Any Other Way: How Toronto Got Queer
edited by Jane Farrow, John Lorinc, et al.
Coach House Press, 368 pages, $25.95
This large, varied collection of essays is connected by a desire to uncover Toronto’s queer history in all its diversity. To this end, Any Other Way begins with a story about Jackie Shane, a queer, black, working-class, trans musician who performed in Toronto’s thriving rhythm and blues scene in the 1960s.
There is no single editorial voice. Many essays are personal recollections, some are more standard histories, and still others cannot easily be categorized. One particularly interesting portion of the book reproduces an LGBT magazine’s 1979 “Guide to Arrest and Trial.”
The book’s organization is loosely thematic and non-chronological, frequently jumping from 2017 to 1917 and back again. Given the personal nature of many of these essays, the emphasis is largely on more recent queer histories. Many essays are less than two pages long, making this a fairly approachable book in spite of its often-heavy subject matter.
Because the essays in Any Other Way uncover hidden histories in Toronto’s streets, parks, bars, and hotels, readers familiar with the city are likely to find this book particularly interesting.