OutHistory.org holds Since Stonewall Local LGBTQ Histories Contest

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, OutHistory.org, will award five
substantial prizes for the best online exhibits about the local LGBTQ histories of particular villages, towns, cities, counties and states in the U.S. since June 1969. The top five exhibits will receive awards from $1,000 to $5,000. The contest is supported by a grant from the Arcus Foundation
OutHistory.org, the LGBTQ history website, is an ambitious attempt to put reliable information about Outhistory online, and to enlist the community in the effort. The history site, like Wikipedia, encourages anyone with documents, data, and citations to contribute to it. Along with community-created content, the site publishes entries by major scholars in the fields of sexual and gender history.
OutHistory.org hopes to receive at least one exhibit submission from every U.S. state. Creators will be able to develop their sites until March 2010, and winners will be announced in June 2010. Guidelines for Since Stonewall contestants are available on the OutHistory.org website. OutHistory.org will offer some technical and scholarly assistance to participating individuals and groups as they work to recover and present their local LGBTQ histories. OutHistory.org will also convene a panel to judge the best local LGBTQ histories.
In the four decades since Stonewall, books have been published on the subject and a formerly ignored LGBTQ history has begun to be recovered. Many cities have established LGBTQ community centers, newspapers, and social and political groups, some towns have created school-based advocacy groups, and a grassroots archives movement has sought to preserve the documents of LGBTQ history.
While there are histories of gay life in New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco, there is a lack of public knowledge about LGBTQ histories outside of major metropolitan areas. This local LGBTQ history contest will begin to correct that omission. The new local histories produced will demonstrate the huge, positive effects of organized LGBTQ political action since June 1969 and highlight the work still to be done.
For more information, or if you are interested
in participating in the contest please contact Lauren Gutterman at outhistory@gc.cuny.edu.
Queer ‘Hoods: Histories of LGBTQ Life in Polk Gulch and Bronzeville
On Friday May 8th, CLAGS, CUNY’s Africana Studies and NYU’s Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality hosted a panel event honoring OutHistory.org’s 2008 Fellowship winners Joey Plaster and Tristan Cabello. At the event, Plaster and Cabello took an audience of around fifty people on a guided tour of their online historical exhibits about LGBTQ life in San Francisco’s Polk Gulch and Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhoods. OutHistory.org creator Jonathan Ned Katz moderated the panel and led audience members in a question and answer session. The panel was followed by a lively reception at a nearby bar, Under the Volcano, where audience members continued to discuss the new exhibits with Plaster and Cabello.
Queer ‘Hoods culminated a process that began last April, when we announced that OutHistory.org would offer two fellowships for proposed exhibits on neglected areas of LGBTQ history to be posted on OutHistory.org’s website. Considering that OutHistory.org had not officially launched yet, we received more applications than we had anticipated. The applications were then judged by a panel of OutHistory.org
Advisory Board members. Plaster and Cabello’s exhibits on Polk Gulch and Bronzeville stood out not only because of their interesting and important subject matter, but because they proposed to take advantage of the internet by incorporating images, musical recordings, and oral histories along with their narratives.
Plaster is a widely published freelance journalist with experience at The Nation, Alternet, and Z Magazine. He also sits on
the GLBT Historical Society’s Oral History Initiative. Plaster’s exhibit The Polk Street History Project features oral history
interviews with residents of this San Francisco neighborhood, which has been home to some of the most underrepresented members of the queer community since the 1950s: seniors, immigrants, transgender women and homeless youth. Cabello is a PhD candidate in history at Northwestern University. Cabello’s Queer Bronzeville: The History of African American Gays and Lesbians on Chicago’s South Side uses music, images and video clips to cover nearly 100 years of this community’s history from the turn of the century through the HIV/AIDS crisis.
Both of these exciting exhibits can be found on OutHistory.org on the New on OutHistory.org page. OutHistory.org users are invited to post comments and create discussion threads about these exhibits on the Mediawiki-based website.