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Inventory of the Records of The Body Politic & Pink Triangle Press
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Gaydays, 1978. File gaydays.jpg 169x228
Toronto's Gaydays:
lead feature in TBP's first "magazine" issue

# 47, Oct 1978


Page 22 / Inventory Series 14
Features and reviews

Feature-length articles and reviews of books and films appeared from the beginning in The Body Politic, though in early issues they -- like everything else -- were intermixed with other kinds of material.

A six-page Books section in # 7 (late 1972, dated Winter 1973) represents the first attempt to group reviews together in print. The page- header (or "flag") Our Image first appeared over theatre reviews in # 12 (Mar / Apr 1974). By # 20 (Oct 1975) it was used to flag the entire review section, which, along with feature articles and most columns, made up the middle of the magazine.

In Issue 22 (Feb 1976), Our Image was given the subtitle "The BP Review Supplement" and made a distinct entity with its own sequence of issue numbers. It began as a pull- out, separately paginated from the rest of TBP. After Sep 1976 it appeared this way only every other issue -- though a review section flagged Our Image appeared in the body of TBP even when the pull- out did not.

The last distinct "issue" of Our Image, Number 15, appeared in TBP # 46 (Sep 1978). The Oct 1978 format change -- from a loose, folded tabloid to a flat (and soon stapled) "magazine" [1] -- saw Our Image become again simply the page heading of the review section.

Our Image # 4, Aug 1976. File oi4.jpg 144x222
Our Image, Issue 4
TBP # 25, Aug 1976


Our Image -- as both a section and a supplement -- was the brainchild of Ed Jackson. Ed cultivated writers from across Canada, Britain, the US and elsewhere, making TBP one of the world's most respected journals of gay cultural analysis. Much contact, idea- exchange and actual editing was done by mail (fax machines were not in wide use until the 1980s, and TBP never had one). The voluminous correspondence recorded in this series is of particular historical value.

Ed gradually built a team to handle the section. It was tagged the Our Image Group. In late 1978 he passed coordination of the group to collective member Mariana Valverde; she left by the summer of 1979, but before then had been joined by Alexander Wilson, also on the collective. Alex remained coordinator (from late 1980 with fellow collectivists John Allec and Stephen MacDonald) until the spring of 1981.

Our Image was the first editorial working group to evolve. There were sporadic efforts to pull together a features group, but most major articles continued to be handled, as they had long been, by individual collective (and later paid staff) members, most notably Ed Jackson, Gerald Hannon, Rick Bébout (from mid-1977) and Chris Bearchell (from 1980).

In the summer of 1981 -- after earlier debates about the esoteric drift of Our Image, culminating in Alex's departure -- work on features and reviews was combined under the coordination of a single editorial group. Changes in this group's membership can be tracked in TBP's mastheads from the Sep 1981 issue. It is listed there as "Reviews and Features," but in-house (and in listings below) the group was called Midmag -- in charge of the middle of the magazine. [2]

Homos and the 3rd Reich, 1974.File nazi.jpg 148x218
Homosexuals & the Third Reich:
from James Steakley's series on German gay history

# 11, early 1974


Feature articles and reviews covered a range of themes too diverse to detail here, but one was of particular note: gay and lesbian history. TBP devoted considerable space to explorations of our past, sometimes in series of related articles. It was occasionally the first medium for material that later became books. [3]

Even TBP's motto -- "The liberation of homosexuals can only be the work of homosexuals themselves" -- and the very name of Pink Triangle Press were taken from history. For more on both, see Appendix 1.

83-010 / 11
Feature manuscripts, 1971-1976.

82-019 / 02
Feature manuscripts and correspondence (partial), 1971-1979.

83-010 / 10
Feature manuscripts and correspondence, 1977-1980.

83-010 / 11
Feature manuscripts and correspondence, 1980.

82-019 / 03
Feature manuscripts, photos and correspondence, 1981.

83-010 / 08
Review manuscripts, correspondence and administrative files, 1971-1979.

83-010 / 07
Our Image Group. Minutes, memos, correspondence and manuscripts, 1977-1980.

83-010 / 09
Our Image Group. Administrative files, manuscripts and correspondence, 1977-1981.

84-026 / 01
Midmag Group. Administrative files and general correspondence, 1982-1983.

86-001 / 03
Midmag Group. Minutes of editorial meetings, 1984.

88-004 / 12
Midmag Group. Minutes of editorial meetings, 1985-1986.

84-013 / 01
Midmag Group. Manuscripts and correspondence filed by author, 1982.

84-026 / 02
Midmag Group. Manuscripts and correspondence filed by author, 1982-1983.

84-026 / 03
Midmag Group. Manuscripts and correspondence filed by author, 1983.

86-001 / 01
Midmag Group. Manuscripts and correspondence filed by author, 1984 (A - P).

86-001 / 02
Midmag Group. Manuscripts and correspondence filed by author, 1984 (P - Z).

87-011 / 09
Midmag Group. Manuscripts and correspondence filed by author, 1984-1985.

88-004 / 08
Midmag Group. Manuscripts and correspondence filed by author, 1985 (A - M).

88-004 / 09
Midmag Group. Manuscripts and correspondence filed by author, 1985 (M - Z).

88-004 / 10
Midmag Group. Manuscripts and correspondence filed by author, 1986 (A - T).

88-004 / 11
Midmag Group. Manuscripts and correspondence filed by author, 1986 (T - Z).

88-004 / 07
Midmag Group. Aesthetera (review briefs and book notes), 1982-1983.

88-004 / 14
Midmag Group. Book order cards (for reviews), 1981-1986.

88-004 / 07
Midmag Group. Record of books ordered for review, 1981-1983.

86-001 / 02
Midmag Group. Record of books ordered for review, 1984.

84-003 / 01
Memos and correspondence collected by Gerald Hannon, 1977-1983.

85-008 / 04
Background material related to child-adult relations, 1976-1983 (collected by Gerald Hannon; some of this material was part of 30 Dec 1977 police seizure, returned 15 Apr 1985).

87-011 / 09
General subject background files, 1985.

87-011 / 01
Review and feature writers list, undated (on 3 x 5 cards, apparently maintained by John Allec through 1984).

88-004 / 08
Correspondence of Gillian Rodgerson (in her role as coordinator of the Midmag Group), Jul - Dec 1985.

88-004 / 13
Files of Gerald Hannon, including material for features on Jim Black (TBP # 117, Aug 1985, pp 27-29) and Scott Symons (TBP # 127, Jun 1986, pp 24- 27).

Material not listed in the 1988 Inventory
88-023 / 01
Memos and correspondence related to publication of Tom Waugh's 1983-1984 articles on the photo and film collections of the Kinsey Institute. [4]

88-029 (cassette)
Recording of an interview with Rita Mae Brown (probably by Chris Bearchell; see "Rita Mae talks tough," TBP # 95 (Jul / Aug 1983), pp 35-36).

90-002 / 01-02
Xtra writer files, 1988.

90-091 (Single folder)
Correspondence with Robert A Roth re gay life in Indonesia, 1987.

  1. For consistency's sake I have usually referred to The Body Politic as a "magazine" -- though for much of its life it was more commonly (and correctly) called a "paper." For more on formats, see Series 20: Design and production.
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  2. A volunteer editor who came to TBP in late 1981 was wary at first of using her own name. She chose as her pen name "Maggie Midd" -- a play on Midmag.

    Pseudonyms were allowed in TBP but, in time, only as an exception usually noted in print. In the first few issues some people had used only their first (or pen) names -- as an implicit critique of the patriarchy. But it read as explicit closetry, and soon it was a point of principle that everyone wrote under his or her own public name. "Maggie Midd" didn't take long to come out in print -- as Edna Barker, who continued on in various roles at TBP through its last issue in 1987.
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  3. See James Steakley's series on the homosexual movement in Germany (and two later related articles):

    Jim's book The Homosexual Emancipation Movement in Germany (James Fraser Library call number: 4 STE) was published by Arno Press in 1975.

    See also John D'Emilio series "Dreams deferred," on the early US homophile movement:

    Excerpts appear in Flaunting It!. John's Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities: The Making of a Homosexual Minority in the United States, 1940 - 1970 (James Fraser Library call number: 2.73 D'EM) was published by the University of Chicago Press in 1983.
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  4. Includes related Midmag Group minutes. See Footnote 4 in Series 1: Policies, planning and budgetting for more on the decision to publish the Mar 1984 article, which we thought would bring an obscenity charge. This material also became a book: on Sep 26, 1996 The Globe and Mail reported that Thomas Waugh's Hard to Imagine, published by Columbia University Press, was due for release in November "after more than 30 printing companies in the US and one in Hong Kong refused its publication [ie, printing]."
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