In 2019 the Calgary Institute for the Humanities (CIH) held its inaugural LGBTQ2S+ lecture, with the ambitious goal of establishing an annual endowed lecture which will have an enduring impact on Calgary’s culture by bringing ground-breaking scholars into conversation with the broader community in Calgary during Calgary’s Pride Week.
The CIH’s new lecture series is part of a long tradition at the University of Calgary to support diversity and inclusion, particularly sexual minorities. As can be seen in Kevin Allen’s history of the LGBTQ community in Calgary, Our Past Matters, the University of Calgary has a proud history of hosting internationally prominent speakers on LGBTQ rights: in 1969, for example, there was a lecture in Mac Hall by Harold Call, the pioneering gay activist, publisher, and member of the Mattachine Society. This lecture was attended by plainclothes police officers from the vice squad, who were not there to promote to diversity and inclusion, but they left without incident after being recognized by the speaker. A couple of years later, the University of Calgary hosted a talk by Sir John Wolfenden. He had earlier led an inquiry into the decriminalization of homosexuality in Britain in the 1950s, which resulted in the Wolfenden Report, one of the most important documents in lesbian and gay rights. The CIH is hoping to build an endowment to support an annual visit by key figures in LGBTQ2S+ Studies
With the support of Dr Annette Timm, who as the editor of the Journal of the History of Sexuality has helped us to connect with some of the most distinguished researchers in this field, our donors, community partners and UCalgary Alumni, the CIH is making a powerful demonstration of the University’s continuing commitment to diversity and is aiming to play an even more active role in promoting LGBTQ2S+ studies.