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Saskatchewan Resources for Sexual Diversity

About the Index of Perceptions

the Gay & Lesbian Newsmagazine
of the Prairies

Introduction | History | About | Main Index | Printable (PDF)

Index compilation Copyright 2005 by Alex Spence.

Perceptions, the Canadian gay newsmagazine, has been published in Saskatoon since 1983. In addition to emphasizing matters concerning the Canadian prairie provinces of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Alberta, the magazine has also reported extensively on general Canadian gay issues and has provided some coverage of international, and especially American, news.

In 1983, Perceptions took the place of two earlier periodicals, Gaze and Gay Times, and by virtue of its continuous publication since that year, it would appear to be the longest running gay periodical in Canada.

Emphasis in Perceptions contents was initially on matters concerning the province of Saskatchewan (and particularly the city of Saskatoon), but geographic coverage was expanded significantly beginning, especially, with issues 47 to 49. With those issues, Perceptions began reporting more extensively on events in the other two Canadian prairie provinces of Alberta and Manitoba. It thus became more thoroughly a newsmagazine of the Canadian prairies, presenting coverage of events for a geographical area which has a present population of five million and which contains five large cities ranging in size from approximately 200,000 to one million.

This index provides access to contents of the first twenty-two years of Perceptions, the first 173 issues, from 1983 through 2004. The index provides reference to many events which have occurred on a quite significant stretch of a sometimes rocky road towards equality rights for gays and lesbians.

In 2003, an index for a shorter time span, titled Perceptions: the first fifteen years, 1983-1997, was compiled by the author of this present index and published by Perceptions Publications. This current index carries indexing forward through 2004, incorporating the previous indexing, correcting some errors discovered in the earlier compilation, and presenting several enhancements and minor rearrangements.

Because of the substantial coverage given by Perceptions to general Canadian gay events and issues, the index may be of use in tracing not only prairie but also broad Canadian gay/lesbian issues of the 1980s, the 1990s, and the early years of the twenty-first century.


As a general statement, indexing is quite thorough. More specifically, with regard to indexing inclusions and exclusions, the following (with minor deviations) apply:

Indexed are:

  • major Canadian articles;
  • obituaries.

Indexed selectively are:

  • letters;
  • editorials;
  • newsnotes from geographic areas outside the three prairie provinces [with Canadian items given quite thorough coverage];
  • display advertisements [indexed very selectively, those included being mainly ones related to community events];
  • articles which are essentially calls for participation in upcoming events;
  • reviews [with emphasis placed primarily, but not solely, on Canadian matters];
  • international news [indexed extremely selectively];
  • directories of community organizations [for a detailed explanation of the indexing policy in this regard, see the note at heading COMMUNITY PAGE LISTINGS].

Not indexed are:

  • classified advertisements;
  • information appearing on calendars of events.


The index is accompanied by a list of descriptors. This is an alphabetical list of the primary headings (without their subdivisions) that appear in the body of the index text. The user is advised to examine the list to gain an overview of index contents.

The index is both a subject and an author index, and is presented in one alphabetical sequence. The user should be aware that, in the case of a person whose name appears as a heading in the index, the references given at that personal name heading may be a combination of works by and works about the person. This is of most relevance in the case of authors who have written autobiographically or those who have been authors of some Perceptions items and subjects of others.

Entry under each heading is chronological by Perceptions number. These numbers range from 1 to 173. The number immediately follows the P in the location information at the end of each citation.

Within the twenty-two-year period of indexing, there was some variation in presentation of Perceptions numbers, volume/issue designations, and dates. For example, in some earlier issues, only the number or number plus year was given to a specific issue. Later, number, volume/issue, and a specific date were all given. Occasionally there were incorrect numberings, or there was inconsistency of dating/numbering information between the cover and the contents page. I have attempted to provide sufficient information to permit the user to work around these matters with minimal difficulty.

A typical entry uses the Perceptions headline directly, if a headline is provided. Square brackets enclose additional information either taken from the body of the text or provided by the indexer, because most headlines provide insufficient guidance.

If an article is attributed to an individual who uses a full name, that person is noted not only within the citation and at the appropriate subjects, but also under the author's name heading. Partial names (first name plus initial, for example) are not given author entry. A few pseudonyms will also be found as primary headings, three notable ones being Cooper, Marilyn; Roberta, Jean; and Svensson, Sven.

In the particular case of newsnotes reported from other publications, attribution is in general not directly available, but is often given by Perceptions as a general source note at the end of the section. The user may wish to consult the magazine issues directly for this information.

