Collection Mss 42, PC 292, TC 156 [A.08-67, A.09-28, A.10-31, A.11-09] - Manitoba Gay and Lesbian Archives

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Manitoba Gay and Lesbian Archives

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  • Textual record
  • Graphic material
  • Moving images
  • Object
  • Sound recording

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Manitoba Gay/Lesbian Archives

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CA UMASC Mss 42, PC 292, TC 156 [A.08-67, A.09-28, A.10-31, A.11-09]

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Physical description area

Physical description

13.07 m of textual records
168 videocassettes: 69 U-matic, 97 VHS, 2 Beta
4 video reels
117 photographs
107 negatives
488 slides
130 audio cassettes
23 audio reels
33 t-shirts

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Archival description area

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Administrative history

The Manitoba Gay and Lesbian Archives collection is the result of concerted efforts by the Winnipeg Gay/Lesbian Resource Centre (est.1983) staff to compile records about Manitoba’s LGBTTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Two-Spirit and Queer) history. The Archives, established in 1988, was overseen by the Manitoba Gay/Lesbian Archives Committee, a group composed of academics, community members and activists. Primary objectives of the Archives was to preserve the documentary, photographic, and electronic heritage of gay and lesbian Manitobans and to support the research and study of such a collection by scholars and the public. This material was largely collected and accumulated from the donations of local Winnipeg LGBTTQ organizations dating back to the early 1970s. Organizations such as the University of Manitoba student organization Gays for Equality (est. 1973), the Oscar Wilde Memorial Society (est. 1980), Council on Homosexuality and Religion (est. 1978) and Project Lambda (est. 1977) figure prominently in the history of the Winnipeg LGBTTQ community, thus contributing a great deal to the archival content. The largely volunteer staff, namely Chris Vogel and Kenneth Steffenson, of the Resource Centre received archival training over a five year period from the Association of Manitoba Archivists. This training formed the accessioning and cataloguing of the archival material in an efficient and systematized way, leading to an established archival holding recognized by many professional associations and archives in Canada. The archival material was consistently expanded through an active collection policy which advertised in newspapers and gay journals asking the community for records, specifically in the form of oral interviews. An oral history project was undertaken in 1989 by the Resource Centre, through a sponsored grant from the Provincial Archives of Manitoba, to collect the histories of gay men and women who were active in Manitoba prior to 1970. This project provides an important example of the community response to maintaining a consistent record of LGBTTQ history in Manitoba. For scholars, the oral history project is an important groundwork which will be expanded with future efforts to continue to collect oral histories from the 1970s onward.

The Winnipeg Gay/Lesbian Resource Centre was founded in 1983 by the concerted efforts of the Winnipeg LGBTTQ community to raise funds and establish a safe and friendly meeting space. As vocalized by Project Lambda, the goal was to 'provide counseling for gays, a medical centre, a library with positive gay literature, a book shop, a TV room, rooms for lectures and discussions as well as offices for gay organizations.' Fundraisers held at The Old Fellows' Temple on Kennedy Street by various organizations contributed to the realization of this goal. The original location of the Winnipeg Gay Centre was at 275 Sherbrook Street, next door to the gay community space/bar, Giovanni’s Room. The Centre officially began when the campus gay organization Gays for Equality relocated there. In July of 1988 the Winnipeg Gay/Lesbian Resource Centre moved out of Giovanni’s Room to new offices at 222 Osborne Street. This new location made room for the growing archival collection and the intent to meet the community's needs. In September of 1999 the Winnipeg Gay/Lesbian Resource Centre received a name change to Rainbow Resource Centre and relocated to 170 Scott Street.

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Project Lambda was incorporated in 1978 as an apolitical agency whose objectives were to promote public understanding and acceptance of homosexuality, and to foster the personal, social and civil welfare of homosexually-oriented persons in Manitoba. Project Lamdba (sometimes operating as "Friends and Neighbors") sought to meet these objectives by providing and disseminating, through publications, lectures, discussion groups and counselling services, accurate information about homosexuality. It provided, through libraries, reading rooms and data files, educational facilities concerning the relationships between homosexually-oriented persons and their society, their families, their peers, contemporary institutions, etc. In addition, the organization helped establish a forum for the examination and amelioration of the personal, medical, legal and recreational needs of the homosexual community. In 1982, after years of fundraising, Project Lambda and the Oscar Wilde Memorial Society opened Giovanni's Room on the second floor of 275 Sherbrook Street.

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The Winnipeg Gay Media Collective began in 1980 from a small group of gay activists whom had produced weekly half-hour radio programs, starting in 1978, on the University of Manitoba radio station CJUM-FM (Gay Christian Witness and Gaysweek). These programs were initially sponsored by the gay non-denominational organization Council on Homosexuality & Religion. From the closing of CJUM in the spring of 1980, the Winnipeg Gay Media Collective began with the broadcasting of a new weekly gay half-hour TV program on cable channel 13 called Coming Out! The program ran from 1980 to 1986 and featurred interviews with both local and international gay and non-gay guests. The topics of each broadcast were varied but focused on gay cultural, social and political issues.

Name of creator


Administrative history

The Council on Homosexuality and Religion was founded in 1976 as an agency for promoting the welfare of homosexual persons, particularly as regards their religious and spiritual life, and the understanding of homosexuality among the religious and social service institutions with which homosexual persons were in contact. The Council was registered as a non-profit corporation in the Province of Manitoba in 1977 and as a charitable institution with Revenue Canada in 1978. In addition to counselling, the Council was active in compilation, production and distribution of printed and audio-visual materials on homosexuality. On February 6, 1978 the Council began sponsoring a weekly half-hour radio program called Gay Christian Witness (Gay Christian Forum) which was aired on the University of Manitoba radio station CJUM FM. Providing relevant speaker sessions, workshops and seminars was also a mainstay of the organization.

Custodial history

The collection was originally accumulated and catalogued by the Winnipeg Gay and Lesbian Resource Centre. The Resource Centre became the Rainbow Resource Centre in 1999; this new organization still maintained custodial ownership over the Manitoba Gay and Lesbian Archives. In the early 2000's the materials were moved off site to a rental storage unit. In 2008 the Manitoba Gay/Lesbian Archives was donated to the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections, followed by a second accession in 2009 and a third in 2010.

Scope and content

This collection contains textual records relating to various issues and information on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Two-Spirit and Queer history including: Comprehensive Works, Bibliography, Reference; Gay/Lesbian Life, Lifestyles & Concerns; Literature & Language; Visual & Performing Arts; History & Gay/Lesbian Liberation Movement; Behavioral Sciences; Social Sciences; Philosophy & Religion; Physical & Natural Sciences; and AIDS-Related Information. It also includes an extensive moving image and sound collection, including oral histories and episodes of the cable access program "Coming Out."

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Immediate source of acquisition

Ryan Schultz


National Gay Archives Library Classification System. Original reference file classification system used by the Winnipeg Gay and Lesbian Resource Centre.

Language of material

  • English

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Restrictions on access

There are some restrictions on access to this material. See finding aid for further information

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Further accruals are expected.

Alternative identifier(s)

Standard number area

Standard number

Mss 42, PC 292, TC 156 [A.08-67, A.09-28, A.10-31, A.11-09]

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

April 21, 2010
Revised October 2016 by Natalie Vielfaure

Language of description

  • English

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