On Being Different

The Kickstarter Campaign was not only a fundraiser for the book project but also an awareness raiser for the work the Calgary Gay History Project is doing.  We have been contacted a number of times in the last couple of weeks, to invite us to create public gay history presentations and/or propose opportunities to collaborate.  At the moment we are pursuing all of them – stay tuned.

However, after a quieter week reflecting on the past month, my husband and I found ourselves in our local independent bookstore, Shelf Life.  Sitting on a shelf at eye-level a book popped out at me.  It was a slim reprinted Penguin Classics edition of Merle Miller’s, On Being Different: What it Means to Be Homosexual.

On Being Different

The article, “What It Means to Be a Homosexual” was published in the the New York Times on January 17th, 1971 – just a few weeks after I was born – and quickly became a watershed essay for the decade.  The New York Times received more than 2,000 letters in response to the article (more than ever received by that newspaper).   The article, with extra material written by Miller, was published later that year as a book.  Miller became a spokesman for the gay rights movement and it also sensitized the nascent gay liberation movement about the important, political nature of coming out.

Miller reflecting on the article wrote, “…There it was, out at last, and if it seems like nothing very much, I can only say that it took a long time to say it, to be able to say it, and none of the journey was easy…”

In the last month I have been saying thank you a lot.  I have one more.  Thank you, Merle.

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Us on Alberta Primetime & Thank you!

We successfully concluded the Kickstarter Campaign on Monday, reaching our stretch goal, and ending with $20,051 of pledges from 163 backers.  We are extremely grateful at the generosity of this community and honoured by your faith in this project.  We have been contacted this week by some people who missed the Kickstarter deadline for donating.  If you are in the same boat and still would like to contribute, please contact us directly.

Monday night also, CTV’s Alberta Primetime featured the campaign in a televised interview.  You can watch host Shawna Randolph’s interview with Research Lead, Kevin Allen by clicking on the image below.

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Earlier in June, Alberta Primetime’s other host, Michael Higgins, interviewed Calgary Gay History Project Researcher, Tereasa Maillie, along with Edmonton’s Darrin Hagen in connection to Edmonton’s 2014 Pride Celebrations.  Take a look!

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Queer Mirror and Kickstarter Update

There is a new column in BeatRoute Magazine, titled Queer Mirror, which we are writing looking at contemporary issues and events in Calgary’s queer community.  The first article is about pronoun use in the trans community.  If you have ideas for future topics, please give us a shout.  In 20 years these articles will become part of our historical record.

The Kickstarter campaign is going well: we met our first financial goal and are en route to the second: $20,000.  There are only 4 more days left to pledge.  A couple of the Calgary Gay History Project researchers and collaborators have made videos in support of the campaign.  The videos are not only testimonials but mini YYC queer history documentaries in their own right.  Take a look!

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