Out North, Chronicles Queer History

Chronicling queer history, Out North features and celebrates queer history and culture in Canada.

Arts Literature Triston Brewer

This article was published on October 5th, 2021

An engaging new book titled Out North chronicles queer history, activism, and community, culling through the vast collection of The ArQuives based in Toronto, home to the largest independent LGBTQ2+ archives in the world. The book is an important piece of Canadian history, with archives serving dual roles as a part of history and also a way of sustaining relationship that are attached to and intertwined with history. 

The ArQuives, the largest independent LGBTQ2+ archive in the world, is dedicated to collecting, preserving, and celebrating the stories and histories of LGBTQ2+ people in Canada. Since 1973, a series of volunteers have amassed an extensive collection of important artifacts that speak to personal experiences and significant historical moments  and contributions for and within Canadian queer communities. Out North: An Archive of Queer Activism and Kinship in Canada explores and examines one nation’s queer history and activism, and is considered by many to be Canada’s definitive visual guide to LGBTQ2+ movements, struggles, and achievements.

About the Authors

Craig Jennex is an assistant professor of English at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario. Along with Susan Fast, he is the co-editor of Popular Music and the Politics of Hope: Queer and Feminist Interventions (Routledge, 2019). His work has been published in TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies, Popular Music and Society, GUTS: Canadian Feminist Magazine, and The Spaces and Places of Canadian Popular Culture, among others. He has volunteered at The ArQuives since 2012.

Nisha Eswaran is a writer and academic based in Toronto, Ontario. Eswaran’s work has appeared in Postcolonial TextSouth Asian ReviewKajal, and Jamhoor. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, where she researches friendship and anti-colonial history in South Asian literature.

Reviews

“They were loud and proud. They risked it all and they changed the world. Every right and privilege we enjoy as members of the LGBTQ2+ community we owe entirely to those who fought before us. We stand on the shoulders of giants. This book is their story.”—Rick Mercer, political satirist and comedian

Out North is a reminder of how long and how many voices it took for queer people to be heard in Canada, this beautiful, vast country that prides itself on welcoming minorities. I am always shocked at how fragile the success is. We must remain vigilant, must keep telling our stories. This book does not mark the end of a movement. It defines a starting point, a plinth on which to build more acceptance of minorities and the wealth that comes with them.”—Rufus Wainwright, singer-songwriter and composer

Are you excited about this release? What are your thoughts on archive activism and its place in LGBTQ+ culture? Let HomoCulture know in the comments section below!

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