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Group of people posing for the photo at Stonewall Fest 1995

City completes BC Gay and Lesbian Archives collection digitization

Public invited to help identify unknown people and events captured in 1,000 photographs

The NHDS funding allowed us to connect with LGBTQ2+ community members who keenly engaged with the digitized material.

City Archivist Heather Gordon

October 25 2019 –

The digitization of roughly 5,400 photographs, 2,000 posters, and 140 audio-visual works from the BC Gay and Lesbian Archives, a collection donated to the City Archives in 2018, is now complete. 

The BCGLA is a diverse collection of LGBTQ2+ history started by Ron Dutton in the 1970s. Spanning from the 1940s to the 2000s, the collection captures moments from drag performances to City Hall protests, telling the story of a long and powerful history of LGBTQ2+ resistance, solidarity, and strength.

Images and audio-visual works now available

Last October, the City of Vancouver Archives was awarded $71,000 from the National Heritage Digitization Strategy for this project.

Find images and audio-visual works

Over 200 individuals, dates, and places identified

To enhance access to these images, the Archives participated in a number of events during Pride season to connect with members of the LGBTQ2+ community and were able to identify over 200 individuals, dates, and places. 

“The NHDS funding allowed us to connect with LGBTQ2+ community members who keenly engaged with the digitized material,” says City Archivist Heather Gordon. “Through promotional and photo identification events, we were able to meet new researchers, potential donors of material, and members of the LGBTQ2+ community who expressed to us how meaningful it was to see themselves reflected in the archives and included as a pivotal part of the history of Vancouver.”

Help identify more people and events

Of the thousands of images that have been digitized, roughly 1,000 photographs depict people and events that have yet to be identified. On October 26, the Archives is hosting a free public event at SUM Gallery to seek additional help in identifying more people and events. 

For those who cannot attend the event, suggestions for enhancing photograph descriptions for the BCGLA collection can be made online. View the photographs from the Archives’ online database and submit your suggestions