Gay and Lesbian Archives of Edmonton

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Gay and Lesbian Archives of Edmonton

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History

The Gay and Lesbian Archives of Edmonton was created to capture the history and the important records of various organizations created by and for the Gay and Lesbian community in Edmonton. An early organization, originating as a University of Alberta student and faculty group lobbying to change laws discriminating against homosexuals, was the Gay Alliance Toward Equality (GATE), formed ca. 1971-72. GATE evolved from a quasi-University activist group to one more representative of the general gay community in Edmonton, emphasizing social services for the community. They were a drop-in centre; a resource centre, provided peer counselling services and speaker referrals, while continuing to advocate for gay civil rights. GATE lost its Societies Act registration in 1986, and regained that status on November 4, 1987, restarting under a new name: the Gay and Lesbian Community Centre of Edmonton (GLCCE). GLCCE continued in the role of an information/education centre and was an important social gathering space for Edmonton’s gay population, hosting dances, a coffee house and video nights. In 2004, GLCCE was restructured and renamed the Pride Centre of Edmonton.

Meanwhile, in 1984 the Gay and Lesbian Awareness (GALA) Society was formed as a representative group to organize the Gay and Lesbian Celebration Week of June 1984. In July of 1984 the Alberta Human Rights Commission made recommendations for changes to the Individual’s Rights Protection Act which included the listing of sexual orientation as a prohibited ground for discrimination in employment. GALA represented other member groups in the campaign to see those recommendations implemented; it was incorporated under the Alberta Societies Act in May of 1987 to promote awareness of the gay community and issues that affect them among the general public of Edmonton, especially as concerns the granting of civil rights to homosexuals. Both the civil rights work and the PRIDE festival planning expanded beyond the confines of GALA, and this work was eventually taken over by other organizing bodies. GALA’s final year of registration as a Society appears to be in 1994, and post-1994 GALA efforts were assumed by GLCCE and then the Edmonton Pride Centre.

The Edmonton Pride Festival Society was formed in 1999 as the official non-profit organization charged with managing the Pride Festival events. In response to the growing awareness of the devastation HIV and AIDS was having amongst the gay population world-wide, the AIDS Network of Edmonton Society was incorporated as a non-profit society in 1984. In 1999, the AIDS Network of Edmonton changed its name to HIV Edmonton.

Other organizations, represented in the GALA fonds, include the University of Alberta’s GALOC (Gays and Lesbians on Campus) group, and numerous social and cultural groups. The first openly gay club, CLUB 70, opened in late 1969, and was followed over the years by many other gay entertainment venues and social groups. The Imperial Sovereign Court of the Wild Rose, both an entertainment outlet and important charity fundraiser, was established in Edmonton in 1976 as part of an international Imperial Sovereign Court system.

An early sports body for gays in Edmonton was the Edmonton Roughnecks Recreation Association established in 1980; the Vocal Minority Music Society formed in 1983; and the first Gay newspaper published in Edmonton, “Fine Print” started as a spin off from the Edmonton Roughnecks newsletter.

The library established at GATE, transferred to GLCCE and then the Pride Centre, collected and subscribed to a number of publications of interest to Edmonton’s gay community. They also maintained clipping and article files, gathered brochures and pamphlets on numerous topics, kept directories, and other reference materials.

The history of Edmonton’s GLBTQ community is rich and diverse, and well-reflected in the GALA fonds housed at the City of Edmonton Archives.

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EDM A96-47

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  • Clipboard

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  • EAC

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