Fonds - Rupert Raj fonds

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Rupert Raj fonds

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  • ca. 1960 - 2012 (Creation)
    Raj, Rupert

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Physical description

5.5 m of textual records
Photos; books; periodicals; pamphlets
9 DVDs; 5 VCR tapes; CDs; videos.

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Biographical history

Rupert Raj is a Eurasian (East Indian and Polish) pansexual trans man who came out in 1971 in the queer community of Ottawa as a bi-sexual trans man. He provided peer-counseling, research and education for transsexual men and women and their significant others, as well as for the medical/health communities of Ottawa, Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto between 1971-1990. He founded several trans organizations, including: 1) Foundation for the Advancement of Canadian Transsexuals (FACT); 2) Metamorphosis Medical Research Foundation (MMRF Dec. 1981-May 1988); and 3) Gender Worker (1987, which changed its name in 1989 to Gender Consultants, with his wife Michelle Raj-Gauthier as partner; closed in 1990). He also founded three transsexual publications: 1) Gender Review: the FACTual Journal (1978-81, Calgary/Toronto); 2) Metamorphosis Newsletter/Metamorphosis Magazine 1982-88, Toronto); and 3) Gender NetWorker (2 issues, Toronto, 1988, directed towards helping professionals and resource providers). In June 1999 he co-founded a peer-support group for transsexual men and transsexual women at the 519 Community Centre in Toronto. Rupert has been working at Sherbourne Health Centre since November 2002 as a psychotherapist in the LGBT Program.

In the first newsletter for FACT, Nick Ghosh writes that he was born in Ottawa in 1952, the second oldest of five siblings, and was raised Roman Catholic but subsequently became atheist. He lists a number of jobs he has held, including: landscaper, hotel clerk, encyclopedia salesman, medical research assistant, security officer, librarian, caterer, cab-driver. He graduated with a BA in psychology from Carleton in 1975. Raj’s given surname was Ghosh. He changed his name first to Nicholas Ghosh and then to Rupert Raj for several reasons. Rupert came from three sources: his childhood teddy, Rupert the Bear; from the English poet, Rupert Brooke; and from the British Royalist commander, Prince Rupert. Raj chose a new surname because he sought a “measure of protective anonymity” when he went “high profile” in the course of his trans advocacy. He chose Raj (derived from raj(a), or east Indian king) to reflect his Eurasian ethnic heritage.

He had chest surgery in NYC with Dr. David Wesser in 1972. In 1972 he underwent a double mastectomy in Yonkers, NY with Dr. David Wesser, and had a total hysterectomy in Calgary in 1978. Raj had been in a long-term relationship with a trans woman for 8 years in the 1980s. However in 1988, broke things off with “Ruth” [pseudonym] because he’d fallen in love with another trans woman named “Marg” [pseudonym]; they married in 1989 and changed their last names to Raj-Gauthier; they split up in the early 1990s. In May of 1988, Raj closed out Metamorphosis due to “two years of chronic burn out”; the magazine also ended at this time. In 1990, Raj phased out Gender Consultants due to “personal and professional” reasons.

Raj founded the Association for Canadian Transsexuals (A.C.T.) in the late-1970s, when living in Vancouver. In January 1978, while living in Calgary, Raj founded F.A.C.T: the Foundation for the Advancement of Canadian Transsexuals (F.A.C.T) as a lobbying and educational organization on behalf of trans* people, with Raj as founding Director, Kyle J. Spooner as Associate Director, and Chris E. Black as Secretary Treasurer. On July 1, 1979, Raj moved the organization’s “head office” from Calgary to Toronto, while various colleagues participated from Calgary, Winnipeg, Montreal, Ottawa, Hamilton, Kitchener and London, ON. As of April 1980 F.A.C.T. was under the management of Susan Huxford and the HQ moved to Rexdale, ON, while Raj remained involved in various capacities, including as editor of Gender Review (ending this in December 1981). (At some point between 1981 and 1986, Huxford changed the name of the organization to the Federation of American and Canadian Transsexuals (also known as F.A.C.T.). Raj was the Toronto Liaison Officer for F.A.C.T from 1985-1987, while running the Metamorphosis Medical Research Foundation. After Raj moved to Toronto and began his publication Metamorphosis (in February 1982), he relinquished his role in publishing Gender Review.

Metamorphosis was founded by Raj in early 1982 as a bi-monthly newsletter; its first issue came out in February of that year. It was a “newsletter Exclusively for F-M men” (with an intended readership among their families, wives/girlfriends, as well as professionals and “para professionals interested in female TSism”); the newsletter presents a more specific focus than FACT’s broader activist mandate. By the third issue, the newsletter averaged around 8 pages, whereas in 1986, most issues were 24 pages. The last issue was in 1988.

Gender NetWorker was founded by Raj in 1988, with its first of two issues appearing in June of 1988 and the second in August (or September) 1988. This publication was directed specifically towards “helping professionals and resource providers.” Raj wrote that he wanted to facilitate a communication network between professional and lay providers, to bring together trans people and the medical and health professionals who worked with trans populations

Custodial history

Scope and content

Fonds consist of materials gathered by Rupert Raj, a Canadian trans activist who has lived in Toronto for most of his adult life. Raj has donated many materials to the CLGA over the years, but the largest collection was donated in 2006 (accession number 2006-167). Highlights of this donation include materials relating to the three trans-related publications Raj founded and edited in the 1980s; correspondence with other trans people, medical professionals, and activists; research on phalloplasty and other trans issues; personal scrapbooks and photographs; and AV materials. Books, periodicals, and AV materials are catalogued separately.

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Restrictions on access

Most of the material is available for researchers, but some of it is restricted as indicated on the finding aid. For this restricted material, researchers are required to a) apply for access and b) agree to use pseudonyms for all named individuals in these records. These restrictions shall be in place through Dec 31, 2040.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

See restriction requirements. Preferred citation: Rupert Raj Collection, Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives

Finding aids

A in-depth finding aid is available on site.

Associated materials

The Rupert Raj Collection includes AV materials, filed separately; books, shelved separately; buttons; and serials, shelved separately. All these materials are listed in the In Magic databases.

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