Check out my latest Library of Congress blog post, Pride at 50: From Stonewall to Today in which I talk about the historic origins of modern LGBTQ+ pride.
June 2020 Events:
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, I curated a Library of Congress agile case display which will run from May 1-July 1, 2019. Located at the Library of Congress, Thomas Jefferson Building, Great Hall, Second Floor.
The Stonewall uprising has come to represent a turning point in the movement for LGBTQ+ civil rights in the United States. This exhibit provides context to this historical event, with materials representing activism from the time periods before and after. “Before Stonewall” materials will be primarily dated in the 1950s, representing the education-focused homophile movement that preceded the Stonewall uprising. “After Stonewall” materials highlight the more radical gay liberation movement, for which the Stonewall uprising is widely considered to be the catalyst.
Materials are drawn from the papers of Lilli Vincenz and Franklin Kameny, two early LGBTQ+ rights pioneers. Kameny and Vincenz worked together frequently, both being present at some of the earliest LGBTQ+ protests in United States history. The Stonewall 50 display also includes flyers and ephemera from the first pride march, also known as Christopher Street Liberation Day 1970.
Watch the Queer Eye Livestream here! Working to produce this event has been the highlight of my career thus far. On April 3, 2019 the Library of Congress and LC-GLOBE, in partnership with the Congressional Staff Association, Senate GLASS Caucus and Netflix, brought the cast of Queer Eye to the Library of Congress to discuss LGBTQ+ youth issues. As chair of LC-GLOBE, I was honored to invite 200 LGBTQ+ youth to attend the event!
I talk a lot about LGBTQ+ bibliography. Many of these way finding resources were self-published and therefore, are only available at a limited number of libraries. These obscure volumes are not easily discovered online, so I thought I would do my part by keeping a running list of these resources as I find them. I have discovered so many incredible items by using these bibliographies, and I would encourage you to do the same! Since many of these titles are older, they also point to older titles that have not often been ingested into online catalogs, and therefore, are not easily discoverable by search engines or more formal search infrastructures.
Finding unique and interesting items in the library is often the best part of my day. This week, I stumbled upon a compelling independent publication in our microfilm collection. RAT Magazine was a "radically left" underground magazine which ran from 1968-1970, before it was taken over by "feminist radicals". The story goes that the women of RAT were hard at work on the singular Women's Liberation issue, when they discovered that the next issue would feature a pornographic cover. The women simply refused to turn control back over to the men. This is a prime example of the ways in which political issues which effect women specifically become marginalized in larger social justice movements.
The 2018 National Book Festival was the best one yet! This year we made regular mini-zines, mini-zine using legal paper (so a bit bigger), and full size zines with construction paper covers.
Copy paper of various sizes
Construction paper in various colors
Embellishments: Stickers, washi tape, feathers in every color of the rainbow, and stencils!
Hole punches and ribbon/twine for binding
Free mini-zines to give away to use as demos of finished zines and also entince people to come up to the table.
I love when kids (and teens!) come up to the table, take a few seconds, and then dive right into creating. It reminds me of how over-thinking (which I love to do!) can be a real creativity killer sometimes. It's really nourishing to watch kids who have come from all over the country, from all different backgrounds, just plop right down next to one another and start making art!
The kids don't want to leave the zine table! Other volunteers also noticed that although we were one of MANY interactive activities in the area, for some reason kids didn't want to leave our table. Most kids stayed around 20 minutes...but some stayed much longer! It was pretty funny to watch the parents try to convince them to stop making art. The kids weren't having it!
Wow. What an incredible evening we had making zines at City Hall! It was really something to look around and see just a sample of the vibrant creativity DC has to offer. Thank you Nicholas Alexander Brown and Washington Performing Arts for inviting me!
"Politics & Art is an annual free public event presented by Washington Performing Arts' Mars Urban Arts Initiative and D.C. Councilmember David Grosso. This year’s theme will be District Vox—a celebration of voice—from song to spoken word. Politics & Art: District Vox spotlights D.C.-based artists who use the power of their voices to inspire, entertain, and empower in showcase performances on three stages. The evening provides a snapshot of the vibrant artistry that exists throughout the entire District." - David Grosso, 2018
June 6: An incredibly engaging evening with Call Me By Your Name author André Aciman. Many people commented on how funny he is! He is at once incredibly charming and a delight to listen to. At the same time, this talk felt like his work, in that it gave listeners (at least this one) a very particular sensation. At once romantic and inspirational. Despite being a professor, he mentioned not loving school. But I can tell he is an amazing teacher. Although the talk was an hour and not a full semester- I certainly came away from this talk feeling like I had learned something about myself.
June 7: What a lovely and lively evening with author Becky Albertalli! I expected her to be awesome because when you read her books...you feel like you know her. But I was delighted by her lovely fans! They were so energetic and asked great questions. Some even made special "Love, Simon" shirts just for the event! It was really amazing to spend an evening in the #simonverse 🏳️🌈💃🏳️🌈
I was thrilled to work with curators from across the Library to put together a small display of rare LGBTQ+ materials in the Coolidge Auditorium. This display included early and rare LGBTQ+ comic books and graphic novels, first editions of such classics as The Well of Loneliness and Giovanni's Room, and seminal early periodical publications including The Ladder and Christopher Street.
I had the best time putting together a tour and materials display for The Lily team. Such an incredible group of creative minds! They are curating and creating the content this world needs <3 So excited to see what's coming next from this incredible publication. Be sure to snap a selfie with their rad mural located at 4th st NE and Neal Place NE!
