|The Canadian Lesbian & Gay Archives / Materials / Records / Inventories|
|Inventory of the Records of The Body Politic & Pink Triangle Press|
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Other sources of information:
The Body Politic, Xtra and Flaunting It!
Books and monographs
Articles and papers
An essential guide to the history of The Body Politic and Pink Triangle Press is The Body Politic itself -- the 135 issues published from late 1971 to early 1987.
The mastheads of each issue provide a guide to the people involved. From the Oct 1978 issue this information is arranged in a detailed breakdown by various areas of work, offering evidence of personnel changes over time. Mastheads in Xtra also list people involved and what they did. TBP issues dated from Feb 1978 through Nov 1983 carry extensive coverage of the Press's legal cases.
Three issues of TBP are of special note as sources of information on The Body Politic's own history:
Xtra, born nearly three years before TBP's demise, has now published more than 300 issues.For an overview of its first decade, see Gerald Hannon's "Ten years of tears and triumph for the little paper that could" in Issue 263, Nov 25, 1994.
There are also two useful articles on the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives and its connection with TBP and the Press:
The development of the Archives can also be traced from 1977 in its own newsletter,
Gay Archivist. Now Lesbian and Gay Archivist, a list of all its issues, extensively annotated, appears in the Archives website.
(Full address: http://www.clga.ca/About/LGArchivist/lgaint.htm)
Flaunting It! A decade of gay journalism from The Body Politic, an
anthology edited by Ed Jackson and Stan Persky (Pink Triangle Press and New Star
Books, 1982) contains not only some of the best material from TBP's first ten years, but
also a 20-page chronology of the history of the gay movement in Canada from 1964 to
Jun 1982 -- including much of the history of The Body Politic itself. An annotated version of that chronology, "
Victories and defeats," is available online.
(Full address: http://www.clga.ca/Material/Records/docs/flitchro/fcint.htm)
All the material above is available at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives. Copies of The Body Politic and Xtra (on paper or microfilm), as well as Flaunting It!, may be available in your area at local municipal, college or university libraries. Material listed below may also be available locally and is, as noted, in the Archives or its James Fraser Library.
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Text of the Feb 14, 1979 decision by Judge Harris in the "Men loving boys loving men" case. Also available in Canadian Criminal Cases, Canada Law Books Ltd, Vol. 45, pp 385-411 -- and in the Archives, with the entire trial transcript, in Box 13 of Accession 82-019.
This pamphlet had a major impact on the politics of the collective (and well beyond). TBP
offered the Pomegranate Press edition for sale by direct mail; PTP was later publisher of
the North American editions. More information on the booklet -- and its full text -- is
available online, as is a review of it, from TBP in 1974.
(Full address -- text: http://www.wadham.ox.ac.uk/~ahodges/wdg/intro.html)
(Full address -- review: http://www.clga.ca/Material/Monographs/docs/wdgbruno.htm)
The second edition, updated, revised and indexed (the first, published by Black Rose in
1987, was subtitled "Sexuality in Canada"), this is an extensive study covering Canada
from its initial colonization to modern times (see a review available online).
Gary was an occasional writer for TBP -- and among its most persistent critics. He was involved with Rites, from 1984 a forum for people who felt TBP had drifted too far from the politics of the left.
(Full address for review: http://www.clga.ca/Material/Books/docs/regdes.htm)
An exhaustive, fully referenced source, chronicling the early development of gay / lesbian politics and cultural life in Canada. Includes much material on people who were involved with The Body Politic (and on page 160 a picture of the collective in 1974). Don is a long- time volunteer for the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives. You can get more info on his book -- or order a copy for yourself -- by clicking on its title above.
A history of the development and demise of the Lesbian Organization of Toronto (LOOT, 1976 - 1980), covering as well the often difficult relations between lesbians and gay men at the time. Many women in this book were involved in various ways with TBP and the Press -- among them: Chris Bearchell, Gay Bell, Amy Gottlieb, Pat Leslie, Midi Onodera, Heather Ramsay, Fiona Rattray, Gillian Rodgerson, Mariana Valverde and Lorna Weir.
Many others critical of The Body Politic appear here as well (not excluding some of those
named above!), particularly regarding its Dec 1977 article, "Men loving boys loving
men." Also a source for information on the feminist newspaper, Broadside (which was typeset at TBP's office). A review of this book is available here online.
(Full address for the review: http://www.clga.ca/Material/Books/docs/jill.htm)
A history of gay / lesbian periodical publishing, beginning in 1947. Strictly American,
revisionistically "professional" (did you know that early gay and lesbian activists were "journalists"?) and surprisingly prudish -- but useful for the contemporary
American context of The Body Politic. TBP is the only non-US publication mentioned
at all -- though, as Ed Jackson notes in a review, it is treated as "primarily as an American paper that just happened to be published in another country."
(Full address for the review: http://www.clga.ca/Material/PeriodicalsLGBT/docs/unspeak.htm)
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Other newspapers, magazines and gay movement publications set The Body Politic's contemporary Canadian context. All the non- profit ones that we knew of were regularly listed in TBP's Community Page and its later incarnations, Out in the City (for Toronto- centred papers) and Network (listing publications across Canada).
All -- including commercial ventures of the time -- appear in Alan Miller's massive
international listing, Our Own Voices, a directory of
lesbian and gay periodicals pubished over the last 100 years. It's available here online.
(Full address: http://www.clga.ca/Material/PeriodicalsLGBT/inven/oov/oovint.htm)
The only periodicals listed below are those published by Pink Triangle Press itself (if sometimes jointly with others).
