Club Carousel Cabaret March 28th

The Calgary Gay History Project is pleased to be working with One Voice Chorus (OVC) in their presentation of CLUB CAROUSEL on Saturday, March 28, 2015 at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Church of Calgary, 1703 – 1st St. NW.

(To catch a preview of one of the songs in the concert check out this evening’s Coming Out Monologues downtown at the John Dutton Theatre (March 20th.))

OVC writes, “Club Carousel may have long since shut its doors, but the courage and vision it took to found Calgary’s first gay club still resonates today. One Voice Chorus, Calgary’s mixed-voice choir for LGBTQ singers and their straight and cisgender allies, pays tribute to a piece of our city’s queer history with a concert featuring popular dance music from the era (1968-74).

‘With this concert, we aim to celebrate these gay and lesbian heroes who were building safe space for the queer community,’ says OVC’s Artistic Director, Jane Perry.  ‘They paved the way for community organizations like One Voice Chorus, and I feel we owe them a debt of thanks.  The choristers and I look forward to telling their collective story in music and in narration.'”

Calgary Gay History Project’s, Kevin Allen, will be narrating the concert describing the life and times of Club Carousel and its patrons.  We hope you can join us!

Tickets: $20 regular * $15 student/senior * children 12 and under free!

Available online at, from choir members, and at:

New Age Books and Crystals (142–10 St. NW)

Shelf Life Books (1302 4 St. SW)


Gauntlet Mining finds History Gems

The University of Calgary Student Press, 1970-1980: From Anonymous Classified Ads to Gay Liberation Op-Eds to Gay Academic Union as a Part of Campus Life

As the Criminal Code changes that decriminalized private same-sex acts between consenting adults in Canada went into effect in August 1969, the legal struggle against discrimination, for full civil and human rights of sexual minorities and for social and political change in Canada was just beginning. The 1970s are often called a formative age of queer activism: a time of gay and lesbian liberation movements, changing mores about sexuality in general, of a forging of a more visible community of people identifying by their sexual orientation, building upon but moving away from underground queer subcultures (as discussed in an earlier post on The Body Politic).

We looked at over ten years (1969-1980) of the University of Calgary student newspaper, The Gauntlet, to deepen our understanding of Calgary’s gay and lesbian history during this turbulent decade, and explore the role that the University and its student press played, providing a space for debate, but also for reaching out, support and organizing around an emerging advocacy agenda.


The Gauntlet Classified Ads – 1972

Despite the Gauntlet’s uneven editorial tone and often flawed reporting, as well as many omissions of landmark moments in gay and lesbian activism of the 1970s, a look at its writing from this decade still reveals important aspects of gay and lesbian history in the city. Moreover, it testifies to the role that the University of Calgary played as a public space, where early gay activism, as well as debate on some of the defining national gay and lesbian issues of the decade took place.

Read the full essay: here.


Queers in Sport: A new human rights frontier?

There has been a lot of cultural teeth gnashing over homophobia in sport in recent years.  Although queers have exited the closet in vast numbers in the last 30 years, the world of sport has remained a troubled space for queer athletes.  The tide is turning however, and the sports world has begun to reflect internally on homophobia and how its norms and expectations have created barriers to diversity.

High profile professional athletes have been coming out of the closet in dribs and drabs sometimes provoking a backlash within the establishment.  For example, last year Calgary Stampeder, Maurice Price, tweeted offensive comments linked to Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted by an NFL team.  The team quickly distanced themselves from the tweet and Price was later fined by the CFL.

Nevertheless, locally we are making great strides in tackling this human rights frontier.  Brian Burke, the Calgary Flames President of Hockey Operations, started the You Can Play project in 2012 with the aim of eliminating homophobia in sport.   Both the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta have designated academic resources towards this area – in fact, just this week the U of A released a video announcing its You Can Play partnership.  {In a small-world-strange-twist, the video was produced by my brother, Jeff Allen, who runs an Edmonton video production company.}

Universities continue to be in the vanguard in pushing for our rights and visibility as a community.  We will be exploring this theme further at our U of C presentation next Thursday.  Please join us.