Stonewall 50: LGBTQ+ Research

>>Megan Metcalf: Welcome,
and thank you so much for joining us this evening. Raise your hand if
you’re in town for ALA. Oh! Welcome! So [laughs], so I’ll start
with introducing myself. My name is Meg Metcalf. I’m the Women’s Gender and
LGBTQ+ Studies Librarian here at the Library of Congress. I am also the chair of LC GLOBE, which is our employee
organization for LGBTQ+ staff and allies. So we are going to
start tonight. I’m going to let folks introduce
themselves and briefly tell us about their background,
how they come to this topic of LGBTQ activism. And then we’re going to
have questions and answers when that part is over, so just
keep in mind we are recording. So if you do ask a question,
you will be captured on film. So without further ado,
welcome to Stonewall 50. Would you like to
introduce yourself?>>Franklin Robinson
Jr.: Oh, certainly. Franklin Robinson, and I
am with the National Museum of American History, and I
work in the Archives Center, and I have been there since
well, I volunteered from 1992, been there on salary since 2000. In addition to LGBTQ, I
collect for agriculture, popular entertainment,
motion pictures, theater, colonial religion– . I know, it’s a mixed bag. [Laughter] How I got into this
is I saw a lack of my community within the museum’s
archives, and I decided to try to fix that as best I could.>>Lisa Warwick: Hi,
I’m Lisa Warwick. I come from D.C. Public Library,
our Special Collections. My job title is Library
Coordinator for Reference and Events. It’s a job that I just started
one year ago, I think, in July. So our special collections
are trying to collect more unheard
D.C. history, so that is why we’re
here and trying to collect more in this area. We do have some collections,
but we’re trying to get more over time, so I’m
really happy to be here.>>Shawnta Smith-Cruz:
Also, we are all named Lisa on the panel [laughter]. Catch up, people. So you can either call me
Lisa or if that’s confusing, you can call me, my name
is Shawnta Smith-Cruz, you can call me Shawn. And I’m here from New York City, which you can imagine
right now is filled with “hersteria” over Stonewall 50. So the fact that I
got here was amazing, but I work with the Lesbian
Herstory Archives there which is– who here
has, who here has heard of the Lesbian Herstory
Archives? [Cheering] But if you haven’t, then I’ll give you
some introduction as to why it’s amazing. So we are the longest-running,
so oldest lesbian, collectively-run, volunteer-run, largest lesbian archive
in the world. And it’s based in
Brooklyn, New York, so I’ve been a collective member
there for 15 years, 20 years, depending on, you
know, the start date. And I’m also the co-chair for
the Center for LGBTQ Studies which is at the CUNY Graduate
Center at the City University of New York, and
that is the oldest and first LGBT academic
research center, which is, was started by Martin Duberman. There is, started in the, well–
long history of his beginning, but I guess you could say it
started in the early ’90s, late ’80s, sometime
around that time. LHA started in 1974, and
what I’m sort of doing a lot of promotion for
in the last couple of years is the acquisition of the Salsa Soul
Sisters collection which is the first lesbian
of color organization in the country, primarily
African ancestral lesbian, so black and Latino lesbians,
although I can answer questions that have to do with the Lesbian
Herstory Archives collections in general. And I’m also a librarian. At the CUNY Graduate Center,
I’m the head of reference and then the system
professor there, so I’m so happy to be here. Thanks for having me, Meg. And I have lots to
say, lots to answer. Not that much to say about
Stonewall, but like you know, I’m from New York, so
I have to represent so I can like do my best.>>Jake Newsome:
Absolutely, great! And my name is Jake Newsome, and I manage the College
Student Leadership Initiatives at the US Holocaust
Memorial Museum. So in that capacity, I
work with college students across the country to
study not only the history of the Holocaust, but also
its contemporary lessons for today’s life. But when in, in my other,
wearing my other hat, I am a scholar of LGBT
history of American and German LGBT history. And so my work focuses
on the experiences of the LGBT community
during the Holocaust, but also in Germany
after the Holocaust. And then its essentially, its
tie-in with the inspiration of Holocaust history and
Holocaust memories, and the role that it played in
gay rights activism. And so I, I guess
I’m the only one on here that’s not a librarian
or an archivist, but that is, yeah, that’s how I’ll
be able to contribute to this conversation is
connecting the history of the Holocaust with
American gay rights activism.>>Megan Metcalf: Excellent! Thank you so much. And actually, your
introduction reminds me of something we were actually
discussing right before the panel, which is most of
the time, as a librarian, just speaking for myself. Most of the time you
encounter people who are aware of these resources, these
primary resources we’re going to be talking about
today in LGBTQ+ history. Most of the time they
are historians, right? Or they are not necessarily
members of the LGBTQ+ community, and I’m wondering if you all
have had similar experiences with that where we’re finding,
you know, more often people in the community aren’t
aware of their history. It’s more a scholar or
more a look from above, or more academia
would be a place where that would be
more, more fluid. So is, have you guys
also had that experience?>>Franklin Robinson Jr.:
Yeah, at, we, we have, we are fully open archives. We take appointments, open five
days a week, so I can say yes, we’ve definitely had
people who are not members of the LGBTQ community come
in to study the collections because of, let’s say
conversion therapy, social history, use
of urban spaces. It’s a, it’s quite
fascinating the amazing things that you can pull out of
some of these collections. So, so yes, in answer
to your question.>>Lisa Warwick: Yeah, for
us it’s a lot of researchers, and so we’ve been trying to do
more things in the community that will make our collections
a little more accessible. They’re not all officially
approved, but I’m going to talk about them anyway. So we’re having a monthly
panel series on LGBTQ history in D.C. starting with
the first one on July– I’m going to have to
look at my notes– .>>Megan Metcalf: Good
librarian with her notes.>>Lisa Warwick: References, July 25 at Cleveland Park
Library, and then another one on August 24 at Mt. Pleasant
Library, and another one on September 17 that’s going to
be all of the founding members of the Sapphire [inaudible] which we’re really
excited about. And then we’re also going to
do this– just got approved, so I’m allowed to
talk about it– so we’re going to do a voguing
ball at the, in September.>>Megan Metcalf: Wonderful!>>Lisa Warwick: So there are
handouts with our websites. All of the details on that
will be listed later on.>>Megan Metcalf: Wow! A voguing workshop! And don’t you also have a panel
coming up on the 21st as well? August 21? No? That’s a different one?>>Lisa Warwick: Twenty– .>>Megan Metcalf:
Which one am I on? [Laughter]>>Lisa Warwick: Twenty-fourth.>>Megan Metcalf: Oh,
it’s the 24th, okay.>>Franklin Robinson Jr.: Thank goodness we
cleared that up, right?>>Megan Metcalf:
Oh, my goodness. Oh, my goodness, okay. That’s not– okay. So any other comments
on that specifically?>>Jake Newsome: So I
guess I would have to say that in my case as, you know,
being the researcher going into these, trying to find these
archives, I found it quite, actually the opposite. Right? That I was going
into these archives that normally hold all the,
the material on, you know, Holocaust records and going
in saying, “I want to be able to find, you know, information
on this particular victim group. I want to, I want to know about gay concentration
camp survivors. What were, what were
the Nazi’s policies against gays and lesbians?” And archivists there
being like, “Hmm, I don’t really think we have
anything about that on here. We only do like real
Holocaust stuff.” So what I ended up having to do
was, you know, spend time going across Germany and visiting
these local volunteer-led grassroot community center
archive libraries, right? Where it was members of the
community themselves finding and documenting this history. And so without, you know,
the passion and the work and the dedication of those,
those archivists who, you know, were really just
archivists on the weekends or at, at work after work. You know, clearly like none of, none of my work would have
been possible or the work of other, other scholars. And I don’t know how many times that literally I would meet
someone, they would get off of work, and like we would
have a sandwich together really quick. And then go, like go spend,
he would give up his night to spend it in the archives
so I could get in there.>>Megan Metcalf: Yeah.>>Jake Newsome:
And so that’s just, it’s just really incredible the,
you know, the work of archivists and librarians all
over the place.>>Shawnta Smith-Cruz:
And can I add to that? That in, this summer
you’re probably going to be there next
weekend in Berlin? There is the LGBT
ALMS Conference, so it’s an international
Archivists, Librarians, Museum Curators, Special
Collections Conference for the LGBTQ community. And it’s happening at,
in Berlin next weekend, which I’m not going to, but.>>Megan Metcalf: I wish!>>Shawnta Smith-Cruz: They
had it two years ago in London, and I was there, and it was
really a lot of people talking about what you’re referring to which is the small community
archives, international spaces, and merging this
research archival gap that I think exists. Definitely it happens at
LHA, and when you think about archives and access, I
would say that’s a huge question that we have in terms of
how are people getting to these collections, right? So when like at CLAGS,
for example, we have this really rich
archival history, and it’s all in file cabinets in the office. And we’re always having
funding issues of a sort of like university–
grassroots university center. The university pays for the
office space, but not the staff, and not anything else. And so even 25 years
later, we’re still trying to get funding, and a lot of what we do is individual
donor requests, right? Individual donor
reach-outs, outreach, but most of the money
I think can exist in the archival material
which I know is controversial, unethical. And that’s where I am right
