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Telling the untold; preserving LGBTQ2S+ history in Alberta

October 25, 2021

Today we would like to highlight some of the work done by local historians across Alberta to preserve LGBTQ2S+ history, and share some LGBTQ2S+ blogs you can dig into.

The Calgary Gay History Project has a site with stories, news, and events relating to Calgary. The site springs from a project started by research lead Kevin Allen to explore the history of LGBTQ2S+ folks in Calgary. The project also resulted in a book called “Our Past Matters” (which you may remember from our pride reading list).

In Edmonton, several projects capture its vibrant LGBTQ2S+ history.

The Edmonton Queer History Project, in conjunction with the Art Gallery of Alberta, created a site and event in 2015 to celebrate 35 years of the Edmonton pride festival. The site is no longer being updated, but it still holds a great timeline of events as well as some interesting articles and media like this series of video interviews.

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Logo for the Rainbow Story Hub is a circle surrounding a face made up of rainbow coloured circles.

A new group to keep your eye on is the Edmonton Queer History | Rainbow Story Hub. This group of LGBTQ2S+ historians has been collecting and writing stories about the LGBTQ2S+ community in Edmonton. Several of their writers also have stories housed on Edmonton City as Museum website, so there is a lot of history to explore between the two sites.

Here are some stories from this group to get your reading started:

When Drag Queens Became Charitable – tells the story about the Imperial Sovereign Court of the Wild Rose and the expansion of their charitable work since 1984.

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Collage of photos from drag queen events.
A collage of ISCWR events (from the Rainbow Story Hub website)

In this video produced by the Edmonton Public Library, Darrin Hagen talks about the Pisces Bathhouse raid that happened in Edmonton in 1981 with devastating impacts on the community.

Hit the link on this page to find the Queer History collection on Edmonton City as a Museum site. Including more on the Pisces Bathhouse raid, a history of gay bars in Edmonton through the ages, a story about Womonspace, and even a history of LGBTQ2S+ activism on the U of A campus.

Do you have stories about the LGBTQ2S+ community in Edmonton? The Rainbow Story Hub is collecting and preserving these stories, so get in touch with them through their site or social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.