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 (2 total)

Trans Activism and Ontario Health Care Coverage for Gender Confirming Surgery, 1998-2008

This oral history project focuses on the 1998 delisting and 2008 re-listing of coverage for gender confirmation surgery under Ontario's health care plan. A total of 8 interviews were conducted with 7 activists, community members, and politicians who shared rich reflections about their work and engagement with community, as well as with policy-makers and government institutions. 

All narrators share details of their personal and professional lives throughout the 1990s and 2000s, especially as it pertains to the LGBTQ+ rights movement and the transgender community in Ontario. These individuals had led the fight for LGBTQ+ rights in Ontario well before the 1998 delisting of GCS, an event which galvanized the fight for transgender equality under diverse aspects of provincial law. As such, they speak passionately about the need to push strategically to fight for trans people's access to quality health care.  

Interviews can be found in the 'Oral Histories' section on the menu to the right. The section 'History of GCS in Ontario' compiles the anecdotes of narrators to trace the history of gender confirmation surgery in Ontario, including details about how it operated before the delisting, the struggle during the decade without coverage, as well as a brief history of the transgender rights movement in Ontario in the 1990s and 2000s. A gallery of related photographs, newspaper clippings, and other visual material can be found under the respective title. These sections are accompanied by a glossary which explains some terms and acronyms frequently used throughout this project.

Through these interviews, we can learn more about how and why the decade between 1998-2008 was such a significant component of Canadian trans history, and how it provided impetus for many of the major positive changes that have occurred since these events. They also provide interesting reflections on the combination of trans and LGBTQ politics, on formal political processes and contexts, and on trans community relationships and issues.

[August 13, 2018: this exhibition is in process; if you have questions, please contact Elspeth Brown at elspeth.brown@utoronto.ca]

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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.

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