Tag Archives: bisexual

Spotlight on YYC Gay History

It is with some excitement that we announce the Calgary Gay History Project getting a public profile boost this Autumn.

The short film, GROSS INDECENCY: THE EVERETT KLIPPERT STORYwe produced with director Laura O’Grady and Spotlight Productions, has been accepted into the Calgary International Film Festival (which opens tonight). It is screening three times, on September 22, 24, and 30. The latter being the “Best of Shorts” program at the festival – we are very honoured.

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Click the caption to watch the film on YouTube

Kevin Allen has been invited to be the very first Historian in Residence at the new Central Library opening downtown on November 1, 2018. It is a three-month community engagement residency that supports individual historians and researchers working in any genre related to Calgary’s social, cultural and built history.

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The New Central Library

Kevin will be working in a bright, designated office space on the fourth floor of the new Central Library and will engage with the public through programs such as open office hours, interactive workshops, and lectures.

As part of the residency, Kevin will curate an exhibit at the Library which will be displayed in May 2019. The residency program is a partnership between the Calgary Public Library and the Calgary Heritage Authority.

If any Calgary Gay History Project readers have programming ideas for the residency, please email Kevin at calgarygayhistory@gmail.com.

Enjoy the fall colours!

{KA}

Pride in the City!

It has been a momentous couple of weeks for LGBTQ2 history in Calgary, Alberta.

On July 27, 2018, the Calgary Police Service formally apologized to Calgary’s gender and sexually diverse community. In their official statement, they cited their historic opposition to Bill C-150 and said: “after the law changed our organization struggled to embrace the new direction and evolve.”

Bill C-150, of course, was the decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada and a subject of our new film: Gross Indecency: The Everett Klippert Story. The documentary short has racked up thousands of views since it launched on July 31. It also garnered some thoughtful media coverage. Thank you, everyone, for the flood of positive regard that has been filling my inbox and social media accounts.

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On August 2, the Calgary Gay History Project along with Sage Theatre and playwright Natalie Meisner received a Calgary Heritage Authority Lion Award for the spring 2018 production of Legislating Love. We were very honoured.

Lion Awards

Actors Matt McKinney & Kathy Zaborsky, Director Jason Mehmel, and Historians Kevin Allen & Tereasa Maillie accepting the Lion!

Calgary Pride is just around the corner. The Calgary Gay History Project has partnered with Calgary Outlink to present an Intergenerational Tea on Saturday, August 25 from 12:30 – 2:30 PM at Memorial Park Library, followed by a Beltline Gay History Walk from 2:30 – 4:00 PM. This event is free and part of Pride in Vic Park, a multi-generational, inclusive and educational event to celebrate Pride Week in Calgary. We are looking for a $300 donation to cover the event food (tax receipt available). Email me at calgarygayhistory@gmail.com if you are feeling generous.

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And if you have more time than money, Calgary Pride needs to fill up their volunteer roster for their incredible ever-growing festival. You can sign up: here. All volunteers get swag!

Finally, we will have a history booth at Pride in the Park again this year on Sunday, September 2. After the parade, come over to talk to us about all things historical!

{KA}

 

Queer History Summer Read

If you have noticed the dearth of blog postings this summer, it is due to a preoccupation with the Calgary Gay History book project. I am working on copy edits and finalizing photos for publication! Hooray!

Speaking of books, I read a queer history classic recently, called The Well of Loneliness, published 90 years ago this month (July 1928). Written by the outspoken lesbian, Radclyffe Hall, the book is partly autobiographical. Radclyffe Hall lived scandalously then with Una Troubridge, the estranged wife of an Admiral, in an openly lesbian relationship.

Well of Lonliness cover

The Well of Loneliness Book Cover

Famously, the book was the target of a negative PR campaign by newspaper editor James Douglas, who famously wrote, “I would rather give a healthy boy or a healthy girl a vial of prussic acid than this novel.” It created such a stir that the book was banned in the U.K and led to an obscenity trial.

Radclyffe Hall’s contemporaries in the Bloomsbury Set, a group of associated English writers, intellectuals, philosophers, and artists – many queers amongst them – defended the book on censorship grounds but thoroughly disliked it as an artwork. Virginia Woolf said it was a: “pale tepid vapid book which lay damp & slab all about the court.” This perturbed Radclyffe Hall who boldly insisted that they defend The Well as a work of significant artistic merit or not defend it at all!

The scandals and trials publicized the work extensively, making it sell like hotcakes internationally. It was actively smuggled and sold contraband (at inflated prices) in the UK.

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Radclyffe Hall

I liked The Well and found it a perfect summer read. The narrative is a captivating window on queer culture in 1920s London and Paris and is breathtakingly courageous given its context. I grant that the author’s style takes a chapter or two to get used to, but once in, I found the book fascinating.

Radclyffe Hall had high hopes for this work. She considered it a pioneer novel with three purposes:

To encourage inverts* to face-up to a hostile world in their true colours and this with dignity and courage.

To spur all classes of inverts to make good through hard work, faithful and loyal attachments and sober and useful living.

To bring normal men and women of good will to a fuller and more tolerant understanding of the inverted.

The book has had lasting power and is often included in lists of queer literary classics: Radclyffe Hall’s noble aims ultimately realized.

*Invert was the term Radclyffe Hall used to refer to homosexuals, coined by the physician and human sexuality researcher, Havelock Ellis.

{KA}