Comma

The reticent archives: Preserving LGBTTTIQ histories

Comma (2013), 2013, (1), 69–78.

Abstract

Biases, subjectivity and a subconscious worldview can all affect how archivists approach documenting those communities outside their own, or mainstream, culture. Those communities, too, having been historically marginalised in various ways, may not always be willing participants in the archival endeavour. This paper examines how well Canadian archivists have documented LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) history, drawing on the results of two surveys and a review of existing descriptions on ArchivesCanada, the national database of archival holdings. The impact of government policy toward the LGBT community, donor reluctance, the potential dichotomy between personal records documenting an individual life and those of a social movement, and changing research trends are some of the external issues identified as having an effect on the nature of the archival record. The move away from acquiring private records, and failure on the part of archivists to be proactive in their collection acquisition, are identified as issues of concern, suggesting the spectre of larger and growing absences in the archival record is looming.

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Author details

Avery, Cheryl