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Beyer, Dana, 1952-

  • Beyer, Dana, 1952-
  • Person
  • 1952-

Dana Beyer, M.D. is an American activist, politician, and retired eye surgeon. She was born February 2, 1952 in New York, New York. In 1974 she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Cornell University, and in 1978 she graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine as a Doctor of Medicine. She currently resides in Chevy Chase, Maryland and has two sons.

With colleagues Drs. Scott Kerlin (University of Victoria) and Milton Diamond (University of Hawai'i at Mānoa), Beyer conducted research on the impact of in-utero exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES), an endocrine disrupting compound given during pregnancy to prevent miscarriage and stillbirth. Their findings suggested that the drug causes intersexuality and transgender expression in human beings. They presented their findings to the International Behavioral Development Symposium in 2005. Beyer was also medical advisor for the DES Sons International Network listserv.

After retiring from her career as eye surgeon, Beyer became involved in activism and politics. She is a transgender activist and has sat on boards of many LGBTQ rights organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign, Equality Maryland, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and the Civil Rights Coalition of Maryland. Beyer has fought for anti-discrimination legislation in Maryland which would increase protections and rights of transgender people. In 2008 Beyer was the subject of an investigation by the Ethics Commission of Maryland for harassing petitioners against this legislation, and she subsequently filed a complaint for discrimination and rights violation. She was part of the DSM-V Task Force for Gender Identity Disorder, which was renamed Gender Dysphoria in 2012. In 2011 she co-founded Gender Equality Maryland and operated as the executive director until 2018. She won the 2010 Community Advocacy award from the Capital Area Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, the 2011 Best Transgender Advocate award from the Washington Blade, and was inducted into the Montgomery County Human Rights Hall of Fame in 2014.

Beyer is Jewish and has also been involved with Jewish LGBTQ organizations. She sat on the Keshet Board of Directors, an organization which promotes the inclusion of LGBTQ Jews in Jewish life. She currently sits on the board of A Wider Bridge, the North American organization which promotes LGBTQ inclusion in Israel and equality for Israel, through cultivating constructive engagement. She is also Regional Advocacy Chair for J Street, a national organization which advocates for diplomacy with Israel and a peaceful two-state solution.

Beyer identifies as a Progressive Democrat and was the first transgender candidate for State Senate in American history. She ran three unsuccessful campaigns for public office: State Delegate in 2010, and State Senator in 2014 and 2018. She supported Hillary Clinton's candidacy in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Gilbert, Lara, 1972-1995

  • Gilbert, Lara, 1972-1995
  • Person
  • 1972-1995

Lara Gilbert (Catherine Grace Lara Lian Gilbert) was born in Burnaby, British Columbia on November 26, 1972 to parents Carole Itter, artist, and Gerry Gilbert, poet. Gilbert grew up in Vancouver’s Strathcona and Downtown Eastside neighbourhoods. During her infancy she lived in a large house with her mother and father, her father's parents, and her father's sister and partner. When she was four years old her parents separated and initially shared custody. When Gilbert was 12 years old, she requested to live with her mother full-time and did so until 1992, her third year of university.

Described as a solitary child, she excelled academically, and earned academic awards at the elementary, secondary and post-secondary levels. She was considered a gifted writer from an early age; she began journal writing at approximately 8 years old, and continued writing until her death at age 22. As a child she invented an imaginary world called Kawiakee, including an encoded language and deity Goshiba, which she would refer to throughout her life.

Gilbert attended Lord Strathcona Elementary School, Brittania High School, and the University of British Columbia (UBC), where she earned an honours degree in biochemistry. Following the completion of undergraduate studies, she applied unsuccessfully to a number of Canadian medical schools. Her research paper, “Diagnosis of Viral Respiratory Tract Infections in Children by Using a Reverse Transcription-PCR Panel”, was published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, January 1996.

While continuing with her studies, Gilbert suffered from mental illness due to childhood and adulthood sexual abuse by her father and patrilineal grandfather. She was diagnosed with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and borderline personality disorder. She underwent various treatments including prescription medication, talk therapy, and psychiatric ward admission with electroshock therapy. During her 1993 admission at Vancouver General Hospital, she was sexually assaulted by an orderly. She filed a criminal complaint against VGH, which was ultimately dismissed. On a few occasions, she returned to the Downtown Eastside and experimented with street drugs and prostitution. Following many suicide attempts, Gilbert died from an intentional pharmaceutical drug overdose, October 7, 1995.

