CLGA Digital Collections

CLGA's Digital Collections

Explore highlights from the CLGA’s collections of personal and organizational papers, artefacts, ephemera and more!

Browse Exhibits (12 total)

Mapping Foolscap

IMG_1153.jpg
Between 1981-1987, John Grube and Lionel Collier collected oral histories of earlier gay life in Toronto. Known as the “Foolscap Oral History Project,” or the “Toronto Gay History Project,” this enterprise produced nearly 100 interviews with Canadian gay men born in the first half of the twentieth century, who had spent most of their lives in Toronto. 
 
Drawing on Collier and Grube’s interviews, the digital exhibit “Mapping Foolscap” provides insights into the Toronto gay scene prior to the gay liberation movement by locating the places where homosexual men gathered, cruised, and socialized between the 1940s and the late 1960s.
 
Credits
 
Digital Collection by Juan Carlos Mezo and Zohar Freeman
 
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.

, , , , , , , , , , ,

Gendertrash

f0033-4-21_tssisterhood.jpg

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 here to go to the interactive order form, where you can read full issues of gendertrash and look at buttons sold by genderpress.

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 Collection

collage-Nicolcollection-V4flatcropped-sm2.jpg
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).

, , , , , , , , ,

Rupert Raj and Trans Activism, 1973-1988

Rupert Raj 1970s.jpg

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.

, , , , ,

LGBTQ+ Oral Histories

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 LGBT 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.

, , , , , , , , ,

Foolscap Oral History Project

The Foolscap Oral History Project, also known as the Toronto Gay History Project, was undertaken by John Grube and Lionel Collier in order to collect and preserve histories of everyday gay life and social culture in pre-Stonewall Toronto. The project material from John Grube, recently donated to CLGA by James Dubro, includes 42 interviews on 52 cassette tapes that provide a rich picture of the lives and histories of men in their circle. 

Interviews took place from 1981-1987, and cover gay life in Toronto from the 1940s until that time. Topics include the men's early life, coming out, relationships, friendships, sex lives, careers, military service, community organizing, political actions, religion, bar culture, and experiences with psychiatry.

The tapes and transcripts comprising the Foolscap Project were donated to the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives in 2016, and are currently being processed by the LGBTQ Oral History Digital Collaboratory (Prof. Elspeth Brown, University of Toronto, PI).

, , , , , , , , ,

LGBTQ+ Buttons

cb230.jpg

Though small, buttons and pins communicated pivotal concerns of the LGBTQ+ community to the world. With the earliest item dating to 1977, the buttons in this collection speak to issues in human rights, health, and politics up to the 2010s.

 

 

, , , ,

Wearing History: A Collection of LGBTQ+ T-Shirts

DSC_0419.jpg

T-shirts were an important medium of expression for the LGBTQ+ community; allowing subcultures to demonstrate what they stood for and expand their membership, and giving organizations the chance to raise awareness for issues like AIDS and homophobia. T-shirts and dresses also provided a simple but effective way for queers to showcase their pride in themselves and their nonconformity.

 

 

, , , ,

LGBTQ+ Tabloid Newspapers

Flash-1950-08-08-a.jpg

A collection of newspaper clippings on LGBTQ+ people as represented in the media of the 1950s and 1960s, including articles and columns discussing the way this community was viewed and the way it was persecuted, ultimately tracking changes in the discourse on sexual diversity.

 

,

National Portrait Collection

BagaresE-090-300x460.jpg

The National Portrat Collection was established in 1998 with 25 original portraits, and coincided with our 25th anniversary. Since then, the collection has grown to 75 portraits of various mediums that include photography, oil and watercolour. We are committed to continuous expansion of the Collection, thereby actively engaging in the creation of our own historical record. Community members may nominate an individual for the NPC at any time; no more than 3 new inductees are selected each year. For more information, please contact the CLGA directly. 

The Collection is regularly exhibited in our home in Toronto as well as at other venues across Canada, in celebration of all LGBT communities. The Collection is also available to organzations and businesses on loan. If you are interested in showing a selection of portraits, please contact us directly to enquire about our NPC loan program.