now, the conversation of access and sustainability, and like how
do we merge those two things? So an example of
what I’m referring to is the digitization
projects that would allow for these materials
to leave the shelves and enter an online space so that people can
access the materials. And I know that at the
Lesbian Herstory Archives, we’ve had a series of
projects, whether it be through library students,
digitizing full collections, and then putting it online. We’ve done that with
Pratt University Library where we have a full
website of Audre Lorde’s, all her oral histories or all
of the, I guess, of audio, website, what is it called? I’d have to look it up, but
like a full run of audio clips. Oh my gosh, Love
Tapes, the Love Tapes. All online. And so we’ve had multiple
materials put online through the digitization, and then we’ve also had
proprietary digitization projects through Gale Resources,
so I wanted to mention– .>>Megan Metcalf: We
should talk about that.>>Shawnta Smith-Cruz: Yeah,
we should talk about Gale and how things sort of projects
like Gale are sort of moving into this realm of access and
potentially an unethical space, and I should say as
a disclaimer that I’m on the Gale Advisory Board for their LGBT full-text
database, so.>>Megan Metcalf: Fun fact: that was the first database
I bought for this library.>>Shawnta Smith-Cruz:
There you go.>>Megan Metcalf: But
it’s really interesting because actually just
yesterday, they, someone, a researcher had put
a call out on Twitter for this long-lost document
called “The Asexual Manifesto,” and all the librarians and archivists were
going at, and we find it. And we find the reference
to it in the Archives of Human Sexuality and Identity, and we see that it’s
been digitized from the Lesbian
Herstory Archives, and now we have the
full text in our hands. So it’s really interesting
because I think for the longest time,
the things that would be in the Lesbian Herstory
archives, or in other community archives,
would never be accessible, because they would not have the
funds to digitize it themselves. So this option of Gale
or another database or another publisher
coming in and digitizing it for us is also very enticing. But then again, it’s
behind a paywall, so what are the ethics of that? Yeah, I think that’s really
an interesting question. So how does it work? Do, do you guys know
when people– ? So they digitized
your collections. So do you guys have
data or information on who’s accessing what once
you, once it’s been digitized?>>Shawnta Smith-Cruz: We might.>>Megan Metcalf:
We might [laughs].>>Shawnta Smith-Cruz:
We don’t want to know.>>Megan Metcalf: We
don’t want to know.>>Shawnta Smith-Cruz:
I think access in libraries is a real
question, like the consideration of how a lot of queer people
have entered libraries has often been about us going in and
like hiding in a shelf, right? Finding in HQ or whatever
the Dewey equivalent is, and when your parent isn’t
looking, you like look for that one text, right? And then you come
out to yourself, and that’s like the most of
the coming out stories happens in libraries with
like queer librarians. In fact, at least that’s
my gathering, right?>>Megan Metcalf: I hear
some yeses from the audience.>>Shawnta Smith-Cruz: Relating
to that moment where you like [inaudible] you’re like
oh my gosh– [inaudible]. And so when you think of
like libraries and privacy and access, it’s all,
it’s all very complicated when you add a queer lens to
it, and so when archives enter that space, we have to
think about, well you know, the Lesbian Herstory Archive
is open to any lesbian. You don’t have to
give any credentials. You don’t have to give a reason. You don’t even have to kiss
me when you walk through, although it’s okay if you do. But as long as you want to and
say you identify as wanting to see the collection,
then you can. So it’s in that way
completely accessible, but if you’re not able
to be in the space, then it’s not accessible. So there is those
questions of access and what the ethics are of that. And then there’s the
question of you know turfdom and like [inaudible] that
relationships as it relates to queer spaces, and turf refers to trans-exclusive radical
feminism which comes up when people say [inaudible]. The first question is
well are you accessible to every– you know? And then we have to
like talk about it. But so access is a big question, and so then I would
say it’s something that [inaudible] to think about. And money is a big question too. And we’re being recorded, but
I would say that the royalties for the Gale database has to
a point led to a sustainable, you know, archive, in a way
that we hadn’t anticipated.>>Megan Metcalf: So if it
can be reciprocal like that, that’s hopefully a positive
thing for the future. But yeah, I definitely never
envisioned publishers coming into the queer community
archive that I was at, the Queerzine Archive project. That would never in a
million years have imagined that that would be
an option for us, but I’m curious for
other panelists. Have you had any digitization
efforts, or been involved with any digitization efforts? Or have there been any ethical
considerations with that and with outing people? [ Inaudible ]>>Franklin Robinson Jr.:
So we digitize on demand, and we don’t, yeah, so but
there is a cost for that. I mean, it’s something
very simple. There’s usually no cost
to that if it’s something that the reference
librarian can do right at the desk, we’re
good with that. But if it’s like a folder more
than that, then it would be, then you have to actually
pay for the digitization to actually uploading it to the
[inaudible] and all that stuff. But the other, the
big initiative that the Smithsonian
Museum of American History and the one archive have going on is what we call right now
is the LGBTQ digital hub, and that’s being
developed by Smithsonian and Stanford University, and
that’s going to be Open Access with the caveat, and Bob Horton,
who is my big boss, he can speak to this much better than I can because he’s the one
working it through. But that would be
basically a hub where smaller institutions can
actually put their materials, and it would be sort of like
the gay Google in a way, is the way I envision it anyway. And but there would actually be, the controls would actually
be put on by that repository, so it’s not a one size
fits all, so let’s say if the Herstory Archives
wants to put their material up and they say, “Oh, well,
this is only available to people we allow to see it. Or this is everybody can see
it,” then that is the way that we’re envisioning it is
that there’s a lot of control by the local institution or
the local individual even. And we want to make it so robust that actually someone let’s say
sitting at home saying, “Oh, you know, they’re saying that
this happened, in you know June of 1969, but no, no, no. I was there,” and you
know they can type in their comments
and add that up. You know there’s
no vetting process. It’s on the researcher to
you know follow that through to make sure that what
they’re saying is, is accurate. But there’s no kind of policing
on there, so that’s kind of where we are with
digitization. At least at the Archive Center.>>Megan Metcalf: Is there a
potential launch date for that, or not yet, too early?>>Franklin Robinson Jr.:
Well, the good thing is, is that we’re, it’s a
three-phase process, and Comcast has been very
good about actually helping to fund it, in addition
to one going out– . Yeah, it’s been, it’s really, it’s taken off much quicker
than we ever thought. So it is now in development,
the prototype, so we’re hoping maybe 2020, keeping our fingers
crossed, yeah. So yeah, it just, I don’t
think there’s anything, there’s nothing on our website
because one is the primary mover and shaker simply because
we’re quasi-federal, and we can’t go out
for grant money. We can ask for money,
but we can’t go out for grants, but they can. So that’s kind of
where we’re at, so we’re thinking 2020, so yeah.>>Megan Metcalf: And you
have a full collection of ONE, a full run of ONE.>>Franklin Robinson Jr.:
We do have a full — .>>Megan Metcalf: We’re
talking about ONE magazine, the first gay publication, periodical, in the
United States.>>Franklin Robinson Jr.:
And we have a full run of the [inaudible]
Review as well. Yeah.>>Megan Metcalf: As do we. [ Inaudible ]>>Franklin Robinson
Jr.: Alright, Lisa! [Laughter]>>Megan Metcalf: And
what about The Ladder? What about The Ladder, Lisa? [Laughter] Do you
have The Ladder?>>Franklin Robinson Jr.:
We do have The Ladder.>>Megan Metcalf: Okay. We’re just going to do this
for the rest of the time. [Inaudible] No, but
we have Turnabout. [Laughter]>>Franklin Robinson Jr.:
Alright, okay, we’re even.>>Megan Metcalf:
Do you have Drag?>>Franklin Robinson Jr.: Yes.>>Megan Metcalf:
You do not have Drag.>>Franklin Robinson Jr.: I do,
and I actually have a full run of the Drag Rag, do you? [ Laughter ]>>Megan Metcalf: Well,
I guess I’ll just have to come see you then.>>Franklin Robinson
Jr.: Please do.>>Megan Metcalf: Alright. Digitech put that in
LGBTQ Hub, although shout out to the digital
Transgender Archive because they’ve digitized Drag,
Turnabout, and I don’t know if they’ve digitized
Transvestia or not. But I do know those
two for sure.>>Franklin Robinson
Jr.: Awesome.>>Megan Metcalf: Yeah. Let’s keep fighting.>>Franklin Robinson Jr.: They’ll know exactly
what we’ve got by the time we finish, right?>>Megan Metcalf: Exactly! Any other digital
projects anybody wants to pitch or talk about?>>Lisa Warwick: I
don’t have all of those.>>Megan Metcalf: That’s okay.>>Lisa Warwick: You don’t
have to get into it, it’s okay. Not among Lisa’s.>>Franklin Robinson
Jr.: That’s right! [Laughter]>>Lisa Warwick: So our biggest
digitization project right now is the Washington Blade, so we,
we do have the full run of that. We’ve digitized up to 1993, and
we plan to have the rest done within the next year or two. And we just got the full run
of Women in the Life, and it, it runs from 1993 to
2003, and we’re going to start digitizing
that next year.>>Megan Metcalf: Wow, and then
this will just all be accessible on your website.>>Lisa Warwick: Yep. All of that will be free
and open to the public. We have had some concerns
with digitizing with, in the Punk archive we
have a zine collection, and there are a few things
that you can see if you’re at a library on one of
our connected computers, but you can’t see
from [inaudible].>>Franklin Robinson Jr.:
I totally, I totally forgot to mention SOVA, SOVA.SI.EDU
