Toronto’s Gay Community Dance Committee (GCDC) was a volunteer-run, coalition-building organization that raised over $250,000 for LGBTQ2+ community groups in the 1980s. This exhibition features posters, photographs, and other materials that remind us that queer liberation can be sparked by experiences on the dance floor.
The impetus for the GCDC was simple: the committee would encourage collaborations among small, independent gay and lesbian organizations in order to host dances that were larger than any of the individual groups could hold on their own. Participating groups would sell tickets, provide labour for necessary duties at each dance (coat check, security, bartending, clean-up, and more), and subsequently split the profits based on ticket sales and volunteer hours provided. A core management group took care of all other preparations and arrangements.
The GCDC’s archive reminds us that moments of queer pleasure and bliss are often possible through collaboration across differences of identities and collective resistance to the state and the violence perpetrated in its name.
For more information on the GCDC and the broader Liberation on the Dance Floor project visit liberationonthedancefloor.ca.
Graphic & Web Designer
Afrah Idrees is a graphic & web designer who worked as the visual design lead on this project. She conducted a visual analysis of the handbills from the GCDC dances, created website formatting, and developed the branding and design of Liberation on the Dance Floor.
Assistant Professor of English
Craig Jennex is an Assistant Professor of English at Toronto Metropolitan University. He is the co-author of Out North: An Archive of Queer Activism and Kinship in Canada and co-editor of Popular Music and the Politics of Hope: Queer and Feminist Interventions. His book Liberation on the Dance Floor will be published by Cambridge University Press in early 2024.