OutHistory.org Update

OutHistory.org, CLAGS’ MediaWiki website on LGBTQ US history, is now over one year old!

As we look back over the past year, we have a great deal to celebrate. OutHistory.org’s content and audience have grown significantly since its debut. After publishing never-beforeseen NYPD reports from the Stonewall riots this past June, OutHistory.org received significant media attention from the New York Times, Village Voice, and Associated Press, drawing more users to OutHistory.org than ever before.

Some of the most recently added exhibits include a collection of lesbian political buttons from the Lesbian Herstory Archives, twenty original artworks by Anthony Gonzales, biographies of poet Edward Field and activist Perry Brass, as well as Faith Holsaert’s “Chosen Girl,” a short story set in 1950s Greenwich Village. Founder Jonathan Ned Katz also posted his recollections of the Gay Activists Alliance production of his documentary play Coming Out! OutHistory.org is increasing its presence online and in the streets as we build relationships with the LGBT community in New York City. This summer OutHistory.org drew over a hundred people to a Pride Week fundraiser at the Stonewall Inn. The event featured a star-studded roster of performers: Staceyann Chin, DRED, Anthony Escobar, Holly Hughes, Rosamond King, Lisa Kron, and Chic & Sassy. In honor of LGBT History Month this October Katz and I presented OutHistory.org to the LGBT employee group at Citibank. This fall we also led a six-week course for members of Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE), helping them learn how to preserve their own history with OutHistory.org. And we have been providing workshops about LGBT history to students at public high schools in Brooklyn and Queens with Live Out Loud, a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring and empowering LGBT youth.

In honor of the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, OutHistory.org is currently hosting a “Since Stonewall Local Histories Contest.” The contest invites people to create online exhibits about the history of the LGBTQ community in their local town, village,city, county or state over the past forty years. The top five exhibits will be awarded prizes from $1,000 to $5,000 in June 2010. We hope that this contest will draw attention to the history of LGBTQ communities outside of, as well as within, major metropolitan areas. We have already received seventeen contest submissions from users in places such as Gainesville, Florida; Tippecanoe County, Indiana; Akron, Ohio and Houston,Texas among others. If you are interested in participating in this contest, be sure to create your exhibit soon. All “Since Stonewall” exhibits on OutHistory. org must be completed by March 31, 2010 for consideration!

OutHistory.org has several exciting upcoming events. At the 2010 American Historical Association Annual Conference in San Diego, OutHistory.org, The Committee on LGBT History,and the Lambda Archives will co-sponsor a tour of the Lambda Archives followed by cocktails on Friday, January 8th. We are also holding a No Name-Calling panel on Friday, April 9th intended to draw attention to the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network’s annual No Name-Calling Week initiative. Katz will speak about the history of anti-gay slurs, and Darla Linville will present on LGBTQ teens and discourses of gender and sexuality in high schools.

OutHistory.org also welcomes several new additions to the team. Librarian Laura Zelasnic and library science student Katharine McDermott have replaced last year’s interns and generously donated their time and expertise to OutHistory.org. Daniel Hurewitz, Assistant Professor of History at Hunter College and Karen Miller, Associate Professor of History and Urban Studies at LaGuardia Community College, have joined Katz as the new Co-Directors of OutHistory. org. We’re glad to have them onboard! For more information contact the Project Coordinator, at outhistory@gc.cuny.edu.