which is our search engine with across the institution. At least within the
American History Archives, if something has been
digitized that’s linked to the folder on the website. So let’s say if you’d want to,
you know go to SOVA.SI.EDU look up “lesbian,” it’ll pull
anything that has that keyword in it across the institution. So let’s say the Portrait
Gallery has something, American Indian might
have something, you know, if we have something,
it’ll bring all that up. At least on ours,
if we’ve digitized, let’s say someone asked
for a photograph, whatever, you can click on that, and you
can actually see the image. So I totally forgot
about that part.>>Megan Metcalf:
That’s amazing.>>Shawnta Smith-Cruz:
I was just [inaudible].>>Megan Metcalf:
Oh, taking notes? Right. So another popular
topic that’s been coming up a lot recently is hidden
histories and visible histories, and I feel like a lot of
LGBTQ history is hidden. But you know this is
50 years of Stonewall. We’re talking about
this, this turning point in the LGTBQ historical
narrative, or so people say. But does it obscure things? Is it hiding things? What does this focus on
Stonewall not allow us to see? And I’m wondering if there’s
anything, any hidden histories in your own collections
you’d like to share?>>Lisa Warwick: I’ll tell
a story that kind of ties into the access piece, so when I
was getting ready for this talk, I was looking for our copies
of Blacklight, which is a gay, black periodical that
ran in the late ’70s, and we just have
a few years of it, and so it’s in this
miscellaneous box. And while I was going
through, I found two issues of something called Breadbox that said it’s a gay
revolutionary workers handout, and it was, it’s completely
hidden in our collection. It’s in, unless you knew it
was there, you wouldn’t know, or unless you came in and said, “There was this thing called
Breadbox,” and in tiny print on the bottom, it said,
it says something like, “You can find these,
these will be handed out every ten days
in these locations.” [Laughter] We have two of
them, and you just know that there are tons
of them somewhere. Those are the kinds of
things that get hidden in our collections, and I
think those are also focusing on like D.C. history. Everything that was going on
before it kind of gets swept under the rug a little bit.>>Megan Metcalf: Definitely.>>Lisa Warwick:
Before Stonewall.>>Megan Metcalf:
Yeah, before Stonewall, what was happening then? Yeah.>>Franklin Robinson Jr.: So when you mentioned
hidden history, for me what, what that calls to mind
is let’s say within a lot of our collections
that were collected for maybe another purpose
or another reason, you know. And suppose let’s
say one of those, the persons in there belonged to
the community but was either not out or it’s not generally known. We have a huge photograph
collection. [Inaudible] is his last name. I cannot remember his
first name, but anyway, he used to do lecture
talks around the country on his travels, you know, for
you know the ladies’ lunch and all that nonsense. And excuse me, for anybody
who does that, sorry. So, so come to find out one
day, somebody kind of came into my office and
said, “You did know that [inaudible] is gay?” And I’m like what? He said, “It’s not generally
known, but he was gay.” And I said, “Okay,” I said,
“is that you saying it, or?” He goes, “No, there’s
that secret box.” And I’m like oh. I said, “What box is that?” And he goes, “I’m not supposed
to tell you, but it just happens to be box 25, [inaudible].” And sure enough, I mean,
within his photographs, there’s photographs
that are definitely gay-related [laughter]. And so yeah, so that,
that is kind of the hidden history there. And how, this discussion
came up actually last night. We, was anybody at the
viewing for Beyond Stonewall? Awesome, very good. So which is running on the,
do my little commercial now, the Smithsonian Channel, Monday
evening at eight and at ten. And in fact, it kind
of touches on some of these hidden histories, but
one of the questions that came up was Charlotte Cushman, who was a very famous
actress in the 19th century. Do you know her?>>Megan Metcalf:
Who has her papers? Would it be us? You do?>>Franklin Robinson
Jr.: You do?>>Megan Metcalf: Yes, we do.>>Franklin Robinson
Jr.: Oh, see.>>Megan Metcalf: Who
wrote an article on her?>>Franklin Robinson Jr.: She
reeled me in on that one, yeah.>>Megan Metcalf:
I’m sorry, Lisa. We really need to stop this.>>Franklin Robinson Jr.: So
but it came up as to how do you, how do you let people know that when she herself
did not necessarily, well of course the term “gay”
was not even in use then. Self-identify as a lesbian, or
she may have self-identified as a lesbian in her
private life, but she never wanted
it known outside. So, so there was the tug
of war in the sense of so, do we put that on the label,
and then that becomes the be-all and end-all of why she’s known? Or she’s certainly known
for her prowess as an actor. So, so that’s kind of the, the
issue with hidden histories and kind of tagging
things that we do come across in the archives
that aren’t, were not necessarily collected
because of their LGBTQ content.>>Megan Metcalf:
Yeah, you don’t want to out people necessarily. I mean, or do you?>>Franklin Robinson Jr.:
Well, yet again, that’s, at least for us,
we always presume that after death there is
no presumption of privacy, is our standard policy. So I don’t know what it is here. So, so let’s say you know some
of the material that has come from eBay that is definitely
gay content and has people in it that sometimes I do know who
they are in the sense because, because the people that sold
it said, “Oh, that’s Joe, that’s so-and-so,
and so-and-so.” They’re long-since
dead, you know. I, that’s who it is and
that’s part of their story. That’s the way I look
at it in the sense of these people would probably,
this material would end up in the dust bin
somewhere if it had not been for this person trying to make
a buck off it, and me, you know, haunting eBay that
day and saving it. So I figure in some ways, I’m
trying to actually, you know, you know give them a life, or make their life
meaningful in some way. In the sense that it informs
archival and historians. So, so yes, we out them if
they’re, if they’ve passed. And if they were obviously out
in their life, then, then we do. But we wouldn’t necessarily
do it for somebody living, of course.>>Megan Metcalf: Well, I
know Cushman has a lot of, that are lesbian fans, so I
feel like she’s fairly out now.>>Franklin Robinson
Jr.: Yeah, yeah.>>Shawnta Smith-Cruz: It’s
funny that you mention eBay because LHA has collected
everything that we have as volunteer only,
I’m sorry, donated, so we don’t really solicit
except for one collection. And so we got it on eBay, and
it was the New York City run of The Daughters of Blitis. [ Inaudible ] I think there’s like– I don’t
actually know the number. It takes up about
a certain number of square feet in
the Brooklyn Hub. It’s not, it’s not small. But I actually wanted to know
if I could show something?>>Megan Metcalf:
I would love that.>>Shawnta Smith-Cruz: It
only takes like three minutes. Because I was like do we,
are we going to do this? And it was a whole conversation.>>Megan Metcalf: I think
I’m glad we’re doing it.>>Shawnta Smith-Cruz:
And I think it’s okay, but it’s only going
to take a few minutes. So I created a Bitly,
so it’s easy to get to, so let’s see if it’s true. But ultimately, I feel like all of [inaudible] history
is hidden history. So let’s see if I can,
if I did this right. No, I didn’t. I don’t know who that is. [Laughter] Let’s try that again. If it’s not going to
work, then I apologize. So what I’m going to show
is ultimately a few projects that we, oh my goodness. Alright, fine. I’ll just go through
it directly. So firstly, the Lesbian
Herstory has, we are about to launch
a new website. So if you’ve been to our
website, I apologize. It’s been that way
for the past 20 years, and it’s hard to get to. But we’re just about
to launch this one, and so you’re seeing it fresh
off the page, so it’s still in draft mode, so don’t be
attached to what you see. But ultimately, it’s going
to look something like this where you can look for our
digital collections and get to them, and then you can find out the other collections
we have, and see more information
on them. That’s our facade if
people haven’t seen it. And the digital collections that
I was referring to were those that were digitized
by Pratt Sills, the Pratt University Library, and we have a [inaudible]
others. And I don’t know why
my Bitly didn’t work, but the hidden history
that I wanted to show was the Salsa
Soul Sisters. And also a vice article which I
can’t get to now, but Blackburn. No, I’ll just do
the vice article. Google, help me out! There we go! So we just got this
article published, or this person Ariana Lecher
just got the article published, but it’s about, it’s sort of like whenever we do
hidden histories of lesbians, we have to give like Lesbian
Herstory and then say, “Oh, here are some things that
are related to that.” So this is an example of that, so a lot of what we do is we
don’t collect anyone who’s famous or we do, we
collect famous lesbians, but we don’t make
that a requirement for having their materials. So ultimately, we’d like to
focus on the everyday dyke and anybody who’s interested
in documenting themselves, and excuse the ads,
this is Vice magazine. So this is Mabel Hanson, and
her partner Lillian Federman. Wait, no, sorry. That’s not who, that’s
not her partner’s name. I’ll come back to
her partner’s name. A lot of these photos
are by [inaudible] one of our collective members, so we
have the full run of The Ladder. I was trying to mention when
you guys were doing the war. [Laughter] But alongside
that, we also have things that are sort of obscure, and so
one obscure object that we chose for this article was a Japanese
Dyktionary which is sort of like a collection of text
that was transcribed in Japan, in Japanese as well as English
throughout the whole Dyktionary, so here’s an example of
what that would look like, so here’s the header
on both sides. And one side is English and
the other side is not English. It’s in Japanese, and
it’s a way to sort of like translate what it is
to be a lesbian in Japan for, I guess, people who
are traveling there and who wouldn’t
use it necessarily, but the Japanese Dyktionary is
an example of the kind of things that we have, and it was created
