The Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives aspires to be a significant resource and catalyst for those who strive for a future world where lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people are accepted, valued, and celebrated.
Executive Director: Raegan Swanson, BA (Hons), MI
Raegan serves as the Executive Director. She holds a BA from Collège universitaire de Saint-Boniface and a Masters of Information from the University of Toronto iSchool. She has worked as an archivist at Library and Archives Canada, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute and as the Archival Advisor for the Council of Archives New Brunswick. She is currently working on her PhD focusing on the role of community archives in Aboriginal communities. She is member of the Steering Committee on Canada’s Archives Taskforce to respond to the “Calls to Action” Report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Volunteer + Community Outreach Coordinator: Jade Pichette, BSW, MSW
Jade serves as the Volunteer + Community Outreach Coordinator. They started at the CLGA as the Volunteer Coordinator. Jade is an anti-oppressive educator, who has worked as an advocate in LGBTQ2+ communities for over ten years. They have previously worked at Kind (formerly Pink Triangle Services) in Ottawa as the Education Programs Coordinator, and has worked with over 50 different organizations across Ontario to develop queer and trans inclusive policies. Jade is an avid lover of history and in particular has interest in trans and bi erasure in LGBTQ2+ communities, LGBTQ2+ Interfaith work, and continuing to challenge their own position of white-privilege.
Development Coordinator: Caitlin Smith
Caitlin serves as the Development Coordinator. She has been a fundraiser for 15 years, most recently at the Aga Khan Museum, in addition she has worked at Casey House, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and PEN Canada. Caitlin holds a BA in Communications from Concordia University and a Certificate in Fundraising Management from Ryerson University. She has also studied Book Publishing at the Banff School of Fine Arts. Caitlin is a fervent bibliophile, who indulges in her lunch hour with the many duplicate books surrounding her at the Archives.
Archivist: Lucie Handley-Girard, BA (Hons), MI
Lucie serves as Archivist. She holds a BA from the University of Toronto and a Masters of Information from the University of Toronto, iSchool. In the summer of 2016 she was the Archives Assistant at the CLGA. She has also previously worked in records management and as a student at the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation’s Maynard Sam George Library with the Indigenous-based Brian Deer classification system. Lucie also currently serves as Digital Archivist for The Family Camera Network. Her research interests include community archives, archival performativity, and archives as spaces for activism, resistance, and identity formation.
Archives Assistant: Charly Wreggitt, BA, MA
Charly is currently serving as the archives assistant for the summer. She is going into her second year of a Masters of Information degree at the University of Toronto with a collaborative degree in Sexual Diversity Studies. She holds a BA from the University of Manitoba and a MA from McMaster University, both within the field of Gender and Feminist Studies. Her research interests include queer theory, histories of sexuality and sex, and zombies.
With over a hundred active volunteers, and over 12,000 hours given each year the CLGA wouldn’t work without our volunteers. They are the lifeblood of the organization. For information about the different volunteer positions at the CLGA please check out our Volunteer Opportunities.
Board of Directors (2017 – 2018)
President: Dennis Findlay
Dennis Findlay is a long-time gay activist in Ontario, particularly in Toronto. He was a leader in the response to the 1981 Bathhouse Raids and Coordinated the Legal Defense Committee of the Right to Privacy Committee, which is featured in the documentary film, Track Two. He is a former teacher, a retired baker, and an urban development activist with a passion for LGBTQ+ history and heritage. He has been a volunteer at the CLGA since 2009.
Vice-President: Dr. Elspeth Brown
Elspeth Brown is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Toronto, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in American Studies, queer archives and LGBTQ+ history. She is the Principal Investigator on a 5-year SSHRC-funded project, the LGBTQ Oral History Digital Collaboratory, which brings together four archives and a group of international collaborators to make LGBTQ+ oral histories more accessible online. In addition, she is a Co-Investigator for the Family Camera Network, in partnership with CLGA, which collects queer and trans family photographs, and oral histories about them, in relationship to migration and diaspora in Canada.
Treasurer: Edward McDonnell
Edward McDonnell is a director and co-founder of MD+A Health Solutions, a leading Ontario business consulting firm specializing in health information systems, programs and privacy. He is a health system planner and leader and has held health system executive roles including Vice President, Corporate Services and Chief Information Officer of the Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences. Edward also previously served as a senior advisor to the Ontario Minister of Finance.
Secretary: Paul Leatherdale
Director: Dr. Rachel Epstein
Dr. Rachel Epstein has been an LGBTQ parenting activist, educator and reseracher for close to 20 years. She was the founding coordinator of the LGBTQ Parenting Network at the Sherbourne Health Centre, providing resources, information and support to LGBTQ parents, prospective parents and their families, and training for health care, legal, social work and education professionals since 2001. She has also published on a wide range of queer parenting issues, including assisted human reproduction, queer spawn in schools, butch pregnancy, and the tensions between queer sexuality, radicalism and parenting. Dr. Epstein is completing a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow in the Faculty of Social Sciences at Brock University, conducting research on LGBTQ2S family confict and reconfiguration. She is also the Executive Director of the United Jewish People’s Order, a secular, social justice oriented organization in Toronto.
Director: Kabir Ravindra
Biography to come.
Director: David Udayasekaran
David Udayasekaran identifies as a settler in Canada of Sri Lankan Tamil origins. They are currently the Coordinator of the Teens Educating And Confronting Homophobia (TEACH program). David has been an activist and educator for over 15 years. Their primary passion is fostering understanding of the issues of people whose voices and stories often go unheard, namely LGBTQ+ people who also identify as Black, Indigenous and/or People of colour (BIPOC). Their primary method of sharing understanding is through storytelling and is passionate about connecting queer and trans folks with other people and communities from the past and present and approaches all of their work with an understanding of anti-racist and anti-oppressive practice.
Director: Ari Wahl
Ari has been volunteering in the LGBT community since 1991. He currently works in major gift fundraising for UOIT. He has eight years of major gift experience at national health charities and started his development career with six campaigns at United Way. He has belonged to professional associations like AFP, CAGP and continues to volunteer for them. Previously he was on the Board of the Inside Out Film and Video Festival for two terms. He has also consulted for the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Museum of Civilization and National Archives Canada. Ari is a proud step-dad of three and husband of one.
Director: Melika Zamani
Melika Zamani received her Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Toronto in 2013. Currently, she is an Information Management Consultant at KPMG LLP Canada, where she advises clients on information management and privacy related engagements nationally. Previously, she worked at the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development as a Knowledge Management Analyst where she led several Divisional initiatives. Melika has also previously served as co-Chair for the Operations Committee, which oversees collections management and development at the archives.