This spring our Community Engagement Committee hosted a full-day workshop at The ArQuives for the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). The course, titled “Teaching LGBTQ Students” is an Additional Qualification Course for Teachers taught by Vanessa Russell and Alison Hood. This class is kind of a big deal: it is a newly rolled out course accredited by the Ministry of Education with only three Ontario institutions teaching it.
The day started out with Rachel E. Beattie of the Community Engagement Committee presenting a presentation on teaching LGBTQ2+ history for the Grade 10 curriculum, focusing on Canada’s 20th century history. The presentation was written and created by The ArQuives’s Volunteer and Community Outreach Coordinator Jade Pichette. The teachers were a wonderful audience, they had a lot of interesting questions and were enthusiastic about the many, sometimes hidden stories from our 20thcentury LGBTQ2+ history.
Following her presentation, Rachel led the teacher-students on a full tour through the Archives. Again, the group showed a great deal of interest and excitement about The ArQuives and our collections.
The morning wrapped up with a spellbinding presentation by author, and long-time gay activist, Tim McCaskell. McCaskell captivated his audience with first person stories of major events in Canadian history. He compellingly described the Toronto Bathhouse Raids, including 1981’s Operation Soap resulting in the mass arrest of more than 300 men, the largest since Quebec’s 1971 FLQ October Crisis. He regaled the teachers with stories of the bar scene in the late 70s and 80s; the “safe place” and pre-digital social hub for community organizers and activists.
After lunch Vanessa Russell and Alison Hood lead the group in series anti-oppression lessons and workshops.
Overall it was an incredibly successful day!