Earlier this year, Gay Bell donated a large number of posters, journals, photography, correspondence, and newspaper clippings about the Peterborough and Haliburton LGBTQ2+ events and activities. This represents a large contribution to our collection of feminist lesbian content and gay labour movement histories, to which Gay Bell has been a long-term and significant contributor.
Gay Bell, is a prolific feminist lesbian and labour movement activist as a writer and contributor in the early days of the Body Politic, a founding member of LOOT – Lesbian Organization of Toronto – and activist and contributor to queer positive initiatives within the Canadian Auto Workers Union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and the Canadian Labour Congress.
LOOT grew out of a meeting convened at CHAT offices on Church Street in 1976. Between 30-60 women attended the meeting and agreed to create Canada’s first Lesbian Centre, which was established at 342 Jarvis Street. In 2008, Gay Bell started her contributions to The ArQuives and donated issues of The Body Politic and The Other Woman, one of several publications that grew out of LOOT, as well as her labour-related reports, files and artifacts.
In the 2017 we received Gay Bell’s radio interviews with gay and lesbian prisoners (audio cassettes), a digital copy of an interview she gave about her life, and a copy of the video she directed: CUPE 4400 on Strike. In addition to the rich media content, we have a series of periodicals, CUPE material, activist material, plays, theatre scripts, posters, thesis, research material, union buttons and one fridge magnet (CUPE Positive Space). Gay Bell’ important contributions to the archives are available upon request for anyone who is interested in delving deeper into this significant collection.