Lesbian and Gay Liberation in Canada (LGLC) publishes searchable event records of the gay liberation movement online. The project has been heavily influenced by the ethos of the ArQuives (formerly the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives), whose motto is “Keeping Our Stories Alive.” Built and maintained by the community it serves, The ArQuives were established by Ron Dayman in 1973 out of The Body Politic (later Pink Triangle Press) collective’s papers. The Body Politic and other gay liberation periodicals, handbills, and circulars bear important witness to the work of gay liberation activists in the 1960s and 1970s. The stories of gay liberation (and the important ways that Canadian gay liberation politics and activism differ from both gay rights politics and activism today and from analogous histories in other countries), will only live on if we, members of the generations that have followed and benefitted from gay liberation, know about the good work of the activists that have preceded us. Our hope is that the Lesbian and Gay Liberation in Canada project, and this website in particular, will help support Canadian gay cultural heritage through preservation and transmission.
The two volumes of Lesbian and Gay Liberation In Canada: A Selected Annotated Chronology (spanning 1964 to 1975 and 1976 to 1981), by Donald W. McLeod, represent two decades’ archival research. The LGLC event text, drawn from McLeod’s volumes, was gathered primarily from the archival holdings of the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives in Toronto, the Archives gaies du Québec in Montreal, the Canadian Women's Movement Archives in Ottawa, the University of British Columbia archives and the New York Public Library, further supplemented by personal correspondence, and data gathered from print periodicals and online sources. The data about people, organizations, periodicals, and places builds on McLeod’s text, and incorporates data from other archives, government and personal websites, and commercial research databases.
This is a history project: the event text represents language used between 1960s and early 1980s. Many terms that were used in the past may seem anachronistic or even offensive today. We have preserved this language in order to capture, as best as we can, the cultural context for the Canadian gay liberation movement. This includes terms that people used to define themselves, as well as terms others used to refer to them. Similarly, the project’s contextual essays mix historical language with that contemporary to the 2010s. As time goes on, we will not update the 2010s language, not out of a desire to offend future readers as language and the meaning it carries evolves, but rather to leave a record of contemporary thinking about queer lives, politics, and experience.
LGLC is also an infrastructure pilot project of the Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory (CWRC) at the University of Alberta. The TEI-XML encoded volumes of Don McLeod's chronology are housed by CWRC and are part of its Online Research Canada (ORCA) database. By being included in CWRC, LGLC content will be made available as part of an interdisciplinary, open-access library database, for use by researchers and students worldwide.
We have encoded Don McLeod’s text using a form of XML called P5 TEI (the language of the Text Encoding Initiative). It and the CSV that underpin our prosopography has been imported into a Neo4j graph database instance. The database enables dynamic search and filtering of our data. The user interface is an app built with Node.js and Jade.
We are happy to share our TEI and are actively seeking contributions to our contextual essays section. If you would like to contribute an essay elucidating any of the LGLC events or suggest additions or corrections please contact us.
This resource is still being updated. Both the encoding and the database that underpin lglc.ca are designed to show the connections between people, places, organizations, occupations, and events (and citations for the events’ archival sources) through plain text, network graphs, maps, and timelines. The interface of this beta version of the site, however, allows for only finite graph visualizations alongside complete textual records. We are revising the names of the 5% of the people listed in the database.
If you find an error of any sort please do not hesitate to contact us. We are committed to mitigating any risk to the people and organizations of the gay liberation movement, and have collected these records of Canadian LGBTQ+ history in good faith. That said, we welcome takedown requests for records that might be unfair, unlawful, or that through being online, might be otherwise deemed sensitive.
Please send all correspondence to both michelle.schwartz[at]ryerson.ca and constance.crompton[at]uottawa.ca.
Constance Crompton and Michelle Schwartz, 2019