in 1989, so we have things of that sort of obscure nature. We also have, we have hundreds
and hundreds of T-shirts and thousands of buttons,
and so all of those are sort of like very obscure because
lesbians like to make T-shirts and buttons during the
[inaudible] organizing, and they don’t necessarily have
the provenance of, you know, object given by a person with
their name and who’s the– . We don’t know if that’s Sara
Schulman’s Lavender Menace T-shirt or [inaudible]. We just know it’s a T-shirt
with Lavender Menace. We don’t know whose
sweat is on it, but we don’t wash it [laughter]. But we do like to tell
the stories around them, so this one is sort of
remembering Rita Mae Brown who also, who did the book
the [inaudible] referred to, but she was also an activist. And so when she led a group
of women in collective action, this is an example of
what that would look like through the T-shirt. And then we have Mabel again. What’s her partner’s name? Oh, I don’t have it. I’m sorry, I have a bad
memory, I’m getting older. Lillian Foster, and
I said Federman. Here’s Lillian Foster and Mabel,
so Mabel’s one of the women who we sort of have as an icon
because she was the first elder of the organization when all
of the women who started it in the ’70s were in their
forties, I guess you could say, Mabel was the elder woman who
then passed, and they sort of took her story and the way to
promote her story as an example of what the archive’s
purpose was. And so although Mabel had
been out all her life, and she was a dancer in Harlem, and she was out since the
1920’s, she’s an example of what was going on in
the city before Stonewall. She donated a lot of the
pulps in the collection. She also was the
cofounder’s nanny, which is an interesting
conversation about race in the archives, and
how that plays a role. And then in her later life, that cofounder became Mabel’s
caretaker when Mabel was at the end of her life. So it sort of is this
interesting queering of the way racial
relations exist in New York which I think is– I
like that story a lot. So that was just an example
I was going to show stuff on Salsa, but I think
[inaudible]. But I just wanted to give
some visuals while I was here.>>Megan Metcalf: I
like those visuals.>>Shawnta Smith-Cruz: And
like show you the new website so I can encourage
the coordinators to let’s launch it instead of
having more meetings about it. [Laughter]>>Megan Metcalf:
So I shouldn’t ask if there’s a projected
launch date then?>>Shawnta Smith-Cruz:
Oh my god, two weeks ago.>>Megan Metcalf:
[Laughter] Two weeks ago?>>Jake Newsome: Yeah, so I
have, I have to give a story about hidden histories and
a particularly access to, or this question, you know
when we, when we use terms like “hidden history” or
“invisible histories,” I think we always have to ask
ourselves like hidden from whom? Or invisible to whom, right? And so when I was, so
as an undergraduate, I became interested in the
history of the Holocaust. I took all the courses at my
university over the course of several years, but it
wasn’t until the very, very last semester that a
guest speaker came onto campus and gave a talk about,
and the title was “The Men with the Pink Triangle,” right? So it was talking about
a gay Holocaust victims and gay Holocaust survivors. And I remember thinking
as, as I was there, how did I study this topic
intentionally for four years and never learn about
this particular group? I was also having a moment
of kind of anger at myself, that especially, you know, as, as a gay man studying this
history, why didn’t I, why did I never stop to
think to ask these questions about where are these people
in this particular history? And so when I went
onto graduate school and decided this is
what I’m going to study, you know I’m going to tell this,
tell this story, essentially, you know, the potential
advisors, professors all told me, “Well, there’s nothing to
know about it.” Like, you know it was
such, there was such an era of homophobia that even the
survivors didn’t want to talk about it, no one
wanted to talk about it. And as a result, there’s
just this complete lack of information. So you know good luck, but you’re not going
to find anything. So of course me being like young
and idealistic, I was like, “Don’t worry, I’m going
to find– ” [laughter]. And so I go to the archives
thinking that I’m going to find nothing, right? But then, so whenever I
do find those small kind of volunteer-led archives, you
know, being absolutely surprised to find mountains and
mountains of material, right? By gay Holocaust
survivors themselves, by the local West German press,
by West German politicians and lawyers and judges,
all talking about the fate of gay people under, under
the Third Reich, right? And so it really
made me question then like was there ever
really a silence, right? And, and what does silence mean? Because I think on the
one hand silence means like a lack of something, right? A lack of information
or a lack of noise, but clearly silence can
also be a verb, right? And something can be silenced,
and clearly that was the case with this particular history is
that it was, it wasn’t a lack of information, it wasn’t a
lack of, of knowledge at all, but it was essentially
a, people with power, whether they were
the politicians or historians writing
the official history, saying this is not
worth knowing. It’s not worth remembering, it
is not worth acknowledging as, you know, real history. And so I, I think keeping that
in mind as we talk about what, what is hidden history
is that someone hid it. Usually on purpose.>>Shawnta Smith-Cruz: I really
like that, silence is a verb. Sorry, I’m [inaudible],
but I just had to say that’s exactly
the same experience I had with black lesbian researchers. And it’s the reason why
I continue to do the work that I do because initially
people would, everyone who comes to the archives is either a
doctoral student or people that come to me, they’re a
doctoral student researcher. They have to uncover the unknown
history, the hidden history, and they come expecting
to find nothing. And I’m talking ten years
already at this point where people say, you know,
there must have been nothing. In fact, there was a conference, a Lesbians in the ’70s
conference in 2000, and I was one of the
coordinators for it. It was done through CLAGS. And even the coordinating
committee, we sat in a circle. There was like a call put
out throughout the country. Anyone who was a lesbian in the
’70s, come join this listserv. So then just imagine
like 70 lesbians who were around during the
’70s on this listserv. You can imagine all the
example-girlfriends and all the like [laughter], it was
really like tumultuous. But then when we finally
got to planning, we said, alright we have to
meet in person. There’s too much arguing on
this listserv, so whoever’s in New York, come
into this room. So then I went down to
meet like 20 people, right? So the 20 women gather in this
room, and they’re all excited to be there, and they’re
like, “How are we going to plan this conference? What are we going to do?” And it was only myself and
one other woman in the room that was black, but that women
was also not around in the ’70s and so when the question
was alright, so do we include theater women? Do we include WOW? Do we include– everyone’s sort
of, they were in agreement. And I said, “Well, what
about the lesbians of color?” And everyone went,
“Well, you know, there weren’t really
any lesbians of color.” [Laughter] And there were two
lesbians of color in the room that went, “We don’t
know, maybe they’re right. Maybe there’s — .” So they were like,
“Just call Cheryl Clark, she’ll do something,” and
that was the end of it. And so then it wasn’t until
I went to the archives that I opened the box and found
there was just this unbelievable amount of material, right? Of all this work
happening in the ’70s. Then I realized oh this is,
this is a silence of being sort of like perpetuated, right? And even so then
we had an event. We had, I had sort of
like this huge event. There was a zine, there
were, there were two events. Hundreds of women
came, and we put one of the original Salsa
board members on the panel, and then so fast-forward
five years later. I’m doing a book chapter for
this Audre Lorde collection where Audre Lorde’s last partner
puts together this book chapter, or she puts together this book. She asks for the
Salsa Soul Women to put together a chapter
on Audre and Salsa. I’m recording the
conversation, we’re all there, we do the chapter,
we’re talking, we’re oral historying
it, you know. It’s in LHA. And then finally I said, “So
tell me about like, you know, what’s happening now, and
you know how Audre Lorde– ?” She goes, “Well, you know,
there’s so, we don’t, nobody wants to acknowledge
that we were there. We were always at the table. CLAGS did this conference
in 2010, and there were no black
lesbians at the conference.” And I said, “Wait, Emani, stop! You were at the conference. [Laughter] You were
on the panel! How could you say that?” And it just, it just continues. It’s like this, this
continuous– . So I’m wondering, I guess
it’s like did you find that the Jewish scholars, the Jewish collective
archivists were also sort of like permeating
the silence, too? Or the people who were
there are constantly talking about the silence? They think the silence
is a burden that, is a verb that we
all perpetuate. It’s like this conversation
about racism or #metoo. Whatever it is, there
comes a point where if it’s being
taken care of, we have to stop acting
as if it’s there. You know, the conversation
has changed. So anyhow. This is a long rant. I’m so sorry. I’m nearly out of my mind. I have so many curiosities
that I’m going to use the verb as an example of what
that could look like.>>Jake Newsome: Well, I think
it’s just really interesting because you’re right. I mean, you raise a really
great point that that silencing or the, the narrative of silence
isn’t, can also be perpetuated by the community like itself. And so really, if you’re reading
any, for example any article or book on gay Holocaust
experiences, essentially, I mean you can bet that the
first sentence is going to be, “No one knows about
this history. Nothing has been written on it.” Well, actually, I have a
list of about 95, you know, published things that
have been written on it. [Laughter] But, but so
yeah, this idea, you know, and it kind of makes me
wonder is it, is it also a, an idea of legitimacy, right? That, that you know you’re
trying to undo the silence, and so you need there to be silence kind
