YYC Gay History on the West Coast: Voices Carry

January is proving a busy month for the Calgary Gay History Project.  We would like to introduce two new volunteers on the project: Ayanna Smart and Nolan Hill.  Ayanna is sleuthing through old issues of the Body Politic, mining them for Calgary references and Nolan is focusing on the queer history at CJSW radio, 90.9 FM.

I (Kevin) will be on the West Coast during the last week of January, in Victoria on January 26th and Vancouver, January 27-30th.  The intent of the trip is to visit queer archives on the coast, such as the Univeristy of Victoria’s Transgender Archives as well as meet with former Calgarians who have resettled to lotus land, who can recall Calgary’s gay community from yesteryear.

If you know someone we should be meeting in either city, please contact the project so we can get in touch with them.

Over the holidays, mining my own personal history I was delighted to learn a queer history tidbit in one of my favourite 1980s new wave music videos: ’til tuesday’s Voices Carry.


The video delighted me as a 14-year old.  But it would have delighted me more if it had a same-sex storyline.  Apparently record executives shut down the female-female relationship plot line and recast it in a heterosexual mold.  The song seems to make more sense now, in retrospect, with this new revelation.

Finally, I am on holidays for the month of February, but the other Calgary Gay History Project researchers are stepping up to do the weekly posts on the website in my absence – give them lots of positive regard!


2014 in review & Edmonton Queer History Project

Happy New Year!  The WordPress.com stats helper generated a 2014 annual report for the Calgary Gay History Project website.  This was a record year for us.

One excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Also I would like to warmly thank the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation.  I received a letter on January 2nd with the good news of a research grant that will support the book project as well as travel to Victoria, Vancouver and Saskatoon to visit their queer archives.

Finally, I would like to give a shout out to our colleagues to the North who are working on the Edmonton Queer History Project, and an exciting initiative this month to harvest their stories and archival materials.


Calgary Gay History Project for 15 Year Olds

Earlier this year we were contacted by textbook publisher Nelson Education Ltd. They were working on a Grade 10 history publication, History Uncovered.  The textbook, designed for the Ontario public school curriculum wanted to cite our article   “Invisible: Queer Immigrants in the 1940s and 1950s” written by Calgary Gay History Project researcher Tereasa Maillie.

We said, “yes please!”

History Uncovered

A few weeks ago our copies of the textbooks came in the mail, and we were delighted to learn there was a presence with regard to gay rights throughout the publication.  History Uncovered reports on Everett Klippert and the decriminalization of homosexuality in 1969, same-sex marriage in 2005, as well as and the Delwin Vriend, Supreme Court verdict in 1998, which ‘read in’ sexual orientation as a protected ground in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

I recall a much different Grade 10 Social Studies class in 1985; we had no presence in the textbooks to speak of!  How thrilling to see our project become part of school curriculum.

On the subject of gratitude, the Calgary Gay History Project wishes all of our readers and supporters happy holidays.  We look forward to connecting with you again in 2015!