Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Book Launch: Sex, Drugs and Olympic Gold!

Now that we have your attention!

The CLGA invites you to a book launch celebration for Helen Lenskyj's new publication that explores the ways in which the Olympic industry has shaped our understanding of masculinities and femininities. 
Gender Politics and the Olympic Industry identifies and analyses the historical and contemporary connections between the Olympic industry and gender, taking into account the variables of social class, race/ethnicity and sexuality. For more than 100 years, the Olympic industry has controlled global sport and shaped hegemonic concepts of sporting masculinities and femininities for its own profit- and image-making ends. The potential for exploitation and co-optation of women and disadvantaged minorities is great; the benefits few by comparison. The Olympics have a long and disturbing history of marginalizing women, Black people and people of colour, athletes from developing countries, and sexual minorities. Successful alternatives organized by these groups demonstrate that other ways of doing sport and doing gender are both possible and preferable.For more information, visit the Palgrave Macmillan website here.
Join us this Friday, December 14 from 5-6PM at the CLGA. Open to all.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Washington is getting a new LGBT Museum!

An organization called the Velvet Foundation is in the process of creating a National LGBT Museum. They claim that it will be the first of its kind, though the GLBT History Museum in San Francisco might beg to differ. At any rate, this looks like it will be a much larger institution that will include an archives/research centre, a theatre, and a martini bar (!) in addition to exhibition spaces. From their website:

"The museum is dedicated to sharing the heritage of LGBT people, a story that unites millions of women and men but is rarely represented in mainstream museums. Developed and sustained by the Velvet Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization, the Museum is located in the District of Columbia, where the LGBT story can most effectively reach a national and international audience." 

This looks like a great project, and I especially love their list of tips for people wanting to conserve their materials at home.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Matt Gould on queer art & the CLGA

Matt Gould
Check out Matt Gould's new article in the Huffington Post on queer art, the Body Politic, and the CLGA!

Matt is an award-winning multi-disciplinary artist who has created and exhibited works on paper, canvas and in textile for over thirty years. His work can be found in numerous private, public and corporate collections in Canada, the United States and Europe and including the University of Athabasca, The University of Alberta, Manulife Insurance Company and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.

We are proud to celebrate Matt's work with his upcoming CLGA exhibition, "words, wit, wisdom and wool." Mark your calendars. The exhibition opens December 7th. Stay tuned for more details.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween is SO GAY! Happy Halloween from the CLGA!

Every October 31st, costumed revelers descend on Church Street for an annual Halloween block party that can last well into the next morning. Music fills the air as Toronto’s gay village explodes with excitement. In recent years, even the wee ones have come out to play as queer families mingle with decadently frocked drag queens and show their Halloween spirit. The glamorous and gory festivities are one of city’s most popular events and attract thousands of visitors from all over the world. My, how times have changed!
From the late 1950s into the 1980s, Toronto’s gay community gathered at the St. Charles Tavern, a gay bar located under the beacon of the clock tower still standing at 488 Yonge Street. Beginning in the 1960s, the bar began hosting an annual Halloween drag show that drew increasingly larger crowds. Despite amendments to the Criminal Code that effectively decriminalized homosexuality in 1969, queer people nevertheless remained targets for homophobic violence. As the drag shows became more public, they also attracted vicious assailants who would attack any drag queen or patron spotted coming into or leaving the bar. Some threw eggs or rotten tomatoes; others offered up taunts or jeers filled with vitriolic language. There were also reports of gay-bashing. Although organizers and activists repeatedly called police to come disperse the angry mobs that formed outside of the bar, officers rarely intervened, claiming that they had no power to stop people from using public streets. The media also downplayed the violence, often referring to the annual event as a “good-natured carnival.”
By 1979, however, activists with Gay Alliance Toward Equality (GATE) and the Metropolitan Community Church, together with the support of progressive politicians and gay business owners, succeeded in pressuring the police to increase their presence at the event. Community members also developed their own strategies to ensure the safety of the drag queens and patrons. Performers were escorted to and from the bar, and any and all incidents of violence and harassment were immediately reported to the police. In 1981, Mayor John Sewell finally conceded to erect barricades to prevent crowds from forming outside of the bar. The tradition of the Halloween ‘freak show’ soon faded and has now been reborn as a celebration of difference.
So, this year, when you put on your best costume and head down to Church Street, don’t forget to take a few minutes to acknowledge the courage of those who fought so that you could have the freedom to party!

The CBC Digital Archives have posted a video about the Halloween drag shows and angry mobs. Check it out here.
 The photographs below are part of the CLGA's photograph collection. They were originally published in the December 1978 issue of The Body Politic. Photographs by Gerald Hannon.

Accession #1986-032-187. They form part of the Pink Triangle Press / Body Politic fonds.

Crowds gather along Yonge Street on Halloween night, 1978, hoping to catch a drag queen entering the St. Charles Tavern

A drag queen and friend use the back alley entrance to avoid Halloween bats

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Masked assailants driving up Yonge Street to hurl eggs and obscenities at St. Charles Tavern patrons

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"Straights" gather along Yonge Street

Crowds gather to catch a glimpse of a drag queen entering the St. Charles Tavern

Friday, October 19, 2012

AIDS Quilt Now Online

While most people think primarily of papers or photos, archival documents come in all forms. One of the most impressive textile 'documents' I can think of is the AIDS Memorial Quilt, now viewable online. It takes a minute to load, but it's well worth the wait. Be sure to use the tool to zoom on individual panels. 

