Toronto/Three Fires Territory has long been a place that people move to in order to join queer and trans Black, Indigenous and people of colour (QTBIPOC) communities. Yet the city’s rich history of antiracist and anti-colonial queer and trans activism remains largely unwritten and unarchived. While QTBIPOC have a long and visible presence in the city, they always appear as newcomers in queer urban maps and archives in which white queers appear as the only historical subjects imaginable. To unmap and counter-archive this, this team of five FES and York faculty, grad students and graduates, including Professor Jin Haritaworn, Syrus Marcus Ware, Ghaida Moussa, Alvis Choi and Rio Rodriguez, has brought together some of the city’s finest artists, activists and academics in these two books.

Educators interested in teaching the books can order free exam copies here (for Queering Urban Justice) and here: (for Marvellous Grounds).

Marvellous Grounds: Queer of Colour Histories of Toronto

Edited by Jin Haritaworn, Ghaida Moussa, and Syrus Marcus Ware
Paperback / softback, 272 pages
Published October 2018
Publisher: Between the Lines

Featuring the art, activism, and writings of QTBIPOC in Toronto, Marvellous Grounds (Between The Lines) tells the stories that have shaped Toronto’s landscape but are frequently forgotten or erased. Responding to an unmistakable desire in QTBIPOC communities for history and lineage, this rich volume allows us to imagine new ancestors and new futures.

Queering Urban Justice: Queer of Colour Formations in Toronto

Edited by Jin Haritaworn, Ghaida Moussa, and Syrus Marcus Ware, with Río Rodríguez
Paperback / softback, 240 pages
Published June 2018
Publisher: University of Toronto Press

Queering Urban Justice (University of Toronto Press) foregrounds visions of urban justice that are critical of racial and colonial capitalism, and asks: What would it mean to map space in ways that address very real histories of displacement and erasure? What would it mean to regard QTBIPOC as geographic subjects who model different ways of inhabiting and sharing space?

Key words: Affect, archiving, Black Lives Matter, border justice, coming out, community arts, criminalization, decolonization, diaspora, disability arts, disability justice, faith, Filipino/a studies, G20, Gay Asians of Toronto, gaybourhood, gentrification, healing justice, HIV and AIDS, homelessness, homonationalism, Indigenous media, mad activism, mapping, memory, migrant sex workers, missing and murdered Indigenous women, neoliberal city, Palestine solidarity, performance, poetry, prison abolition, queer Black and brown histories, queer migration, queer nostalgia, racial and colonial capitalism, racial profiling, refugees, social movements, space, trans women of colour, transformative justice, urban and environmental justice, Village

Contributors: Nayrouz Abu Hatoum, nisha ahuja, Asam Ahmad, Tara Atluri, Beverly Bain, Carol Camper, John Paul Catungal, Tings Chak, Matthew Chin, Kusha Dadui, Robert Diaz, OmiSoore Dryden, Nwadiogo Ejiogu, Amalia M. Duncan-Raphael, Audrey Dwyer, Dionne Falconer, Che Gossett, Junior Harrison, Jin Haritaworn, Monica Forrester, Richard Fung, Chanelle Gallant, Lamia Gibson, Pauline Sok Yin Hwang, Lezlie Lee Kam, Janaya Khan, Elene Lam, Marissa Largo, Davis Lewis-Peart, Alan Li, Azar Masoumi, Courtnay McFarlane, Ghaida Moussa, LeRoi Newbold, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Philip Pike, Fritz Luther Pino, Aemilius Ramirez, Nadijah Robinson, Rio Rodriguez, Zahra Siddiqui, Danielle Smith, Rebeka Tabobondung, Shaunga Tagore, Carol Thames, Laureen Blu Waters, Syrus Marcus Ware, Melisse Watson, Alexandria Williams, Natalie Wood, Kate Zen.


Marvellous Grounds‘ pages will now forever be part of our beautiful, complicated, complex connective tissue. This is essential reading for conversations around QTBIPOC organizing, resistance and resilience strategies. It is a testament to an often-ignored history; a celebration of the often-misunderstood.”
—Catherine Hernandez, author of the critically acclaimed novel, Scarborough

“Upending white supremacist, neoliberal narratives of”gay progress,” Marvellous Grounds shows us Toronto’s QTBIOC communities surviving and thriving in the midst of violent forces of erasure. The essays, dialogues, and creative interventions gathered here offer an invitation to remember and learn from rich and resplendent stories—of organizing and activism, of dance parties, reading groups, performances, and everyday life. This is the history we want and the history we need.”
—Craig Willse, author of The Value of Homelessness: Managing Surplus Life in the United States

“Expanding traditional queer and critical race studies towards a vital dialogue with urban cultural geographers, Queering Urban Justice presents powerful reflections that transgress national boundaries. It responds to the lack of course literature and is central for both undergraduate and post-graduate education in several fields, including gender and queer studies, ethnic and racial studies, and urban studies.”
—Diana Mulinari, Lund University, Sweden

“Queer and trans Toronto needs this book (Queering Urban Justice).”
—Dina Georgis, University of Toronto

Marvellous Grounds describes a Toronto that makes sense and feels right. It doesn’t suffer from impossible racial homogeneity or glib hollow triumph. This gentle, trusting, personal collection lingers over homelessness, racial profiling, protest, worship, and the struggle of queers of colour starting families, and so is a Toronto origin story that feels real.”
—Elisha Lim, M.A., M.F.A., graphic novelist, 100 Crushes

Marvellous Grounds is an incredibly important critical intervention into the ongoing creation and theorization of queer counter archives and their frequent whitewashing. The artists/activists/academics whose work is collected here offer a multilayered, sharp, original, and touching take on queer Toronto past and present that will be relevant to scholars and practitioners far beyond the local context.”
—Fatima El-Tayeb, professor of literature and ethnic studies, University of California, San Diego

