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Inventory of the Records of The Body Politic & Pink Triangle Press
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"Shorthand can say things you may not mean."
Breaking the code, # 115, Apr 1985

PT

Page 16 / Inventory Series 8
Classified advertising

The first classified ad in The Body Politic appeared in Issue 5 (Jul / Aug 1972) -- unsolicited: the first classified ad order form did not appear until Issue 7.

Like display advertising, classifieds were an ongoing source of contention, more often for reasons of sexual politics than economics. The magazine often edited the text of ads to remove exclusionary language ("no fats or femmes") and to eliminate references to illegal acts (sex with more than one person at a time, or with anyone under 21 -- which was the age of consent for homosexual acts in Canada until Jan 1, 1988).

Evidence of such editing is apparent in material held in this series; the debates behind it appear in collective minutes (listed in Series 1: Policies, planning and budgetting).

The most significant controversy to arise from classified advertising, regarding an ad soliciting a black houseboy, generated a watershed debate on the intersection of race and sexual attraction. Internal memos on this debate are also listed under Series 1 (see 87-004 / 02). Their published versions, and letters from community members involved in the discussions, appear in TBP # 113 (Apr 1985). Reader responses continue to # 116 (Jul 1985). [1]

Classified ad order forms in this series have been heavily weeded. Material has been kept to show the geographical range of orders, or where it includes correspondence, indicates internal procedures (such as editing) or identifies staff or volunteers doing classified ad work.

Prisoners were offered free classifieds. These were often written in-house, edited from often- long letters, all of which extant have been maintained in this series.

Note: In order to protect the identity of classified advertisers (which TBP itself always did), the Archives may at its discretion restrict access to some material listed below.


82-019 / 29
Administrative records (partial), 1972-1982.

83-010 / 13
Order forms, Jun 1977 - Apr 1979.

83-010 / 14
Order forms, May 1979.

82-019 / 28
Order forms, Sept 1980 - May 1982.

83-009 / 01
Order forms (partial), 1981-1983.

84-024 / 01
Order forms (partial), 1982-1984.

87-004 / 17
Correspondence, 1985; "Classified Problems", 1984-1986.

87-004 / 17
Drawer numbers (includes Xtra), 1984-1985. [2]

88-004 / 12
Internal memoranda and statistics, 1984-1985; Correspondence, 1986; Prisoner correspondence, 1987.


Footnotes
  1. For online reflections on this controversy, see "Race, sex and solidarity" in my paper
    The Body Politic and Visions of Community.
    (Full address: http://www.clga.ca/Material/Records/docs/tbpvis/tbpvint.htm)
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  2. Most personal classified advertisers did not give their own address or phone number, using instead a "drawer number" listed in their ad. Readers sent responses to such ads c/o TBP, with the drawer number marked on the envelope. Staff and volunteers forwarded responses without opening them.
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