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!

Stephen Lock: 2014 Chinook Fund Hero

The Calgary Chinook Fund is an endowment fund housed at the Calgary Foundation which grants money to local LGBTQ organizations, and has been active since 2001.  In 2013 the organizing committee launched its first community hero award, given to Delwin Vriend, whose court case in 1998 protected sexual minorities from discrimination across the country.

Then, in this October, I was delighted to present the award to another individual who fought tirelessly for our rights here in the city, and in the process created a lot of Calgary Gay History: Stephen Lock.

Stephen Lock at the Chinook Fund Cabaret, October 23, 2014.

Stephen Lock at the Chinook Fund Cabaret, October 23, 2014.

Here was my speech:

“Hi. My name is Kevin Allen, one of the volunteers on the steering committee for the Chinook Fund. It is my honour to present our annual community hero award. This is our second annual presentation of the award, which has been lovingly made by glass artist Phillip Bandura and his collective Bee Kingdom.

Last year the Chinook Fund Community Hero Award was given to our special guest Delwin Vriend, and this year we have another special guest with us: Stephen Lock.

Stephen came out in 1979 and soon became deeply involved with Gay Information and Resources Calgary (GIRC), our first community centre. One of his highlights at GIRC was helping to organize the 1980 National Conference of Lesbians and Gay Men held at the University of Calgary.

Stephen was also involved in the next incarnation of the gay community centre: Gay Lines Calgary and coordinated the organization for 11 years.  Through his involvement with Gay Lines, Stephen helped found a number of LGBTQ organizations.

  • AIDS Calgary
  • Calgary Lesbian and Gay Political Action Guild (CLAGPAG) (which began the Pride Celebrations in Calgary in the early 90s – now run by Pride Calgary).
  • Alberta Rockies Gay Rodeo Association
  • The Gay and Lesbian Community/Police Liaison Committee
  • Calgary Men’s Chorus
  • Calgary Chapter of the National Leather Association,
  • The annual Ides of March Leather/SM/Fetish workshop weekend
  • Goliath’s Defence Fund following the raid on Goliath’s by Calgary Police (2002)

I, myself, first encountered Stephen on CJSW Radio. He was volunteering for a gay and lesbian radio show called “Speak Sebastian:” which eventually he took the reign on, producing and hosting the show for 14 years.

Following the raid on Goliath’s Sauna-tel and his involvement in fighting it, he was approached to become the Regional Co-Director for the Prairies, NWT and Nunavut region of Egale Canada and was elected to that position 3 years running. It was at that time that Egale along with Canadians for Equal Marriage managed to convince the Federal Government to legalize same-sex marriage in Canada in 2005.

He has written for many of Calgary’s gay publications over the past 35 years and has had an ongoing column in Gay Calgary Magazine for 10 years, since it began.

Surprisingly I have cut out a lot of accolades and accomplishments to get this onto one page. But surely you are now as impressed as I am with respect to Stephen’s worthiness for this award. Stephen, we thank you very much for your tireless commitment to your community and would like to present you this award with our sincere gratitude.”

Stephen then received a standing ovation and gave a gracious acceptance speech, visibly moved by the moment.  Thank you Stephen again!

Just us, and not only them

Last Friday, we piloted a new gay history tour of the University of Calgary campus.  Thanks to Professor Nancy Janovicek, who invited us to do the tour for her History Studies 300 class (and posted the below photos to Twitter).  Although we salaciously began the tour in the infamous men’s cruising washroom from campus’ early days, we ended the tour in the newly designed Q Centre, a resource hub for the University’s LGBTQA population.
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Kevin Allen in the infamous bathroom

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Nolan Hill at the Q Centre

Nolan Hill, a U of C History student, who volunteers for the Calgary Gay History Project, concluded the walk with a Q Centre orientation.  In addition, he is preparing for his own queer history presentation next week about CJSW.

Here is his pitch:

“CJSW 90.9 FM has been a beacon of alternative, independent and radical voices on Calgary airwaves for over 40 years. In the past 20 or so years, you might have heard the classic “First Dyke on Dynasty”, segments on lesbian life, features on butt plugs, and an hour of “Just us, and not always them”. Do you remember these?

Whether you do or you don’t, come to the Q Centre at the University of Calgary (MacEwan Student Centre 210) on Tuesday December 9th from 12-1 for a lunch and learn presentation. The presentation will be all about the history of LGBTQ programming at CJSW, led by Nolan Hill. Nolan will be giving an overview of some of his research on the topic. Be sure to check it out, and learn more about gay history on the airwaves of Calgary.”

{KA & NH}