The international news reports and newsnotes which frequently appear in Perceptions were indexed very selectively. In cases where they were included, primary entry was made under country, with only rare secondary duplication of citations under subject. Indexed American issues were treated as an exception to this policy and were entered like Canadian ones, with primary access under subject.

Method of citation:

Following the title or expanded title of the indexed work and (as applicable) the author name, the location of the work in the run of Perceptions issues is given in abbreviated form, as illustrated by the following example:

P75 (v10n6)(Sept. 16, 1992): 8 (39cm.)

interpreted in the following way:

  • P = Perceptions
  • 75 = Number 75 in the Perceptions publication sequence
  • (v10n6) = Volume 10, issue 6 (found in later issues and there assigned in addition to sequential numbering)
  • (Sept. 16, 1992) = Date of publication
  • 8 = Page number
  • (39cm.) = Approximate column length of indexed work (to provide rough guide to quantitative extent of report)

In some earlier years, information is less extensive than that given in this example.

With regard to alphabetization, entries in the printed edition of the index adhere to the following schema. (There are, however, minor ordering differences in the descriptor lists of the printed and electronic versions because of variations in computer program filing rules):

  • Apostrophes are ignored (CANADA'S files after items beginning with CANADA);
  • Commas and full stops are likewise ignored (thus, BELL CANADA files before BELL, KIRBY and CANADA. PARLIAMENT files before CANADA POST);
  • Hyphens cause the joined items to be treated as a single element (thus, STAR-PHOENIX follows STARK, MICHAEL);
  • Slash ( / ) with a letter on each side and no intervening spaces (e.g., GAY/LESBIAN) files before any alphabetic character in that position (thus, GAY/LESBIAN COMMUNITY CENTRE OF SASKATOON has filed before GAYLESBI COMMUNITY…, but after GAY YOUTH SUPPORT OF SASKATOON);
  • Mc and Mac surnames are filed as spelled. If you are unsure of spelling, check both possibilities.
This schema follows, with some small deviations, general computer-generated filing and the auto-filing feature of the Microsoft Word application program. In cases where the compiler anticipated potential confusion, a See reference was inserted.

The most common number of Perceptions issues per year is eight, but there is some variation from this in the earlier years, as noted below:

  • 1983 nos. 1-5 (5 issues)
  • 1984 nos. 6-11 (6 issues)
  • 1985 nos. 12-20 (9 issues)
  • 1986 nos. 21-29 (9 issues)
  • 1987-2004 nos. 30 [misnumbered 29]-173 (8 issues per year)
The index presents a mix of broad and specific descriptors. Broad headings, such as HOMOPHOBIA and its geographical subdivisions, collect reports of a disparate group of events with a common theme. Specific headings, such as GAY AND LESBIAN HEALTH SERVICES and personal name headings, have a tighter focus. Often there are useful notes at one type of heading suggesting examination of headings of the other type (for example, an extensive list of non-gay politicians who have received individual index entry is given at the POLITICIANS heading, with analogous lists for musicians, authors, artists, and bookstores at MUSIC, BOOKS AND WRITING, ART, and BOOKSTORES headings, respectively).

Some names, and other useful words and phrases, do not have their own headings, but appear only in the body of a citation. In such cases, the user can keep in mind the keyword search capability available in the electronic version of this publication. The feature permits a more comprehensive search.

For most productive use of the index, the user should not be satisfied with checking one heading only, but should explore related headings thoroughly, since emphasis of articles and other events may have led to fuller indexing of an issue under one heading than under a closely related one (an example would be VRIEND, DELWIN and KING'S COLLEGE, for which there are more references to the issue under VRIEND, who tended often to be the primary focus of reports; compare also VRIEND, DELWIN with DELWIN VRIEND FUND)

May 7, 2005


  • Dedication: To Gens Hellquist, especially, for providing a voice.
  • To Neil Richards for providing copies of seven years of Perceptions magazine so that I could continue indexing conveniently. Without these copies, the index would not have been extended.
  • To Janet Catterall, Librarian, Research Services Division, University of Saskatchewan Library, for her support, interest, and many hours of time in making the index accessible to all over the Internet through the University of Saskatchewan Library.
  • To University of Saskatchewan Library administrators for their support of the electronic mounting.
  • To Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives staff for access courtesies when I was compiling the earlier index volume for the 1983-1997 period, the substance of which is incorporated into this present index.
  • Again and most especially, to K.