Call for papers: Special issue of the Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada

LGBTQ+ print in Canada and elsewhere: overviews and perspectives

Special issue of the Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada (to be published in Fall 2019)

In 1975, Toronto police morality squad ordered Issue 18 of The Body Politic off the shelves because of a cartoon depicting two men engaging in a sexual act. In early January 1978, the newsmagazine would again find itself at the centre of controversy when its publishers were charged with the use of the mails for transmitting indecent, immoral or scurrilous literature. The resulting court cases would transform and help modernize the country’s otherwise restrictive postal laws. At the height of the sexual liberation movement, The Body Politic would become the newsmagazine of record for Canada’s LGBTQ+ communities with a readership that extended well beyond the national border. As Don McLeod points out, however, The Body Politic is part of a surprising long legacy of LGBTQ+ print publishing in Canada[1]. The first homosexual periodical, GAY, began publishing in 1964. Around this time, several homophile groups also began publishing newsletters for their members, a tradition that still continues among many LGBTQ+ organizations, especially in Quebec, where LGBTQ+ print publishing is particularly important. Throughout the 1990s, the proliferation of reprographic and computer technologies facilitated the emergence of a strong tradition of zine publishing, including the ground-breaking gendertrash from hell, which gave voice to genderqueers outside of the lesbian and gay press. Indeed, the rise of LGBTQ+ print publishing coincides with the mobilization of the homophile, gay and lesbian rights, queer, and trans movements over the course of the last six decades.

For this special issue of the Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada, we invite submissions that explore the histories of LGBTQ+ print publishing in Canada. More general panoramas as well as case studies are welcome. Below are some illustrative topics (not limitive) that would be suitable for inclusion in the Special Issue:

  • The general conditions of production, dissemination and reception of LGBTQ+ print publishing in Canada;
  • The different formats of LGBTQ+ print publications, such as monographs, comic books, newspapers, magazines, bulletins, tabloids, pamphlets, posters, leaflets (many case studies are possible);
  • The LGBTQ+ publishers (or the specific series and collections edited by more general publishers);
  • LGBTQ+ publishing and new technologies;
  • The history and impact of Women’s and/or LGBTQ+ bookstores;
  • The challenge of LGBTQ+ print publications in public libraries and/or school libraries;
  • LGBTQ+ prints and censorship.

Submissions must include a 200-word abstract and short biographical note. They may be submitted in French or English no later than December 1, 2018. Articles should be no more than 9,000 words and follow the journal’s preferred referencing style (Chicago 16th ed.). For more information about the submission process or style guide, please refer to the Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada’s website.

For information and questions, please contact the two Special Issue’s editors: Nicholas Giguère ( and Rebecka Sheffield (

[1] McLeod, Donald W. A Brief History of Gay: Canada’s First Gay Tabloid, 1964-1966. Toronto: Homewood Books, 2003.

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