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Jun 1 2021 Pride /

TSA Playlist | June: Queer Space 🌈

Includes free limited-time access to "Outspoken: Is the Village Dying".


From nightclubs to villages, bookstores to community centres, the 2SLGBTQ+ community has found safety, community and belonging in numerous visible and invisible spaces. These queer spaces have been a life saving haven for many, making room for a historically marginalized community. 

As part of our Pride programming and complimenting our upcoming IDEAS Forum: Queer Space, this month’s TSA Playlist features films, documentaries and podcasts exploring the past, present and future of queer spaces across North America. From the origin of Pride’s most recognizable placemaking symbol the rainbow flag to the ongoing challenges facing gay villages and queer neighbourhoods, our free-to-stream selection highlights a wide variety of perspectives and stories about these diverse spaces, the people that inhabit them, and the challenges they are facing.  

Making this month’s playlist extra special, the TSA has secured limited-time access to “Outspoken: Is The Village Dying”, a 2013 documentary on the ongoing challenges facing Toronto’s Church and Wellesley Village, which you can now enjoy for free during the month of June! 


Outspoken: Is the Village Dying?
2013 | 49 min | Trailer

Toronto’s Church and Wellesley Village is one of the best known gay villages in the world and home to many queer owned and friendly establishments, but like in many other villages around the world things are changing. As many members of the gay community move to other parts of the city and numerous businesses close their doors, the once-bustling Toronto neighbourhood is in danger of losing its identity. This documentary by multi-award winning filmmaker Mark Kenneth Woods asks: is the Village dying?

This film is no longer available for free, but can still be access through OutTV.

Watch on OutTV



Island Stories: A meaningful refuge for the LGBTQ2S+ community
2021 l 3 min

Produced by the City of Toronto as part of a collective storytelling project about the Toronto Island, this short film explores the important role the island has played as a special place of refuge and celebration for Toronto’s LGBTQ2+ community. Hanlan’s Point and Ward’s Island were key places for the early LGBTQ2S+ liberation movement and continue to be meaningful gathering spaces today.

Watch it on Youtube



Rainbow Pride
2004 | 56 min 

Sometimes placemaking can be as small as a sticker on a window to convey a safe space. Rainbow Pride follows the origin story of the most iconic symbol of the 2SLGBTQ+ community – the rainbow flag – delving into its symbolic significance and fascinating place in history. As we are taken through the history of pride in broad strokes, we meet the flag’s designer, Gilbert Baker, and hear stories from folks of all walks who have been impacted by the symbol of the rainbow flag.

Watch it on YouTube



Searching for the Last Lesbian Bars in America
2015 | 25 min

For a long time, bars have held a key role as spaces of safety for members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community. However, while many gay bars continue to thrive in many cities In North America, lesbian bars have shut down one by one. Toronto is no exception. In this documentary, host JD Samson takes us on a lively, investigative trip across the United States in search of an answer to this question: why are all the lesbian bars disappearing?

Watch it on Vice Video



Gen Silent
2011 | 65 min | Trailer

“The number one issue for LGBT seniors is housing. There’s a big fear of going to a place where people will be bullied and harassed [in the same way they might have been harassed] decades ago.”

Bob Linscott, Assistant Director, Fenway Heath’s LGBT Aging Project

What do we do when the places built to care for our seniors become hostile for the generation that fought the hardest to come out of the closet? Critically acclaimed filmmaker Stu Maddux speaks with six seniors about their experiences in long term care, and the realities that they face as 2SLGBTQ+ people fighting to survive in a deeply heteronormative care system.

Watch it on Kanopy



2019 | 21 min

A growing housing crisis in the historically black and queer Tenderloin district of San Francisco hits hardest for those who have always called it home. Tender takes us through the personal stories of black trans women in this neighborhood who are faced with rising rent and gentrification, often falling through the cracks of the system and left to fight for a safe place to sleep.

Watch it on Kanopy



IDEAS Forum: Queer Space
2021 | 60 min 

On June 22, 2021 the Toronto Society of Architects invited a group of artists, designers, and architects to explore questions on queer space in Toronto and beyond in a series of fast paced, fun and insightful pecha-kucha presentations (20 slides shown for 20 seconds each). Topics covered include asylum, space, and Iranian queer heritage, Canada’s first custom-built transitional housing facility for LGBTQI2S youth, and Montréal’s 18 Shades of Gay kilometer-long installation.

Watch it on Vimeo



The Botanical Mind: Queer Nature
2020 | 16 min 

Landscape architect Céline Baumann speaks about her research in the little-known area of gender and sexuality in the botanical world. This short monologue explores how the idea of nature being queer fits into city building, bringing us to question who makes decisions about, and ultimately gets to use, the public space.

Listen on Spotify



99% Invisible: Where do we go from here?
2020 | 37 min 

This episode of 99% Invisible delves into the question of the public bathroom from a design perspective, beginning with the highlighted topic of the all-gendered bathroom. A deeper dive reveals a complex history and ongoing battles for equality in public spaces, probing at the broader question of how these spaces dictate who is included in public life, and who isn’t.

Listen on Spotify



Queer Here, Queer There: The History of Montreal’s Queer Spaces
2020 | 34 min 

Podcast host Noah takes us through the fascinating history of Montreal’s queer spaces. The episode journeys through the evolution of its three gay villages, the role of parks in the city’s queer scene, and more stories.

Listen on Soundcloud



About the TSA Playlist

The TSA Playlist is a monthly curated list of free online films touching upon issues of architecture, the built environment and design. Our thematic lists do more than just entertain; they inspire us, enrich us, and challenge our perspectives helping bring the conversation of the built environment to new audiences and encourage conversation and debate.

Have a suggestion of a film or theme you would like to see featured? Let us know at tsa@torontosocietyofarchitects.ca

Be sure to also check out the past editions of the TSA Playlist.

How to access the Playlist

Our TSA Playlist films are available free of charge for online screening through a number of streaming services in the Greater Toronto Area and beyond including Kanopy, TVO, CBC Gem, and Hoopla. Our monthly list includes viewing links on platforms available in the region. Some of these streaming services might require you to have a free library or university card to access the service. See list below for where these streaming services are available.

Kanopy is currently available through the following library systems and universities in southern Ontario: Toronto PL, Hamilton PL, Oshawa PL (until July 3), Stratford PL, Newmarket PL, Whitby PL, London PL, Guelph PL, University of Toronto, Ryerson University, University of Waterloo, George Brown College, Seneca College, Centennial College and Sheridan College. If you don’t see your library listed, you can verify if your library has made Kanopy available here. Got a university card instead? You can check if your university has made Kanopy available here.

Hoopla is currently available through the following library systems and universities in southern Ontario: Toronto PL, Barrie PL, Kingston PL, Mississauga PL, Kitchener PL, Niagara Falls PL, Peterborough PL and Orillia PL.


The Toronto Society of Architects is committed to creating a more inclusive and welcoming Society, profession and industry. As part of Pride Month, we have created a special series of events – live and on-demand – exploring questions of diversity and inclusion within the built environment and industry. Check out our 3 special events for Pride 2021: IDEAS Forum: Queer Space, TSA Playlist: Queer Space, and TSA Exchange: Inclusion in Construction.