Happy International Women's Day 2018! Take a look at the incredible women featured in the Library of Congress Magazine feature, Hidden Figures. I wrote about pioneering lesbian actress Charlotte Cushman on Page 15. The Charlotte Cushman papers are housed in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress.
Women & Bicycles held their second annual Strong Women Ride in February 2018, braving threatening weather to ride around DC learning about women who changed history. The Library of Congress was the first and last stop. Riders got a tour of the Thomas Jefferson building, with a focus on the depictions of women in the art and architecture as well as the work of women contained in the collections. I was happy to point out that the Jefferson building was constructed in the 1890's, a time when people were absolutely obsessed with the bicycle and more importantly, women were actually allowed to engage with this new mechanical technology. Read the event write up on the WABA blog.
I organized a Zine-Making Table for National Book Festival 2017. I asked local artists and zine librarians to help me, and we had a blast! The biggest THANK YOU to Kelly Swickard, Librarian at MICA, Evan Keeling of Smithsonian, and book artist and law librarian Ashley Matthews!
LOTS OF PAPER!!!
Pre-Folded Blank Mini Zines
Pre-Folded Freebie Zines
Sharpies (Although as soon as I realized that our table was attracting younger kids, I removed these)
Non-Toxic Colored Pencils
String and Hole Punches for binding
Magazines to cut up and collage
Kid Safety Scissors
Don't miss my Zine table at the National Book Festival 2017! See the schedule, download the app, and more: https://loc.gov/bookfest/
Citizens Alert was formed in 1965 by, "...a group of citizens concerned about the growing gap in understanding between the police of San Francisco and the people they are sworn to protect." Members included local clergy, diverse members of the surrounding communities, and prominent homophile groups and activists, including many individuals associated with the Daughters of Bilitis.
Vanguard, "...organized young people of the Tenderloin's streets-in particular those identified as hustlers and hair fairies, who exchanged sex for money and/or adopted unconventional gender roles-and the group emphasized the problems of police violence, exploitation and discrimination as core issues" (Hanhardt, 2013, 73). You can read and download the magazine of Vanguard online.
Both Citizens Alert and Vanguard were established with assistance from Glide.
ONE: The Homosexual Magazine, November 1, 1955.
Historical newspapers and periodicals provide some of the earliest sources for finding gay history. In particular, prior to and extending into the 1950's, black newspapers offered a venue for conversations about gender and sexuality that were far more sophisticated than most conversations on these topics during this time. Mainstream press historically has not covered LGBTQ+ issues comprehensively, and when they are covered at all, the representation is often unreliable or biased. This is just one reason why we must work harder to ensure that as a culture, we preserve these voices from the margins.
Author Dan Lopez reads from his novel, The Show House. This was part of the panel, "Hidden in Plain Sight."
I had a great time at OutWrite 2017! I met so many authors and publishers doing great work.
Barbara Gittings (1932-2007) was a pioneering LGBT+ rights activist. In addition to organizing the New York Chapter of Daughters of Bilitis, starting in 1963 she served as editor for the groups seminal publication, The Ladder.
The Ladder can be accessed in several ways. You can check to see if your local library owns any copies in print. Or, several subscription databases have digitized The Ladder.
On the first Thursday of every month, The Women's History and Gender Studies Discussion group hosts a lunch-time brown bag session. If there is no featured speaker, we simply invite any and all to come and discuss (broadly or specifically) their research. This month, we welcomed Dr. Helis Sikk to discuss Queer Comics, a topic she has enjoyed teaching in the past. Dr. Sikk led a thoughtful and informative presentation of Queer Comics, starting with Tom of Finland, moving to Alison Bechdel, and finally, to the Queer Comic world as we know it today.
My colleague and friend Owen Rogers from the Veterans History Project. What are we so excited about? Oral History!
"Why are oral histories important to collect? What unique perspectives might we gain from oral histories that other formats don’t offer? What does “empowering the narrator” really look like? What ethical concerns and obligations do we face as interviewers? What resources are available to assist with the process of collecting and preserving these important narratives?
These were just a few of the questions on the table at “Serving with Pride: LGBTQ+ Veterans’ Oral History Workshop,” held on June 9 and co-sponsored by the Veterans History Project (VHP), LC-GLOBE and the Humanities and Social Sciences Division. I organized the workshop with Owen Rogers, a liaison specialist with the Veterans History Project (VHP), who provided useful advice and demonstrated hands-on knowledge regarding the various phases of conducting and preserving oral histories."
Read my full post on the Library of Congress Blog.
I worked with my colleagues in Multimedia to produce a quick video overview of Pride in the Library: LGBTQ+ Voices in the Library of Congress Collections. Be sure to take a look at the blog post I wrote summarizing the display.
During Pride Month 2017, the Library of Congress hosted a three-day pop-up exhibit highlighting LGBTQ+ materials from across the Library. I was lucky enough to be a part of this history-making event! In addition to curating a table of my own selections and staffing the display, I wrote two subsequent blog posts. You may also be interested in the LGBTQ+ Veterans' Oral History Workshop I organized with my colleague from the Veterans History Project.
In celebration of International Women's Day 2017, I produced a lecture featuring women's history professor Bonnie J. Morris. Morris discussed the women's music movement and explored rare materials and cultural changes introduced onstage by feminist and lesbian artists.