia, in Love (2009), and Pride and Resistance (2007).
This digital exhibition is designed to highlight the work of Rupert Raj, an important trans activist whose papers are held by CLGA. Highlights of this donation include materials relating to the three trans-related publications Raj founded and edited in the 1980s; correspondence with other trans people, medical professionals, and activists; research on phalloplasty and other trans issues; personal scrapbooks and photographs; books and AV materials.
Rupert Raj is a Eurasian (East Indian and Polish) pansexual trans man who came out in 1971 in the queer community of Ottawa. He provided peer-counseling, research and education for transsexual men and women and their significant others, as well as for the medical/health communities of Ottawa, Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto between 1971-1990. He founded several trans organizations, including: 1) Foundation for the Advancement of Canadian Transsexuals (FACT); 2) Metamorphosis Medical Research Foundation (MMRF Dec. 1981-May 1988); and 3) Gender Worker (1987, which changed its name in 1989 to Gender Consultants, with his wife Michelle Raj-Gauthier as partner; closed in 1990). He also founded three transsexual publications: 1) Gender Review: the FACTual Journal (1978-81, Calgary/Toronto); 2) Metamorphosis Newsletter/Metamorphosis Magazine 1982-88, Toronto); and 3) Gender NetWorker (2 issues, Toronto, 1988, directed towards helping professionals and resource providers). In June 1999 he co-founded a peer-support group for transsexual men and transsexual women at the 519 Community Centre in Toronto. Rupert has recently retired from his position as a psychotherapist at Toronto's Sherbourne Health Centre, where has had worked in the LGBT Program.
Raj founded the Association for Canadian Transsexuals (A.C.T.) in the late-1970s, when living in Vancouver. In January 1978, while living in Calgary, Raj founded F.A.C.T: the Foundation for the Advancement of Canadian Transsexuals (F.A.C.T) as a lobbying and educational organization on behalf of trans people, with Raj as founding Director, Kyle J. Spooner as Associate Director, and Chris E. Black as Secretary Treasurer. On July 1, 1979, Raj moved the organization’s “head office” from Calgary to Toronto, while various colleagues participated from Calgary, Winnipeg, Montreal, Ottawa, Hamilton, Kitchener and London, ON. As of April 1980 F.A.C.T. was under the management of Susan Huxford and the HQ moved to Rexdale, ON, while Raj remained involved in various capacities, including as editor of Gender Review (ending this in December 1981). (At some point between 1981 and 1986, Huxford changed the name of the organization to the Federation of American and Canadian Transsexuals (also known as F.A.C.T.). Raj was the Toronto Liaison Officer for F.A.C.T from 1985-1987, while running the Metamorphosis Medical Research Foundation. After Raj moved to Toronto and began his publication Metamorphosis (in February 1982), he relinquished his role in publishing Gender Review.
Metamorphosis was founded by Raj in early 1982 as a bi-monthly newsletter; its first issue came out in February of that year. It was a “newsletter Exclusively for F-M men” (with an intended readership among their families, wives/girlfriends, as well as professionals and “para professionals interested in female TSism”); the newsletter presents a more specific focus than FACT’s broader activist mandate. By the third issue, the newsletter averaged around 8 pages, whereas in 1986, most issues were 24 pages. The last issue was in 1988.
Gender NetWorker was founded by Raj in 1988, with its first of two issues appearing in June of 1988 and the second in August (or September) 1988. This publication was directed specifically towards “helping professionals and resource providers.” Raj wrote that he wanted to facilitate a communication network between professional and lay providers, to bring together trans people and the medical and health professionals who worked with trans populations.
Oral histories have been a popular way to preserve the lives and testimonies of marginalized subjects who have often been denied access to the historical record. This exhibit is a small selection of the CLGA's collection of oral histories and audiovisual materials relating to LGBTQ2+ lives in Canada.
Some of these histories have been collected as part of formal oral history projects, while others have resulted from interviews for news articles or other projects. Together they provide a rich picture of life in Canada for LGBT people from the 1950s to the 1970s, covering topics such as interviewees' early lives and coming out, bar culture, social services, activism, municipal and national politics, HIV/AIDS, and intra-community tensions.
These cassette tapes have been digitized by the LGBTQ+ Oral History Digital Collaboratory in order to preserve them and make them available online.