Marvellous Grounds showcases the stunning array of queer and trans Black, Indigenous, and people of color (QTBIPOC) organizing, community building, and space making practices in the Toronto area since the 1970s. This collection will be a resource to QTBIPOC searching for their community, history, and culture; to activists and community-builders looking for effective and innovative organizing models; and to academics seeking of new archives of QTBIPOC activism and culture.”
—Kadji Amin, author of Disturbing Attachments: Genet, Modern Pederasty, and Queer History

“Queering Urban Justice is a stunning anthology that places racialized queers as the leading architects of political organizing.”
Harsha Walia, author of Undoing Border Imperialism

“A vivid, bold, and inspiring celebration of what it means to love and struggle in difference and community. Written by those who walk their talk, this book evokes the joy and power of creative activism.”
—Honor Ford-Smith, professor of community arts practice, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University

“The authors, artists, and activists gathered in this extraordinary book invoke an insurgent and untameable queer and trans history, one which confronts both co-option and self-congratulation. Boldly making space for the silenced, criminalized, and displaced voices of queer and trans Black, Indigenous  and people of colour (QTBIPOC), Marvellous Grounds disrupts queer nostalgia, complacency, and white fragility, and testifies to QTBIPOC resilience, resistance, and healing. Whether you come to this book in search of a radically transformative decolonial theory and praxis, or to reclaim a displaced queer/trans lineage, these stories are guaranteed to move, challenge, and inspire.”
—Julia Chinyere Oparah, provost, dean of the faculty, and professor of ethnic studies, Mills College and author of Birthing Justice, Battling Over Birth, Activist Scholarship and Global Lockdown

Marvellous Grounds is a compelling and transformative site of queer of colour creation and ongoing creativity, collectively confronting and refusing dominant white queer Together, the essays build queer counter-archives as their own form, where writing and genealogies of thought emerge in collective organizing, art practices, abolitionist work, disability justice, poetics, healing justice, performance, anti-racism, and spirituality. In this long-awaited anthology, the authors make possible the kinds of depth and life that come from an effort to pause, and take hold of what emerges in our struggles to find new ways of being with one’s self and amongst others.”
—Lee Ann S. Wang, School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, University of Washington Bothell

Marvellous Grounds seeks freedom through transformative and reparatory justice by making space to the de-historicized, de-spatialized subjects of queer of colors in Toronto. The coloniality of space and place are turned into Marvellous Grounds by spatializing intergenerational conversations among QTBIPOC and their practices of caretaking and solidarity. The intellectual tightness runs skin deep and unearths the colonial complicity of progressive movements while queer of colour formations dare to live their own decolonial life.”
—Noa K. Ha, research director, Center for Integration Studies, Technische Universität Dresden, Germany

Marvellous Grounds is a foundational book for gender, queer, postcolonial, and critical race scholarship. Archiving and reflecting on four decades of queer and trans Black, Indigenous and people of colour (QTBIPOC) historiography, collective organizing, cartographies of violence and building communities of care and healing in the city of Toronto, this inspiring book is a must read for activists, artists, and academics alike who radically question who the subject of queer history is and more importantly dare to ask”What kind of ancestor do I want to be?”
—Onur Suzan Nobrega, Institute of Sociology, Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany.

“This exceptionally innovative book initiates a whole new era in QTBIPOC research, from the collaborative process of conceptualizing a research project across generations and across racialized and other positionalities, to its totally uncompromising critique of white queer erasures of QTIBIPOC theories, practices, and subjectivities, to its brilliant renderings of QTBIPOC historiographies including creative survival strategies, the construction of new relationalities, and political inventions, throughout. This is radically transformative scholarship at its very best.”
—Paola Bacchetta, professor of gender and women’s studies, University of California, Berkeley and author of Co-Motion: On Feminist and Queer Alliances

“As the lead singer of the radical duo LAL and co-organizer of the DIY QT2S/BIPOC space, Unit 2, I am so happy to see this important book that highlights some of the amazing work and stories by QTBIPOC/friends in Toronto. More than half of the contributors have shared space or gathered at Unit 2, so this book resonates in my body and soul. Marvellous Grounds is a necessary piece of writing that documents and helps keep our stories alive, in a way that is for us by us. . This book will share important perspectives with a new generation of QTBIPOCs and friends, while honouring the stories, people, and places that fought and fight for justice and freedom, in this amazing but complicated meeting place, Toronto.”
—Rosina Kazi, LAL / UNIT 2

Marvellous Grounds makes visible a counter archive of QTBIPOC in Toronto. Through highlighting histographies of  activism and alliances created against racism and classism, we see how QTBIPOC have contributed to shaping a strong community of artists and activists that are at the forefront of anticolonial, Black, trans and queer movements in Toronto.”
—Sokari Ekine, visual scholar

Marvellous Grounds is a beautiful gathering of QTBIPOC artists, organizers, activists, and cultural workers that achieve the Morrisonian [Toni Morrison’s] task of creating a map outside of the mandates of conquest, specifically its homonormative archival practices.  Speaking across time and space, the Marvellous Grounds collective lovingly curates visual art, prose, intimate conversations and tender caresses taking place on Toronto’s street corners that have the potential to heal both the ancestors and the generations yet to come. Creating marvelous ground in Toronto, this stunning collection resists inclusion into normative and homonationalist queer Canadian archives. It also refuses to help repair this archive. Instead, Marvellous Grounds beautifully disfigures the colonial project of archiving as it yearns and reaches for what the co-editors call”the something yet-to-be-done.” Marvellous Grounds is a healing praxis that QTBIPOC communities can bask in as they soak up the sweet balm it tenders. This collection is a gift.”
—Tiffany King, Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Georgia State University