This spring the library is running a remarkable series of author talks by memoirists, historians, novelists who reflect on what it means to be gay or lesbian.
On May 1, 7 pm, at Parliament Street , we welcome Los Angeles-based author Trebor Healey who is in town on a brief tour. He will be talking about and reading from his latest book, A Horse Named Sorrow, recently named a finalist in the 2013 Lambda Literary Awards.
On Saturday, May 4, 2-3 pm at Lillian H. Smith, actor and documentary writer William Whitehead will talk about his life and work in the arts. Whitehead's memoir, Words to Live By, centres on the 40 years of his life spent with his partner acclaimed novelist Timothy Findlay.
The next program in the series is at the St. Lawrence branch on May 7, 7 pm. Here in a talk entitled Challenging History: Sexuality and Sport, Helen Lenskj (above, right) picks up the story of the prejudice against gays, lesbians and intersex people that has been an underlying part of the Olympics for over a century. One has only to think of the backlash against the South African athlete Caster Semenya to appreciate that such bigotry has not disappeared.
To mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, the Palmerston branch features a panel discussion, Querying the Page with Farzana Doctor, Nancy Jo Cullen, Debra Anderson and Zoe Whittall, all past winners of the Writers' Trust Dayne Ogilvie prize. The panel discussion will be moderated by Vivek Shraya.
On May 22 Yorkville, where Toronto Public Library's extensive Lesbian Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Collection is housed, historian Steven Maynard of Queens University will deliver a historical talk, "Pansy Boys and Hell Witches": Queer Visibility in Early-20th-Century Toronto.This illustrated talk looks at the emergence of modern gay and lesbian identities in Toronto during the 1920s and '30s.
Also at Yorkville during the entire month of May is an exhibit, Pride and Prejudice Three Decades of LGBT Community Organizing, by the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives. The exhibit highlights the people, events and publications that shaped Toronto's queer community from the 1970s to the 1990s.
The series wraps up on June 13, 7 pm, at Parliament Street with author and journalism professor Kamal Al-Solaylee. His book Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes recounts the story of his family's remarkable travels back and forth between Yemen and Egypt during the 1960s, and his own struggle to find a way to live as a gay man.