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Archives in Waves | Queer and Trans Oral Histories


Daze Jefferies | Queer and Trans Archives in Waves


Many 2SLGBTQ+ histories in Newfoundland and Labrador have not been officially recorded or archived – they have been lost, silenced, and made invisible by violence, the AIDS crisis, a lack of intergenerational communication, and as a queer and trans community elders have migrated out of the province to bigger cities across Canada and the globe.

However, the little material that has been archived by our communities paints a vibrant picture of queer and trans activism and resistance over the past five decades. In fact, 2019 marked the 45th anniversary of the first political network formed by gays and lesbians in Newfoundland and Labrador – the Community Homophile Association of Newfoundland, which was established in May 1974. What else can we remember together?

Although so much about our historical lives remains missing, and while we keep our sacred knowledges close, engaging with queer and trans archives in waves of resilience and social change might hold us together through our past-present-future worlds. Let us continue to pull our histories out of the water as we share our stories and make maps of our lives here at the Atlantic edge.


From Gary Kinsman’s 1991 essay, “Of pride and riots,” in About face: A Lesbian and Gay Newsletter of Newfoundland and Labrador, 1(1):page 5


Order of narratives


Sarah-Dena Harnum – learning about queer history in NL  (0:30)

Derrick Bishop – NGALE  (2:05)

Jennifer McCreath – Trans Pride (6:37)

Violet Drake – Rural Trans Internet  (8:05)

Roger Baggs – Mount Pearl  (11:57)

Jude Cutler – Queer Indigeneity  (16:05)

Anita Kora – Two-Spirit  (17:42)

Derrick Bishop – 1924  (23:28)

Jason Wells – Corner Brook  (25:44)

Chris Shortall – Downtown  (27:31)

Kailey Bryan – Treble Lounge and Drag on George  (29:27)

Taylor Stocks – Gatherings  (31:56)

Roger Baggs – The Club  (33:39)

Cyril Butler – Solomons  (36:39)

Chris Shortall – Lesbian Organizing  (38:10)

Roger Baggs – AIDS  (39:56)

Cyril Butler – Bobby Davis  (41:10)

Sarah-Dena Harnum – Leaders  (43:20)

Taylor Stocks – St. John’s and Isolation  (44:36)

Chris Shortall – Queer Migrations  (45:55)

Taylor Stocks – Coming to NL  (47:12)


Thank you Rebecca Nolan for recording these oral histories as part of Mapping Queer Histories, and Chad Feehan for helping with the sound installation for A Hole So Big It Became the Sky.