April 12, 2017

AMPD professor donates documentary collection to Canadian Lesbian & Gay Archives

The Canadian Lesbian & Gay Archives (CLGA), the holder of the world’s largest independent LGBTQ+ archives, will be celebrating the launch on April 23 of the Nancy Nicol Collection.

headshot of Nancy Nicol
Nancy Nicol

Over many years Nicol, a documentary filmmaker and professor in the Department of Visual Art & Art History, has interviewed activists, community leaders and human rights lawyers across Canada and documented related events and demonstrations.

The collection includes the original interviews filmed by Nicol and showcases shorts and excerpts from her award-winning documentary series From Criminality to Equality, which brings to life 40 years of the history of the lesbian and gay movement in Canada. This acquisition is part of the CLGA’s longer-term strategy to become a more active resource for the Canadian and LGBTQ+ communities and to help increase access to LGBTQ+ heritage.

The Nancy Nicol Collection includes many watershed moments: the birth of gay liberation in the 1970s; the Toronto bath raids in 1978 and 1981; the struggle for human rights protection provincially and nationally; opposition to gay rights from the 1970s to the 1990s; the growth and increasing diversity of LGBT organizing; the role of the labour movement in queer rights; the Campaign for Equal Families in Ontario; the Lesbian Mothers’ Association struggle to win queer parenting rights in Quebec; key charter litigation cases and advances for relationship recognition, same-sex parenting, same-sex pensions, and same-sex marriage.

“In this body of work, I focused on documenting a period of intense change in lesbian and gay rights in Canada between 1969-2009, tracing the histories of gay liberation and struggles for human rights protection, relationship recognition, same-sex parenting rights and same-sex marriage,” said Nicol. “It is a moving history, charged with optimism and resilience in the face of prejudice and ignorance. I hope the collection will contribute to remembering and celebrating this history, and provide fertile ground for queer history students and researchers; as well as inspiration for generations to come.”

Speakers at the launch event include Rachel Epstein, LGBTQ parenting activist, researcher and educator and CLGA board member; Mona Greenbaum, founder and general director of Quebec’s Coalition des familles LGBT; Tom Warner, prominent queer activist and author of Never Going Back, A history of queer activism in Canada; and Nicol. Community partners of the launch include the Centre for Feminist Research at York University, Inside-Out LGBTQ+ Film Festival, and V-Tape.

All are welcome to attend. The event begins at 4pm at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, 23 Isabella Street, Toronto.

More about the CLGA

The Canadian Lesbian & Gay Archives (CLGA) is the largest independent LGBTQ+ archives in the world. With a focus on Canadian content, the CLGA acquires, preserves and provides public access to information and materials in any medium. By collecting and securing important historical records, publications, magazines, newspapers, photos, films and other paraphernalia, the CLGA cares for LGBTQ+ histories now and for generations to come.