City Seminar panel presentation to explore Toronto as queer city

A panel presentation and book launch will be the focus of the second event in the City Seminar series, presented by the City Institute at York University (CITY) on Oct. 5.

The City Seminar is an interdisciplinary series of presentations and discussions on urban landscapes, past and present. “Any Other Way: How Toronto Got Queer, a book launch and panel discussion” will take place from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in 140 Health, Nursing and Environmental Studies Building.

The event will include a panel presentation from some of the contributors from the text, including Jenn Coffey, Ed Jackson, Kurt Mungal and Tatum Taylor. Jane Farrow, one of the book’s contributors and a member of the CITY external advisory board, will moderate the discussion.

Any Other Way is an eclectic and richly illustrated local history that reveals how these individuals and community networks have transformed Toronto from a place of churches and conservative mores into a city that has consistently led the way in queer activism, not just in Canada, but internationally. From the earliest pioneers to the parades, pride and politics of the contemporary era, Any Other Way draws on a range of voices to explore how the residents of queer Toronto have shaped and reshaped one of the world’s most diverse cities.

Any Other Way includes chapters on: Oscar Wilde’s trip to Toronto; early cruising areas and gay/lesbian bars; queer shared houses; a pioneering collective counter-archive project; bath house raids; LBGT-police conflicts; the Queen Street art/music/activist scene; and a profile of Jackie Shane, the trans R&B singer who performed in drag in both Toronto and Los Angeles and gained international fame with her 1962 chart-topping single “Any Other Way.”

The event will feature:

  • a discussion with the contributors about their written pieces and the text more broadly;
  • a discussion about subject matter of queering Toronto over time and space;
  • a discussion about how Toronto has transformed from a conservative city; and
  • a discussion intending to remember Toronto’s many institutions and personalities.

This event is a critical conversation about how Toronto became recognized as a queer city, with attention to both the historical and the contemporary moments of significance and controversy. It is open to all members of the York University community, and those interested in hearing more on the topic.

The event has been coordinated with the help of Teresa Abbruzzese, a sessional assistant professor in the Department of Social Science, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies.