VIVO needs help saving Canada's first LGBT TV series Gayblevision

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      Gay history is complicated by the fact that so much was conducted in secrecy, was ignored, or was even intentionally destroyed. Much has been lost or erased. Urban gay history which concentrated in nightclubs and restaurants also tends to disappears as venues vanish and development destroys neighbourhood focal points.

      When it comes to media, we may now have numerous TV shows with LGBT characters and even an entire Canadian TV network devoted to LGBT programming (OUTtv). But what came before all of that?

      You might not be aware that the first Canadian TV series made by and for LGBT people was produced right here in Vancouver.

      Gayblevision, which ran from 1980 to 1986, was the nation's first gay and lesbian cable-access show on West End Cable 10.

      Gayblevision's staff

      The news magazine series captured the people, organizations, businesses, and events that were all a part of the city's emerging queer community and nascent queer-rights movement.

      Media producer, writer, and LGBT advocate Mary Anne McEwen (1946-2011) cofounded the series.

      She joined Vancouver's VIVO Media Arts Centre in 2010 so she could digitize the tapes of the series, which she donated to Crista Dahl Media Library and Archive. Unfortunately, she died a year later before she could complete the project.

      The Mary Anne McEwen Collection includes video, film, photographs, textual materials, and other items related to the production's history, as well as coverage of the Gay Games III, which was held in Vancouver.

      VIVO is launching a campaign to preserve history by saving the collection before it is lost, which would cost a whopping $12,000 in total.

      If you donate $25, your donation will be combined with four other donations to save a tape while a donation of $125 will save one tape (and you can pick which episode you would like to preserve).

      For more information on the adopt-a-tape campaign, visit the VIVO webpage for the Gayblevision Legacy Fund.

      To check out more episodes of Gayblevision, click here. There's even footage from Pride parades when the event was still developing, and has a much different look and feel than what the massive party that we know it as today.

      Gayblevision footage reveals Vancouver's Pride parade in its early years.