Excerpts from Gilbert’s journals were published posthumously in I Might Be Nothing (Trafford Publishing: 2004), edited and with an introduction by Carole Itter.

Huneck, Lavonne

  • Huneck, Lavonne
  • Person

Lavonne Huneck received a BA in Geography with an emphasis on regional conservation and has been involved in land-management decisions in BC. Huneck joined the Board of Directors of the Sierra Club, and was appointed chair of Forestry. She later separated from the Sierra Club over policy differences, and was appointed by the government to the Carmanah Valley Forest Management Advisory Committee (CVFMAC) as an environmental representative. Huneck has also been a member of several committees: a representative on the Forest Land Use Liaison Committee; the chair of Public Involvement, Interface Between Wildlife and Intensive Forestry Research; a member of the editorial board, Forest Planning Canada; and a member of Graham Bruces ad hoc Carmanah Community Committee.

Itter, Carole, 1939-

  • Itter, Carole, 1939-
  • Person
  • 1939-

Carole Itter was born in Vancouver, British Columbia on September 29, 1939. She is an artist, writer, filmmaker, and educator. She attended the Vancouver School of Art in 1961, subsequently renamed the Emily Carr University of Art and Design, where she later became an instructor. She traveled and studied throughout Europe during the 1960's before settling in Vancouver's Strathcona neighbourhood. She had one daughter--Lara Gilbert, 1972-1995--with Vancouver poet Gerry Gilbert, who she lived with for approximately six years. The relationship was emotionally and sexually abusive. Once separated they initially shared custody. When Gilbert was 12 years old, she requested to live with Itter full-time.

In 1978 Itter began to divide her time between her home in Strathcona and a North Vancouver shack occupied by her partner Al Neil, the late Vancouver artist and musician. They shared this shack, known as the Blue Cabin, until 2015. It was preserved when the land was sold, and now exists as the Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency in the waters of False Creek.

Itter has held several exhibitions in Vancouver, frequently collaborating with Al Neil. Notable work and exhibitions include art piece "Personal Baggage" (1972), Rattles (Western Front, 1984), and WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution (Vancouver Art Gallery, 2008). She has won two awards for visual art, the 1989 VIVA (Vancouver Institute of Visual Arts) Award and the 2017 Audain Prize in Visual Art. With Daphne Marlatt, Itter was co-editor of Opening Doors in Vancouver's East End: Strathcona (Harbour Publishing: 1979), an oral history of Strathcona. Her own writing has appeared in anthologies and literary magazines, including periodics, Brick, and Room of One's Own.

In 1992 Lara Gilbert disclosed that she had been sexually abused by her father and patrilineal grandfather. Despite Itter's own ensuing mental health struggles, she supported Gilbert throughout her final years. They attended joint therapy and filed an unsuccessful suit against Vancouver General Hospital for a sexual assault by an orderly. Gilbert died by suicide on October 7, 1995. Itter attempted to press charges against St. Paul's Hospital and staff for medical malpractice, but the filing was dropped in 2001.

Itter processed her grief through research, therapy, and art. Her sculptural installation "The Pink Room: A Visual Requiem" (grunt gallery, 2000) dealt with the impact of grief and loss. It was acquired by the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2007. Itter edited and published excerpts of Lara Gilbert's journals in the book I Might Be Nothing (Trafford Publishing: 2004).

Mitchell, Beverley Joan, 1930-

  • Person
  • 1930-

Beverly Joan Mitchell completed her thesis A Critical Study of the TISH Group in 1972 and received a letter from Frank Davey, poet and editor of TISH, the same year commenting on her thesis.

Tish group

  • Corporate body

The Tish group were largely Vancouver based poets who were associated with the little magazine Tish (1961-1969). Original members of the group -- Frank Davey, George Bowering, David Dawson, Jamie Reid and Fred Wah -- met at the University of British Columbia. They referred to William Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound, Robert Creely and Charles Olson as influences.

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