of first to break it. And so yeah, I think
it’s, it is, it’s interesting to think about.>>Lisa Warwick: Since we’re on
tape and people can just rewind, I’m going to take back
the thing I said about, “And D.C. Public Library doesn’t
have a lot about [inaudible].” [Laughter] It is one of our
largest digital collections, and I’m going to
stop saying that now.>>Shawnta Smith-Cruz: Yeah, talk about abundance
instead of lack. Maybe after Stonewall, because
I’m wondering what the Stonewall 50th effects will be now, right? Maybe that’ll be the
effect, that there’s now, the world has been Stonewalled? [Laughter]>>Franklin Robinson Jr.:
You know, I always talk about the archival closet in
the sense that in order to kind of mitigate this silence,
people have to give up the stuff, you know? How many donors have I
talked to, you know, “Oh, we’ve got this, we’ve got
this, we’ve got this.” And I’m like, “Oh, that’s great! Do you have like journals, diaries because that’s
primary source?” “Oh, well, you really
wouldn’t want that, would you?” And I’m like, “Oh yes!” “Well, I don’t know if I’m
ready to give that up.” Which I totally understand,
but at the same time, if you want to mitigate it,
mitigate what is not there, we have to, you have
to give it to us. That’s the thing, and
that’s the big push. Because you know our line
is that, you know God forbid that something happens to you,
and no one knows what you’ve got or that it’s meaningful. It goes in the dumpster because
we’ve got to sell the house. I’m not going through
that hard drive, forget about it, you know? And all that old lesbian
stuff in the closet? We’re throwing it out because
we don’t want anyone to know that she was, you know? It’s just, that to
me is the silence, is the community stepping up
in this sense of realizing that what you have, your
history is valuable. We use that every
day in the archives. All of those old materials from
like the ’70s, you know, ’60s, before, you know that’s– and I’m wondering about
the Stonewall effect too, if people will start to realize
the value of, of this material. Like, “Oh wow, I
really do need to think about where do I want
this material to go when I am no longer
the steward of it?” So that’s my riff on that part.>>Megan Metcalf: Because we
were having a conversation before we began about how during
June, but especially this June, anyone who does anything LGBTQ,
all the requests come in. So I don’t know about y’all,
but it’s been a busy month. Like maybe the busiest
Pride Month I’ve ever had, and I’m hoping that this will
be a sustained, you know, this will get a lot of research
interest, and people will want to donate things, and start to
realize that it’s important. So I guess we will be looking
at this video and seeing, oh, were we right about the
Stonewall effect of not? Maybe not, I don’t know. So another question I had for
the panelists before we turn it over to the audience would
be so we talked about, so some of us are, so
Lesbian Herstory Archives, obviously just lesbian stuff. The Library, we collected,
DCPL, we collected, but it’s not all we collect. So I’m curious for the
Smithsonian folks in the room, too, especially, do you guys
collect specifically LGBTQ, or are they coming in as
part of other collections?>>Franklin Robinson Jr.:
No, we specifically collect.>>Megan Metcalf: Okay, great.>>Franklin Robinson Jr.:
Yeah, they also can come in with other ones,
but we, no, no, no. Catherine Ott and myself
are very aggressive at going out trying to, you know, reach out to anybody
that will contact us. Most of, most of our material
does come from people who call up and say, “Oh, you
wouldn’t want all of those old fill-in-the-blank?” And we’re like, “Oh,
yes we would.” Yeah, so you know and we’re
very lucky in the sense that the Smithsonian
carries with it, you know, a little bit of weight. So when Catherine calls up,
you know, Bishop Gene Robinson and says, “You know, hey, we’d
like to collect some stuff,” he’s more apt to talk to us
than perhaps somebody else. So we try to, we really
do try to mitigate that, and we try to be, play nice
and not, you know, swoop in. But– .>>Megan Metcalf:
Better watch out for me.>>Franklin Robinson Jr.: I
know, I was going to say, oh, you’re on my radar now, lady.>>Megan Metcalf: Uh-oh!>>Franklin Robinson
Jr.: Miss Lisa.>>Lisa Warwick: Uh-oh. [Laughter]>>Franklin Robinson
Jr.: So, so yeah. So no, we actively
go out and collect.>>Megan Metcalf: Are you the
only one who’s responsible? You and your colleague?>>Franklin Robinson Jr.: It’s
just myself and Catherine Ott. I mean, it doesn’t mean that
other people can’t collect it, but they always, yeah, it’s kind
of like if somebody comes in, and say, “Oh, you know, we’re
collecting [inaudible] from– .” You know, which was a
very Japanese, right? Because he was in
the internment camp. A very famous actor played Ito
and Auntie Mame on Broadway and did numerous things in
motion pictures, still is alive. He and his lover, actually
husband now, live in California. That was actually
collected for his career, but the side story
was, of course, that he happens to be gay. So they came downstairs and
said, “Oh, hey, would, you know, would you support
this acquisition?” I’m like, “Yes.” So that all comes in,
you know, and that’s part of the papers there
that you can research. That’s not the primary
reason why he was collected, but that’s kind of an
example of, you know, you know the gravy coming
with the mashed potatoes.>>Megan Metcalf: Yeah, because
for the Library of Congress, of course we were
collecting LGBTQ items, but it was not an official
area until the ’90s after some sustained effort
on the part of LC GLOBE. So I’m just also
interested to see when LGBTQ collecting came
online in there various– . I mean, LHA is pretty obvious. But so for the Holocaust Museum, do you specifically collect
LGBTQ or is it more coming in with other collections?>>Jake Newsome: So I
would say it, especially, I mean up to this point
and after the fall of the Soviet Union
when all of these kind of Eastern archives opened up, I
mean, we just got flooded with. We just, we were just taking
anything and everything. And so you know it just then
was a matter of our archivist and librarians sorting
through what we found.>>Megan Metcalf: The backlog.>>Jake Newsome: What
we got, and to be able to then start tagging
what we actually had. And so it’s really, you know
up until recently, I would say, the last five or ten years when
we’ve now been able to kind of catch our breath
and say we’re going to really now be
targeted and trying to acquire specific
either topics or specific types of material. And one of those is you
know LGBT-related material. But it’s incredibly
hard because I mean as, as is probably the case
with a lot of our work, people didn’t want to– gay people or people in
the community didn’t want to leave a trace behind, right? Because especially in Germany, there was this really
harsh national law, and so really everything
that we– almost everything that we
get is all through the eyes of the Nazis themselves. Which is incredibly
problematic, right? And so trying, being able to
try to look at those documents within cross-referenced. We have other information
on these people who might be on what they called
“Pink Lists,” you know, poses its own challenge. And so yeah, so even as we,
now we’re trying to think of ways well how can
we find LGBT sources when LGBT people themselves
didn’t want to be found.>>Megan Metcalf: And
just a follow up for you, because I’m curious from
the German connection. Do you know, does your
institution have anything that would have been at
the Hirschfeld Archives? Because we have here at
the Library of Congress, we do have a lot of
the annual reports from the early Sexology
Institute, so I’m wondering if that would be something
that you would have?>>Jake Newsome:
So we do have some. We, from the beginning,
really tried to set boundaries on like 1933 to 1945 so that it
would be somewhat manageable. But in– . Says, says, right,
I know that– . But we, we do have a lot
of, Hirschfeld stuff kind of by accident, and
we have some really, really interesting stuff. But I think one reason
we have it is because, and this is one thing that maybe
a lot of people don’t know, is that you know, the Nazi book
burnings is a famous incident from Nazi history, right? But Hirschfeld’s Institute
for Sexual Sciences was one of the key targets of that. And so we know that over that
night, over the course of two or three days, these
Nazi students went in, or college students, went in and I mean just completely
gutted this institute. Over 25,000 books and
periodicals were burned, and so we have that, we have
some of that information because it became a
target of the Nazis. Again, so much of what we have
comes from the perspective of the perpetrators which poses so many ethical questions
but yeah.>>Megan Metcalf: Okay,
I think that’s the last of my German questions. [Laughter] So I feel like I have, we
haven’t heard from Shawn in a while, so do we want
to start wrapping up? We’ll start with Shawn, and
we can start anything we want to talk about that we
haven’t talked about so far? And then we can open it up to
questions from the audience?>>Shawnta Smith-Cruz:
Alright, well then I’m going to.>>Megan Metcalf:
Yeah, go back, go back. [Laughter]>>Shawnta Smith-Cruz: Alright. So let’s see. If it doesn’t work this time, then you guys can
like talk about me.>>Megan Metcalf: This is what
it’s like to be, you know, an actual librarian
research consultation. It’s the actual experience
here, broken links, you know, we all face these issues. [ Inaudible ]>>Shawnta Smith-Cruz: Yeah, it’s just a list
of links, y’all. I didn’t do anything special
here, but I did want to talk about Salsa Soul Sisters. So one of the things that we do, I’m reaching here,
but I have a mic. One of the things we do I think as archivists nowadays
is we think about the [inaudible] of access. And what people, so once we
did finally get the acquisition of the Salsa Soul collection, immediately the women were
thinking, “Okay, great! So now you have our stuff.” And this took ten years. This is sort of post-the 2010
event where I was like, “Here, black lesbians did exist!” And then we’re like,
“Oh right, you know, we need to put our stuff, or
we need to archive our stuff.” And then I was convincing
them for ten years to archive them with LHA. So they finally did, and then
they were like, “Okay, great. So where’s our book? Where’s our website? Where’s our, you know,
