The Oral History and Digital Archives Collaboratory research project is back at work, meeting regularly on Fridays at the CLGA. This week Cait McKinney led an excellent workshop on audio digitization for Al, Nick, and Rebecka. While digitization may seem intimidating to some, it took only a few hours to learn to operate the hardware and software. Cait has developed a wonderful training manual and put together all of the hardware and equipment. This means that Al can proceed to digitize some of the audio cassettes we're planning to eventually make available online. First on our agenda are some casette tapes from the Rupert Raj Collection, which will not only be more accessible for CLGA users, but can also be contributed to K.J. Rawson's Digital Transgender Archives, one of the key Collaborators in our research project. We're off to a great start; stay tuned for more news on digitizing audio collections!
by Michael Holmes / 11 November 2014
During the First World War, Canadian soldiers on the front lines endured not only the horrors and hardships of trench warfare but also periods of homesickness and boredom. To entertain the men and boost morale, soldiers in Canadian army divisions organized performance troupes known as “concert parties."
The most famous of these was the Dumbells, the Canadian Army Third Division Concert Party, founded and led by Captain Merton Plunkett. The Dumbells first performed for Canadian troops in France in the summer of 1917. Their shows incorporated various songs and dances, comedy skits, and female impersonations. The Dumbells went on to gain popularity across Canada and internationally after the war, touring North America as a vaudeville act until 1932. They were the first Canadian show to have a hit on Broadway.
In 2006, a documentary film was produced to showcase the work and influence of the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives. Keeping Our Stories Alive features interviews with our volunteers and many activists and artists who have relied on the archives, including Lynne Fernie, Kyle Scanlon, Kristyn Wong-Tam, Douglas Stewart, Rick Bébout, Kyle Rae, Shyam Selvadurai, Billy Merasty, Marie Roberston, Patty Barclay, Suhail Abualsammeed, Dionne A. Falconer, Svend Robinson, and more. Watch the full film below and learn why the CLGA is so important to so many people.
Keeping Our Stories Alive (2006)
Dir. James Allan and Charles Zhang.
Prod. Lawrence Bennett and Harold Wu.
Hosted by Harold Desmarais
I've been processing Rupert Raj's papers at CLGA for the past year, working weekly stints of about 2-3 hours. Raj has been an important trans* activist over the course of his life time, and his papers, scrapbooks, magazines, books, photographs and correspondence document trans* activist history in the 1970s and 1980s, in particular. Nick Matte, a PhD candidate in the University of Toronto's History Department, worked with Rupert to get his materials to CLGA in 2006, but they have yet to be fully processed. I'm doing the work of sorting the material into files and writing a finding aid for the collection, which I hope to complete in July 2014.
Rupert is a Eurasian (East Indian and Polish) pansexual trans man who came out in 1971 in the queer community of Ottawa as a bi-sexual and as trans; he went on testosterone in 1971, and had his first surgery (double masectomy) in 1972. He founded several trans organizations, including: 1) Foundation for the Advancement of Canadian Transsexuals (FACT); 2) the Metamorphosis Medical Research Foundation (MMRF Dec. 1981-May 1988); and 3) Gender Worker (1987, which changed its name in 1989 to Gender Consultants, with his wife Michelle Raj-Gauthier as partner; closed in 1990). He also founded three transsexual publications: 1) Gender Review: the Factual Journal (1978-81, Calgary/Toronto); 2) Metamorphosis Newsletter/Metamorphosis Magazine 1982-88, Toronto); and 3) Gender Networker (2 issues, Toronto, 1988, directed towards helping professionals and resource providers). In June 1999 he co-founded a peer-support group for transsexual men and transsexual women at the 519 Community Centre in Toronto.
if seldom spoke with, one whose eyes
threw sparks like a welding rod,
equanimity caves in like a lung:
if he, you say to
the nearest chair, if he then I.
Fear blows into your lung
alive with fear.
You look for analogies
all of which Herb rejects. Analogies
with this hedging of our lives
but strong enough to weaken its uniqueness.