While the CLGA doesn't have anything quite this big, we do have a substantial collection of t-shirts, banners, and flags.  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Don't Miss 'Pushing Buttons'!

William Craddock's intensely satisfying Pin Button Project highlights the CLGA's vast collection of buttons and pins from the history of LGBTQ activism in Toronto and beyond. Don't miss out on the fun! Images from the Project are now on display in the CLGA's exhibition room at 34 Isabella, until October 22nd. Or, you can visit the Project online at www.clga.ca/thepinbuttonproject.

Why celebrate the pin button? This easily produced, cheaply made objet d'art can draw attention to a political cause, announce a personal allegiance, or simply evoke a reaction with a quick glance. You can read more about Will Craddock and the Pin Button Project on the Torontoist.com blog or the Embrace Disruption blog. Xtra! has also profiled the exhibition and project in its September 28th issue.

And don't forget to adopt your own button! Check out the buttons just waiting for adoption here.

The project is sponsored by the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, Xtra! and the Community One Foundation.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Don McLeod Reports from the ALMS Conference

The fourth Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) Archives, Libraries, Museums, and Special Collections (ALMS) conference was held in Amsterdam, August 1–3, 2012. Hosted by the Internationaal homo lesbisch informatiecentrum en archief (IHLIA) and held at the Amsterdam Public Library, the conference’s theme was “The Future of LGBTI Histories”.

Figure 1: The book display, IHLIA. Credit: Don McLeod.

IHLIA, the largest LGBTI archive in Europe, is housed on the sixth floor of the main branch of the Amsterdam Public Library, which is the largest public library building in Europe. The IHLIA section of the floor contained LGBTI book displays, including rare items, photographs, artifacts, and other materials. Most of the action took place in the large theatre on the seventh floor, with breakout sessions occurring in rooms located near the collection on the sixth floor.

Figure 2: The Amsterdam Public Library, site of the conference. Credit: Don McLeod.

Almost 150 delegates, from all over the world, participated in the conference. More than forty papers and keynote speeches were delivered in the theatre over the three days, mostly by people involved with small, community-based organizations. A particular theme was the state and growth of LGBTI collections in Eastern Europe, with presentations from Hungary, Poland, and Turkey. Several European countries were well-represented, as were Australia, Britain, Canada, and the United States. Delegates represented collections in many other countries as well, from China to South Africa. The Canadian delegates were Danielle Cooper (York University, Toronto), David DeAngelis and James Miller (Pride Library, Western University, London, Ontario), and Don McLeod and Gordon Richardson (Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives). Don delivered two papers, one on the LGBTI serials collection at the CLGA, the second on the Ernst Maass collection of correspondence and photographs related to Magnus Hirschfeld, discovered in Brooklyn, New York.

Papers and presentations were delivered in themed sessions. August 1 dealt with the experiences of building archives and collections; August 2 highlighted the role of new media and technologies, oral history, and finding hidden materials; August 3 examined forming alliances with mainstream institutions, and closed with ruminations on the future of LGBTI archives and collections.

One excellent feature of the conference was that all papers were posted in advance and delegates were able to attend all the papers, followed by breakout sessions for questions. As well, all speeches and papers were filmed as they were presented and will be made available by IHLIA.

Common themes emerged: the lack of stable financial support for LGBTI archives and collections; challenges in finding volunteer help; relationships between community-based and mainstream institutions; collections growth and storage problems; digitization. There was also some hint of the dangers of engaging in LGBTI library and archival organizing in certain parts of the world, where social, religious, or political forces stifle such work. For example, Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action (GALA), at the University of the Witwatersrand, Braamfontein, South Africa, remains the only LGBTI archive on the African continent.

Don and Gordon were able to take a small, private tour of the IHLIA collections, offered by Jack van der Wel, director of IHLIA, including the basement storage areas.

Figure 3: Gordon Richardson, Jack van der Wel, and Joseph Hawkins (ONE) on tour in the basement storage area of IHLIA. Credit: Don McLeod.

Each day of the conference featured social events, including a tour of ALETTA (Equality Knowledge Institute for Emancipation and Women’s History), an opening reception followed by a boat tour of Amsterdam’s canals, and a mobile Pink Perspectives tour of LGBTI historic sites, ending with drinks at Cafe ’t Mandje, thought to be the oldest LGBTI bar in the world (open since 1927). The conference ended with a wonderful dinner at the Lloyd Hotel.

 Figure 4: Inside Cafe ’t Mandje, the oldest LGBTI bar in the world. Credit: Don McLeod.    

In past years, the ALMS conference was held in the spring. The Amsterdam conference was held at the beginning of August to coincide with Amsterdam Canal Pride, which occurred the day after the conference. Delegates were able to see this spectacular event, during which more than eighty floats literally floated down Amsterdam’s network of canals.

Figure 5: Canal Pride fun, August 4, 2012. Credit: Don McLeod.                 

Jack van der Wel, Lin McDevitt-Pugh, and other members of the local steering committee, as well as volunteers, deserve thanks for organizing a truly memorable, rich, and inspiring conference.

The ALMS baton has been passed to Bryan Knicely and the Stonewall National Archives and Museum, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, who will host the 2014 LGBTI ALMS conference.

For more information on the 2012 LGBTI ALMS conference, see: http://lgbtialms2012.blogspot.nl/

For more information on IHLIA, see: http://www.ihlia.nl/english/english