street named after us?” All of these things, and
I thought, well you know, actually, like it’s sort
of that conversation where there’s still the
silence, you must donate, you’ve donated, no what? And really that’s it. Like your stuff is in a box, and
someone might open it one day. Like that’s really all
that we’re promising. We’re going to preserve
your materials, and they were just
like, “Oh, the LHA! They take our things, they do
nothing, this is what we mean about the feminists,” you know. So we were just like alright. First of all, stop
with the negativity. So we, but then of course I
said, “I’m going to do it, we’re going to do something.” So we did an exhibit, right? And a lot, and I was just at
the sort of the historians, the National Historians
Conference, and I was on a panel, and everyone just
immediately started talking about their exhibits. Like it’s all about–
we’re exhibit-happy people. And I find that it’s taking
up too much time and energy for archivists personally to
have to exhibit this material, but that’s just my
personal feeling. Having said that, the
exhibit went– is amazing. A lot of people came, and
so this is sort of what we, we connected with a gallery
that we had already been working with to do exhibitions, and
the business was just a way to show people the exhibit, the
material that is in the archives so they can come to the archive
and just get a look at it. So what we did was I
created this map on the wall which then connected to the
points of the flyers that we– . So a lot of their
material was flyers. They had a newsletter, the Salsa
Soul Gayzette, and so these are like covers of the
newsletter and special issues. They had, we had T-shirts at the
collection, so we pulled that. We had some [inaudible]
with specific ephemera. We had lots of photographs,
and then I, of course, because it’s women of color
exhibition, we had an altar with names of the women
who are now our ancestors. So it was all really wonderful,
and just to show you some, I think I have a couple
of post-exhibition photos. One of the women who is,
was the sort of exhibition. No, no, no. The editor in chief
of their newsletter, the Salsa Soul Gayzette, is
now the wife of the mayor of New York, so Chirlane
McCray is there, and that’s me staring
lovingly at her [laughter]. Hello, she looks
good for her age. No, period. She looks good! All the women in the room,
you would be very [inaudible]. I apologize. That’s my daughter. Now so we all did a
zine, and the zine was through the Blackburn Gallery
and that was sort of part of the process was getting
things that we could hand out. And I didn’t bring
copies, I apologize. And these are a lot of the original Salsa
Soul women who came. We had like multiple events which I think this
was maybe the opening, and so again, beautiful women. Lots of flirting was
happening in that room. [Laughter] And it was, we
had three events throughout, so that was last
June, thank goodness because this June is so insane. But right now we’re at the
New York Historical Society, so we have a larger exhibition
at New York Historical. And we got a grant to do an
exhibition year for them, so we’re sort of
like lining it up. Brooklyn College, Studio Museum
of Harlem has some things in line, and then
the Graduate Center. So we have like a
calendar happening. All of this to say
it’s exhausting. I just wanted to
put it in a box, but exhibitions are
one way, I think, to really engage the community
and get a lot of people in the room and talking and,
and engaging with the material. So that was the last
thing that I wanted to make sure I showed before.>>Megan Metcalf:
That’s amazing. And I’m going to use
that as an opportunity to say did you know we
have a Stonewall 50 exhibit in the Great Hall, which I’m
sorry you can’t see right now because it’s closed? But come back tomorrow,
come back Monday, come back during
our regular hours. It’s on the second floor of the
Great Hall, and there are items from the [inaudible] Emily
Vinson’s collections, and so there’s flyers from
the first Gay Pride March, which a lot of people don’t
realize was a planned year– it was the commemoration
of the one-year anniversary of Stonewall which I think
a lot of people don’t think that Pride comes from that.>>Franklin Robinson Jr.:
I think you’re right.>>Megan Metcalf: And
they also don’t know that Stonewall was
a mafia-owned bar. That’s another, that’s
another hidden history, yeah. All gay bars at that
time are mafia-owned. So and then that feeds right
into the police brutality, but so, sorry I derailed
that, but just wanted to promote myself for a moment. So continue.>>Franklin Robinson Jr.: So riffing on that,
let me promote ours. So just a reminder, okay, so the
Illegal to be You exhibit is on, as you come in the Mall
entrance of the Museum of American History, on
your right-hand side. It just went up yesterday. Please go and see it. The documentary of
Beyond Stonewall is on the SI Channel Monday
at eight and ten PM. And then I think it’s
on Wednesday morning, or something like that. But then, the last two things which are maybe the
more important is that I charge you all to go
home, clean out your closets. There’s plenty of us, I mean,
we’re all in the same game here, and we all want to preserve it. So it’s on you. And then the other thing
that’s on you is to make sure that your institutions,
you let them know that you want to
see your history. I tell that all the time. It’s not that the Smithsonian or name any institution
you want to, doesn’t necessarily
want to do it. It’s that there’s a gazillion and one things going
on at any one day. But if you are a squeaky
wheel, they will listen. That’s why the documentary got
done, that’s why we have a case up for Stonewall, and we’re
actually, speaking of Pride, hopefully have an
exhibit on Pride next year to celebrate the 50th
anniversary of Pride. Shhh! Hasn’t been approved
yet, but I’m ever hopeful. So if I leave you with nothing, those two things,
most important.>>Lisa Warwick: I also
have an exhibit to plug, so you’re right, we’re
all doing exhibits now. A staff member did it. It is opening on the 28th,
and it’s at D.C. Arts Center. It’s not related
directly to LGBTQ history, but it’s a history
of that art center.>>Megan Metcalf: And
then DuPont as well.>>Lisa Warwick: Hmm?>>Megan Metcalf:
DuPont as well, Under Uprising, Stonewall 50.>>Lisa Warwick: Oh, yeah! Meg and I are both– we
co-curated an exhibit. Yeah, it’s in the
DuPont Underground.>>Megan Metcalf: We’ve
been doing a lot this month. So you see how she almost forgot that she co-curated
an exhibit with me? [Laughter] It has been a
long [inaudible], y’all.>>Lisa Warwick: But
someone else– no.>>Megan Metcalf: You’re right. Remember that time we
went under the ground, and we put the USBs
in the projectors? Remember?>>Lisa Warwick: Yeah!>>Megan Metcalf: Okay, cool.>>Lisa Warwick:
I remember that. One of them is a
little pixel-ly. I need to go back and do it. It does take a lot of time.>>Megan Metcalf:
It really does.>>Lisa Warwick: Yeah, the other
thing I just wanted to mention in my little list of notes. The thing I discovered from the
D.C. angle researching Stonewall was I feel like it’s pushed
as like, “Stonewall happened, and the next day
everything was different.”>>Megan Metcalf: No.>>Lisa Warwick: It’s like, I’m
like going through this database for the Washington Post and
the Washington Evening Star, looking for Stonewall, and it’s
like not Stonewall Jackson, not Stonewall Jackson. It’s not until like 1971 was the
first mention, and it was only because they were
interviewing somebody who said, “I got into activism
because of Stonewall.” It’s only because
people claim it that it becomes a turning
point, and I think a lot of turning points, it’s really
empowering to feel like, yeah, it’s really empowering to feel
like because somebody claims it, it becomes a turning
point, absolutely.>>Jake Newsome: I do not have
an exhibit to plug [laughter]. I do have a story to share. I have a story to share. Alright, so as I
mentioned earlier, my, the bulk of my research and
writing focuses on what happened to gay survivors and
the gay community after the Holocaust, right? And so I, I began
writing because I wanted to know how the Pink
Triangle, as a symbol, right? Was the badge that the Nazis
forced gay camp inmates to wear. How does that go from
concentration camp badge to then gay liberation
logo in America, right? So across an ocean
and decades later. And so, you know, I’m
trying to trace down, everyone says, “Well,
it just was. Like we just saw it.” Yeah, but someone had
to have the first one. Someone had to make
that decision, right? And so I go and through
this network of the volunteer archivists and
historians, you know find, okay, it’s this one particular
group who claims that they were the first ones to
decide to use the pink triangle. It turns out, of course, they
actually heard a group in Berlin who was going to use it,
and so like they tried to get there first, talking
about claiming, right? And so I end up through kind
of chance, talking with a guy who was at the meeting who
proposed, at least according to him, he proposed that
they use the pink triangle as a new gay logo, right?>>Megan Metcalf:
What year was this?>>Jake Newsome: This is in
West Berlin in 1972, and they, this idea that, you
know, being out was of course a personal
liberation, but it also needed to have a political component. And so everyone needed to
wear a gap logo of some sort. But they were like, “Well,
what are we going to use?” And so this guy says, “Well, we’re going to use
the pink triangle because clearly every German
is going to recognize it as a concentration camp badge.” And it’s going to be
kind of a symbol to them that you know there’s
still a big part of history that hasn’t been dealt with. And in fact, the West German
government, even at that time, was still using the Nazi law to
arrest gay men in West Germany. So that’s a whole
other story, right? So they wanted to fight kind
of this Nazi law with a symbol of the Nazi past itself. So my question then to him
is well how did you find– you know, what made you
pick this, this symbol? And he said, “Well, I came across this really
obscure book called ‘The Men with the Pink Triangle.’ It was written by really
the one at that time, the only gay survivor
autobiography.” Turns out it was written under
the pseudonym of Heinz Heger. But he said, “As soon
as I picked up that book and read the title, ‘The
Men with the Pink Triangle, I knew like this was going
