With the support of the Community One Foundation and the Foundation Rainbow Grant, the CLGA designed a position focused on collecting and preserving trans history. With the generous support of Rachel Lauren Clark, who matched the initial funding, we were able to hire both Sajdeep Soomal and Tobaron Waxman as Trans Collections Project Assistants. They will work in tandem on The Trans Collection Project by conducting outreach with members of trans communities, assisting in the collection of trans materials, and preparing records for permanent storage at the CLGA.
The Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives has fought many battles to be able to preserve the history, archives, records, and ephemera of gender and sexual minorities. With limited resources, the CLGA previously was a passive collection institution. In other words, without formal strategic planning to develop the collection many people and histories were left out of the archives. Recent changes in policy and strategic direction at the CLGA have laid the groundwork for the CLGA to finally become an active collecting institution. This means that the CLGA endeavors and puts resources towards acquiring records that document the experiences of people and groups currently underrepresented in the archives. These include, but are not limited to, women, trans, gender non-conforming, Black, Indigenous, and people of colour communities. We are excited for the new Trans Collections Project Assistants, Sajdeep Soomal and Tobaron Waxman, to be a part of this process as they each bring different knowledge and understanding about trans histories and communities to our team.
Tobaron Waxman is a curator, artist and vocalist. Tobaron’s work in video, photography and performance interrogates how borders and notions of citizenship make moral and ethical claims on our bodies. Tobaron’s interdisciplinary projects have been exhibited across USA and Europe, and have won awards in Canada, Germany, and USA, including Franklin Furnace Performance Art Award (2003), Inaugural Audience Award Jewish Museum of New York (2009), Kulturlabor ICI Berlin (2010), Akademie der Künst der Welt/Köln (2014), and Museum of Transgender Herstory and Art Award for Unrecognized Artist of the Year/Hermit (2013). Tobaron founded and directs The Intergenerational LGBT Artist Residency as a combined curatorial, relational/live art, and sociopolitical praxis.
Sajdeep Soomal is a writer, researcher and emerging curator. They recently created a digital collection with the material from a three-year oral history project, “Not a Place on the Map: The Desh Pardesh Project” based at the South Asian Visual Arts Centre and funded by the Trillium Foundation. Recently, Sajdeep has been busy writing about queer and trans suicide epidemics, telling contemporary diasporic Punjabi folktales, and preparing for the publication of their thesis in a forthcoming anthology with University of Minnesota Press, New Cultures of Remote Warfare: Visions, Intimacies, and Reconfigurations.
Sajdeep and Tobaron are eager to hear from possible donors of archival materials tracing the histories of trans and gender variant people across time and place. Yes this means you! Over the course of the contract, the Trans Collection Project will also work on developing a roadmap for future collecting of trans material at the CLGA. We encourage anyone who has a stake in this project to contact us with thoughts and feedback during this ongoing process.