In 1997, Halifax activist and curator Robin Metcalfe put together an exhibit demonstrating this city’s queer history through a collection of posters, ephemera and art. The show was entitled OUT: Queer Looking, Queer Acting: Lesbian & Gay Vernacular and was held at the Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery. The show and its catalogue detailed how Halifax’s queer activism often dovetailed with the artistic endeavours of the queers who made up its community.
One of the spaces that played a major role in Halifax’s queer history is The Turret, one of Halifax’s earliest gay bars. The essays in 1997’s OUT detail the events, the parties and the people who were involved with The Turret and the history that took place there. Now, in 2014, the very same building that housed The Turret, the Church of England Institute — or more colloquially known as the Khyber — is in its 125th year. And so it seems that to honour both of these events, OUT is being revisited with a new show at the Khyber.
But it costs money to put on these events, and so in a very 21st-century approach, OUT recently launched a crowd-funding campaign to publish a new edition of the catalogue, along with new essays.
According to the Facebook group for the exhibit and campaign,
The publication will reproduce the original catalogue, including a main essay that constitutes the most complete social history, to date, of the emergence and first quarter century of LGBT activism in Halifax. Jane Kansas reflects on coming out at lesbian in rural Nova Scotia, and James MacSwain contributes a film- and videography of local LGBT cinematic production up until 1997. For this second edition, contemporary activist Rebecca Rose traces a personal account of LGBT activism in Halifax in the second decade of the 21st century, emphasising the growing visibility of transgender or trans* activism within the LGBT movement. The book is at once a celebration of the past, an important social and historical documentation, and a passing of the proverbial baton.