to be a simple symbol. It was going to be powerful.” And so of course then I did
everything I could to try to find out who the
real Heinz Heger was. Turns out it was a pseudonym,
Josef Kohout, so I tried– in every story that I tell
as giving talks at campuses or in my writing,
I tell the story. So now, last, several months
ago, our museum opened up a new archive up
in Bowie, Maryland. And in a way, to kind of show
it off to us staff, they brought out some, some materials from
the archives just to let us to come see, and like see
all the new technology. So I’m walking around. We’re looking at all these
random assortment of artifacts, and I come across this table where they have some
badges laid out. Some concentration camp badges. And I’m looking,
and I see one number that just completely
jumps out at me, and so I’m like, okay, hold on. So then I’m getting on my
phone, and I’m looking up– it was Josef Kohout’s
badge on the table. It was Heinz Heger’s
badge, right? It was literally the pink
triangle that he wrote the book about that then inspired that
activist group to choose it. And then you know set, set
the stage for its expansion. And even when I talk about it,
I still get chill bumps, right? And it, it’s just an
incredible sometime accident of history and research. And it’s– .>>Megan Metcalf: Wow,
that’s incredible. Well thank you so much to
our panelists this evening. Let’s give them a
round of applause. And now, questions
from the audience. And we’ll repeat the
questions into the microphone since it’s being recorded. So who’s got questions
for us, for anyone or for the panel at large? [ Inaudible ]>>Did people refer
to themselves as gay? Straight? You know, this
word “homosexual,” I mean, we still are homosexuals,
aren’t we all? And where did “lesbians”
come from? Aren’t they gay, homosexual too? And– I’m curious. Is there a difference
between then and now? Are we still using
these same words?>>Megan Metcalf:
Yes and no, I think. Does anyone want to jump in?>>Franklin Robinson Jr.: I
can speak a little bit to it.>>Megan Metcalf:
Alright, go for it.>>Franklin Robinson Jr.: So
the term “homosexual” comes into vogue in the latter
part of the 19th century as a medical term, a pathology, as opposed to something
that’s positive. The idea that the community
is, is recognized as gay which is pan– pan whatever,
whether you’re the L or the G or the B or the T. And even now,
when that was a big discussion when we were doing labels for
the exhibit is you know, okay, it is the gay community, and everybody will understand
what we mean by that. Because otherwise the labels
were starting to get this big. Then the other thing of course,
are you British, by the way? Or?>>I was once. [Laughter]>>Franklin Robinson Jr.: Okay.>>Proud American.>>Franklin Robinson Jr.: So you
could tell us about the origins of the phrase, “the
friend of Dorothy,” right? That’s more of a, I’ve been told
that’s more of a British term in the sense that, you know, you
would walk up to a gentleman at, you probably have been cruising,
hopefully, and just say, “Oh, are you a friend of Dorothy?” And you’d go, “Oh,
yes,” or “Dorothy who?” You know? [Laughter] You’d turn
around and run the other way. So it’s, so it’s still,
it’s still rather fluid. I mean, in the museum, the kind of what I call the catchall LGBT
collection, because it’s a lot of ephemera and stuff, small
things that people hand me, it’s the LGBT collection. We, and I stopped
at T because that’s where we were at that time. You know, so at some point,
you know, you’ve kind of got to figure what’s going to
fit on the label is– .>>Megan Metcalf: I added a
Q and a plus when I got here.>>Franklin Robinson
Jr.: Did you? Yeah, there you go. Yeah, we sometimes I’ll
venture into the plus, but.>>Megan Metcalf: It can take a
while though with institutions to get them to change it though. You know?>>Franklin Robinson
Jr.: But and, and maybe more specifically,
the term “gay,” the one piece of evidence that I’ve seen
that is really interesting to me is there is a
photograph from a gentleman in World War II, and on the
back of his photograph, he goes, you know, “This is me and–
” wherever the heck he was. “You know, gay as hell
still, and loving it,” as if it was a passing
fancy or something. But that’s the first reference
I’ve seen in our collections to, you know, calling yourself
“gay” and that meaning that he was a homosexual, so hopefully that’s a little
bit enlightening, I don’t know.>>Megan Metcalf:
Oh, more questions.>>So I appreciate– .>>Megan Metcalf:
Okay, just wait.>>Franklin Robinson
Jr.: There you go.>>Yes, I appreciate urgency and
the desire to collect materials, but at the same time we know
we can’t collect everything.>>Megan Metcalf: Right.>>And also there is power
to leaving collections within the communities of origin and archivists now are
exploring both custodial needs of creating relationships
between individuals and communities and
institutions. And I wonder if you could speak
to those kinds of relationships where you go to certain
communities and individuals where it’s not about collecting, but it’s about building
those kinds of relationships. Because sometimes in some
areas of our community, once you go there with
that agenda of collecting, then the conversation stops because we don’t
want to be collected. But we want to have
a relationship. So I just wonder
if you could speak to those kinds of relationships?>>Megan Metcalf: Wow,
that’s a great question. Anyone feel like jumping in? I know you have something
to say, Shawn. I know you do.>>Shawnta Smith-Cruz: But I
feel like it sort of applies to, or it applies from
a different angle, like I totally 100%
agree with you. And I think that that is a
conversation that I bring up when I think about concepts
of Open Access and all access, and some things are meant to be
closed, some things are meant to be sustained within
a specific group and within a community, and I’m
always interested in starting from that perspective, right? And so I think for community
archives which are few and far between, there
is that element of trust within the community to maintain
the community’s archives. If you’re speaking about
geographic communities or ethnic communities,
or ultimately it’s about self-described
communities, right? Like if you’re a
part of a group, whether it’s a church community
or a specific ethnic group of a specific geographic
location, southern dykes, or whoever your community
is, the goal and the hope is that that community has
the interest, right? To do self-archiving,
and the resources and the means to do that. So in some ways,
what’s been happening with queer community
archives is a lot of them have been
collaborating with institutions because of the preservation
conversation. You know, it takes a lot of
work, and it takes space, it takes real estate, right?>>Megan Metcalf: Trust.>>Shawnta Smith-Cruz: Yeah,
so, so the trust happens with the community archive,
and then the assumption is that the community archive
has worked with an institution to preserve that work that they’re collecting
in the community. Then that’s, in some ways,
what the trend is right now, and as long as the community is, the community archive
is transparent about how institutions
are absorbing the material to the individuals
that are donating it, I think that is okay. Because you know in 100 years,
we’re all not going to be here to know whether or
not that happened, and so we want the
materials to still be here. I’m not, I don’t
necessarily think that only institutions
can sustain materials, but it does take a really
strong community based-archival practice for it to sustain
further than an institution. So whether or not there
are collectives of people that are making that happen, it
really depends on the community.>>Franklin Robinson Jr.:
So I have a real-life story, and out of respect to the people
that I’ll be talking about, I will not use names,
but so we had reached out to this community, and
certainly just in conversations, and they had donated material. But they were, they were a
part of a group, a very old and respected group within
the Washington community. And both of these people were,
were well, one of them was, just a dyed-in-the-wool
archivist. I mean, just a wannabe, and
you know, catalogue everything, everything boxed,
just perfectly. Just as you’d want
for this community. Well, the community died out. So he finally, you
know he knew us. He came to us, and
he says, “You know, we’re ready to turn
this over now.” So I, I guess that’s kind of the
way that I like to approach it because what always worries
me is it goes in the dumpster when that one person, and
every organization has one, who’s really into like making
sure that everything’s filed or at least put in a
box, and it’s, you know, not in the basement
with the water. It’s, you know, and
that’s their thing. But then when that
person goes away, is it a burden for
the community? It’s like oh, well, you
know I don’t have room in my house for that. So, so it’s, it’s a
fine line, isn’t it?>>Lisa Warwick: Can I add also? I think one sort of intermediary
step right now would be archival projects where, that are
potentially digital so it’s not about people bestowing
their boxes of stuff to another person’s basement. But it’s about sort of
collecting the story, right? So there’s a lot of on
my oral history projects that are being coordinated
by probably a public library. New York Public Library
has a really robust one. There’s [inaudible]
is an example. But I’m also thinking of a
practice that StoryCorps does and the Library of Congress
is where they’re housed. Once upon a time I was
the archive coordinator for StoryCorps, and one of my
positional purposes was to work with community archives. And what I appreciated
and learned a lot about that process was you
know StoryCorps would perform the interview. StoryCorps is a national
oral history project where sometimes the oral
histories would happen at an organization or in a
specific geographic location. And so those are sort of like
the door-to-door interviews, facilitators would go in. Two people who knew each other
would have a conversation, and then that conversation
would be archived at the Library of Congress. So whenever that happened
at a specific site or with a specific
community group, that community group got
a copy of the material, so then there were two
separate, you know, these things existed
in both places. And that was often
a way to respect that this community needed to
have access to their stuff. They’re not going to fly to D.C.