Single-sheet "extras" in which -- as the above-the-banner kicker said -- "The Body Politic reports the news as its happens in Toronto's gay community." Distributed by hand in local venues, most report on deteriorating police-community relations in the period following the Dec 9, 1978 raid on the Barracks baths. Number Five, dated Oct 12, 1979, reports the Oct 11 raid on the Hot Tub Club, alerting people to a meeting on Oct 15 -- before the next regular issue of The Body Politic itself would hit the streets.
A four-page tabloid, "A special publication of the Right to Privacy Committee and The Body Politic." Gives background on the Barracks case, calls people out to its trial beginning Nov 19 -- and offers lessons from the Hot Tub bust: "Militancy made the difference."
Four-page tabloid reporting on what was later dubbed "The Battle of Church Street" -- the Jun 20 demo protesting further bath raids on Jun 16 that, as it was dispersing, was attacked by stick- wielding thugs and became a riot. The masthead calls this "An emergency supplement" -- TBP's Jul / Aug double number had just gone to press, with the Sep 1981 issue not due out until mid-August.
Another joint publication, reporting the bust at Glad Day Books (which began a long obscenity case for Glad Day staffer and TBP writer Kevin Orr) on Apr 21 -- after TBP's regular May issue had gone to press. A full report appears in the Jun 1982 issue -- by when the entire nine- member TBP collective had also been charged for the Apr 1982 article, "Lust with a very proper stranger." The collective dubbed itself and Kevin "The Obscenity Ten."
Chatty reports sent to "sustainer" donors who pledged ongoing support to TBP. Written by me through Dec 1984 and by collective member David Rayside and volunteer John Flack thereafter, these are a valuable source for the history of the Press in this period -- which saw the dawn of ideas that led to Xtra, its birth in early 1984 and the decline and eventual collapse of The Body Politic by early 1987. They usually include quarterly and annual financial reports, news on changes in personnel, internal debates, assessments of our work, and plans for the future. The second- last issue (# 15, Jan 1987) includes an extended essay by David Rayside on TBP's demise.
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This is not a comprehensive list. The Body Politic was the subject of considerable media attention around the times of its trials; much of that material, not noted here, is on file in related parts of the TBP / PTP holdings and in the Archives' collection of articles from non-gay newspapers and magazines. Most of the entries below are from gay periodicals (or by gay writers). All are available in the Archives and elsewhere.
A big paper (more than 13,000 words) I did for Tom Warner's course on the history of gay organizing, part of the Fall 1995 Queer Exchange Program of the Toronto Centre for Lesbian and Gay Studies. It charts changing notions of "community" and TBP's (and later Xtra's) relation to it over time, ending with a critique of then-current identity politics.
This is a draft version of three chronologies. The main one charts the 1977 - 1983 "Men loving boys loving men" case -- along with other events of the time, including the Toronto bath raids (1978, 1981 and 1983), and obscenity charges against Kevin Orr at Glad Day Books (1982 - 1984). Another covers legal efforts to recover material seized in the raid of Dec 30, 1977 (a battle that ended only in 1985); the last deals with the 1982 "Lust with a very proper stranger" case.
The most comprehensive coverage of the Jan 1979 "Men loving boys loving men" trial, made up of separate articles covering each day of the proceedings, reviewing the Jan 3 artists' benefit for TBP, and extensively analyzing media coverage. There is also a related editorial.
Centerfold (which later became Fuse) was published just up Duncan St from TBP's office. Proximity and shared politics created a remarkable alliance between a gay paper under state attack and the largely heterosexual -- but certainly not straight -- Queen Street West art scene. (See some of those artist- activists featured in "Video is not television; Performance is not theatre," by Doug Durand and Martha Fleming, TBP # 64, Jun / Jul 1980, pp 29-32.)
An examination of shifting work styles in three Toronto "worker co-ops," all having begun in the early '70s and surviving in the mid-'80s: the SCM (Student Christian Movement) Bookroom; DEC (The Development Education Centre); and The Body Politic.
Gerry Hunt was a TBP volunteer in early 1982 and again in 1985 and '86. He is good on the essential nature of collectivity at TBP: "...entry into the key decision-making forum was limited to those who were prepared to make a commitment to work long hours, to those who felt comfortable with a fairly radical change agenda and to those who were obviously skilled in written and oral debate." There is one error (which Gerry caught later): "In 1987, the organization disbanded, although Xtra was taken over and continues to be published by a different organization." In fact, the Press survived and is still publisher of Xtra.
An extended obituary, tracing the life of The Body Politic from the beginning. David, long familiar on the Toronto scene, had written TBP's "The Third Text" column from 1985.
A story on the end of TBP, with extensive quotes from collective members. Among US gay papers that survived past the 1970s, GCN was probably TBP's closest political counterpart.
A feature marking the first anniversary of TBP's end. "I am here," the author says, "partly to play the role of historian, to explain how Canada's most influential gay publication could self-annihilate. Also, partly, I am here to do a eulogy and a critique, to speak kind words and a few harsh ones in memory of something that helped to shape many of our lives." Richard, originally from Vancouver, was a long-standing writer and editorial volunteer for TBP from Sep 1982. Vancouver's Q Magazine, sadly short- lived, was heavily based in graphic and editorial style on Xtra.
Major article on the demise of The Body Politic. Michael had been a volunteer for the magazine, and a member of the collective from the Sep 1985 to May 1986 issues.
A review of the 1982 anthology, Flaunting It! -- quite positive even if "a few articles are marred by what the constant Body Politic reader recognizes as house style: overdependence on sentence fragments for drama, clots of one- sentence paragraphs for even more drama, and the occasional tone of polite circumspection which some hastily call 'Canadian' but is more properly described as 'twee.'" Jeff, a constant reader in New York, had written a feature on Provincetown for TBP's Aug 1979 issue.
Other sources of information: Archival resources: next page.
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