Keeping our stories alive Vancouver posterOur Volunteer + Community Outreach Coordinator Jade Pichette visited British Columbia in March for a speaking tour on The ArQuives and LGBTQ+ History. She was able to meet many wonderful people including community activists, LGBTQ+ Historians, and archivists who are concerned about keeping the stories of LGBTQ+ people alive. Here are a couple of the highlights from Vancouver and Victoria. Vancouver – March 15th and 16th Our first stop in Vancouver was at Qmunity, BC’s Queer Resource Centre right in the middle of the Davie Street Village in Vancouver’s downtown west end. Qmunity has been serving the LGBTQ+ communities in Vancouver and other parts of BC for a number of years providing counseling, youth and older LGBTQ services, and LGBTQ+ inclusivity trainings across BC. Their education coordinator Joel gave us a tour of the facility and prepared the groundwork for our presentation later that night. We presented about The ArQuives, our collections and, why it is important to archive LGBTQ+ stories. We talked about how remembering is a powerful act that allows our communities to survive and thrive, where otherwise it would be erased. In the audience included community and academic archivists, people who have lived the LGBTQ+ history of Vancouver, curious community members who had never had a chance to access LGBTQ+ history and even a former volunteer who had moved out to BC years before. The next day the stop was at the BC Gay and Lesbian Archives where we got to see the collections that have been collected by archivist Ron Dutton since 1976. These include posters, files, cassette tapes and more. We traded challenges that we experience as community archives and talked about what the future of LGBTQ+ community archives holds. As a final stop in Vancouver our VCOC could not help but visit Little Sisters Book and Art Emporium. Little Sisters is a staple in LGBTQ+ community history having fought the Canadian Border Services Agency, regarding their labeling of LGBTQ+ content as obscene. The struggle that they experience was fictionalized in the popular movie Better than Chocolate as 10% books. Activiating the archives - images of pins,zines, and posters that are stored at The ArQuivesVictoria – March 17th to 20th In Victoria our VCOC met up with colleagues The ArQuives board member and principle investigator at the LGBTQ+ Digital Oral History Collaboratory, Elspeth Brown, Collaboratory Project Manager, Nick Matte, and Digital Archivist Al Stanton-Hagan at the University of Victoria. The University of Victoria, which recently announced the creation of the first Transgender Studies Research Chair Dr. Aaron Devor, was hosting the Moving Trans History Forward Conference (MTHF). This was the second conference of its kind, the first of which held in 2014, and the largest conference in Canada about the trans community. In attendance were trans elders, archivists, historians, trans activists, academics from other fields researching trans people, and interested community members. The participants came from all over world including Canada, the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Sweden, Germany and, Australia. Some highlights of the conference included the performances by Andrea Jenkins & Erica Fields on “Countering Historical Erasure of Transgender Narratives from mainstream LGBT History” as well as the Founder’s Panel where trans activists who had been doing things for 40 years of more told their stories including Canadians Rupert Raj and, Jamie Lee Hamilton. Another highlight for us was a tour of the Transgender Archives given to us by archivist Lara Wilson. On Saturday of the conference Nicholas Matte, Elspeth Brown, Al Stanton‐Hagan & Jade Pichette gave the presentation Activating the Archives: Making Trans Histories Accessible at The ArQuives. We talked about the challenges that are faced when trying to access and make accessible trans histories at The ArQuives. Jade Pichette talked about The challenges of trans-inclusive volunteer management and community outreach at The ArQuives, Elspeth Brown discussed the LGBTQ Oral History Collaboratory and the Rupert Raj archival collection, Al Stanton-Hagan discussed digitizing trans oral histories and the challenges of metadata and, Nick Matte discussed the trans pathfinder and the emotional impact of trans labour in making accessible trans histories. Overall we got to meet people interested in our collections from many parts of Canada and around the World. For more information about Moving Trans History Forward look at the post by the LGBTQ Digital Oral History Collaboratory, the Transgender Archives Flickr Page, or look at the live tweeting we did at #MTHF16.