to listen to their interview, so the individual
people would have a copy, and then the community
would have a copy. And so I think that that model
is a really great example of how things can be preserved and also maintained
within states.>>Franklin Robinson
Jr.: And just, and now that you mentioned
that, you reminded me that the, with this same group that I was
chatting about, he actually, bless his heart, took it on. He digitized everything
that anybody wanted, and so we got the, we got the
actual stuff to preserve it and to make sure to
make it accessible, but then they have
a digital copy. So, so you’re right. That’s kind of an intermediate.>>Megan Metcalf: I
think that’s similar with the Digital Transgender
Archive which it is, it’s an archival project. KJ Rothson and I’m not
sure who else worked on it, but they’ve digitized items from
institutions all over the place and are putting it
together in one repository. But at the end of the day,
you know, the items still, are still living
in Internet archive or wherever they’ve
been digitized. But that’s just another
really good example of one of those projects. Yeah. Do you have a question?>>I want to I guess get
to, might be controversial, everyone just figure
out what origin. So figure out what’s the
origin of the word “gay.” It used to be happy
and the word used to mean happy and
merry, you know. Even theme parks and the
“gay way” and all that stuff. I’m wondering how it came to
be used instead of homosexual. I always wondered that. And number two, a little bit
controversial, but it’s bringing up there, do you actually
catalogue anti-gay religious right literature as well?>>Megan Metcalf: Oh yeah. Oh, absolutely.>>Very good, thank you.>>Megan Metcalf:
All the time, yes.>>Franklin Robinson Jr.:
Yeah, I mean, that’s– .>>Thanks.>>Franklin Robinson Jr.: To
speak, speak to the “gay” thing, what I was told in the
history was that yeah, again, it was another code word
that let’s say you were, you know met somebody. And you know, “How are you?” “Oh, I’m feeling very
gay today,” just you know because it did mean happy. But then in the underground, it
meant perhaps something else. But then to speak to
the other we are, yes. Actively always collecting the
other side of the coin because.>>Megan Metcalf: We have to.>>Franklin Robinson
Jr.: Yeah, you have to. And I always tell people, I
says you know, in 50 years, 100 years, whenever, when let’s
say marriage equality is kind of you know, [snores]
a big snooze, you know. And people will go, “What
was all the screaming about?” You can actually say, “See,
this is what was going on. This is what we were
fighting against.”>>Megan Metcalf:
You need both sides.>>Franklin Robinson
Jr.: Oh yeah, you’ve got. Very hard to collect
though, isn’t it?>>Megan Metcalf: It is.>>Franklin Robinson
Jr.: Yeah, yeah, they just don’t want
to give it up.>>Megan Metcalf: Jose?>>I think I just
want to thank you. It’s a wonderful panel
and wonderful colleagues.>>Megan Metcalf:
Introduce yourself, Jose. Because we know who you are.>>Franklin Robinson
Jr.: I think a lot of people know who– .>>Megan Metcalf: They
should know who you.>>Jose [inaudible] and I’m a
local historian and archivist. [Inaudible] some part of the
collection four years ago, Jose [inaudible], who was the
first gay American man who run for a political office in San
Francisco in 1963, I believe. So he donate most
of the [inaudible] to the San Francisco
Library, I mean LGBTQ Museum, but I buy like 71 or 72
items and I’m very happy to have it in the [inaudible]. And I also bring up a
picture of [inaudible].>>Megan Metcalf: Here she is! Here she is!>>I met [inaudible] 25
years ago in New York City. I went to the Stonewall 25th
anniversary, and you know, Sylvia and Martha Johnson,
you know, they create a lot of projects and programs
in New York City, including [inaudible]. I believe in 1969 or 1970
straight transvestite action revolutionary, something
like that. And you know my conversations
with Sylvia, you know, she was very humble and
these are a lot of things. you know they know, we know
just a little bit things of what we know of
Stonewall, by Marge and Sylvia were you
know everywhere. I just thank you and any time
that you need anything related to the Latino LGBTQ
community, I will be more than happy to work with anyone. And thank you, thank
you for this panel.>>And thank you, and
what a great picture. [ Applause ] [ Laughter ]>>Megan Metcalf:
Alright, questions?>>Hi, one conver– .>>Megan Metcalf: Leigh?>>Yeah!>>Megan Metcalf:
Leigh, oh my goodness! We used to work at
the same library. Oh my gosh, you’re here! [Laughter] Hi! Hi.>>A conversation I’ve
been having a lot, particularly this year, but recently is
commercialization of Pride. And so I’m curious, I’m
curious if you have folks at your institutions have
seen anything like that? Any more corporations
purchasing licenses interested in partnerships, grants,
anything like that on your end?>>Megan Metcalf: Oh, yeah. Well, especially in D.C., right? Like our Pride is so corporate. I think here because we’re not
like NYPL, we don’t have the, the images online
from that time period, but I know that they’ve all been
getting like mad requests for, “Oh, we’re going to publish this
book, we’re going to put this on a beer can, we’re
going to do this.” I think it’s different
for us as government, or for me as a government
librarian, but I definitely have heard
from others in the field that they are quite overwhelmed
and not quite sure what to do about all the private
interests in this. And what, what the potential
use for that would be. Yeah, what about you?>>Franklin Robinson
Jr.: As I mentioned, Comcast is helping
fund Digital Hub. As far as the corporatization
of Pride, that is a fascinating subject to
me, and I, every time I collect from as many Prides as I
can get to, and it’s amazing to see the material
that is coming out of corporate headquarters. And I didn’t, I didn’t bring
a flash drive tonight, sorry. But one of my favorite things
that I collected this year at D.C. Pride was a poster
developed by the CIA, of all people [laughter],
to recruit– yes! Yes, to recruit LGBT people. Yes, it is awesome. It’s so 19403 film noir,
and yet there’s a rainbow. It’s amazing. It’ll be in the exhibit
next year, yeah.>>Megan Metcalf:
I just because, I mean I think most people
know the CIA, the FBI, they actively investigate gay
rights groups and have forever, so that’s very interesting.>>Franklin Robinson Jr.: Well,
all three of them were there. Secret Service was there,
FBI, CIA was there, and yeah. All of them, all of them.>>Megan Metcalf:
Welcome to D.C..>>Franklin Robinson Jr.:
Yeah, welcome [laughter].>>Shawnta Smith-Cruz: Can
I also say, I don’t know if you are aware that New York
City has World Pride this year.>>Megan Metcalf:
I’ve heard of that.>>Shawnta Smith-Cruz:
Which I’m not– nobody really understands
what that means. All that we know
is that Heritage of Pride is the organization that usually does
the Pride March. And this year, Heritage of Pride
sort of either stepped down or works with or
has been working with this other group
called World Pride, and that they’ve come to us. They’ve come to New York
City, so now World Pride is in New York City for the
first time [inaudible].>>Megan Metcalf: Oh,
it’s the first time.>>Shawnta Smith-Cruz:
So I don’t know if it’s the first time
there’s a World Pride, but it’s the first time
it’s in New York City. [ Inaudible ] Which is sort of like I feel
like why they started, right? To be in New York for 50. So there is, I’m talking every
night of the week there’s like multiple events,
and each of the archives in New York City have been
tapped out of our bloodstream to participate in every
single thing that we can. And so it is definitely
something that’s happening. What is also happening as a
result of it is Reclaimed Pride, which is the Reclaimed
Pride March. So I was going to
pull up the — . You can look, yeah it’s, so a lot of the actual
group that are working Pride or that work in Pride for,
you know, beyond Stonewall 50, have stepped away from
walking in the march, so now everyone’s walking
in Reclaimed Pride. So it’s going to be
walking alongside the march on Sixth Avenue, while the
march is on Fifth Avenue, and it’s of course, you know
the day after the Dyke March which never has a permit and is
going to walk on Fifth Avenue, so I think that New York City in
some ways, there’s like all the, you know, millions of tourists
that are going to come in and like celebrate Pride. And then there are the people
who are like reclaiming it, which how fun, you know? Like at the end of the day. Some people are going to do
Reclaim and then like run over to Fifth Avenue [laughter], and I don’t really know
what’s going to come of it. We’ll see, but a lot of
groups have created statements and thought about like how
corporate entities are entering the space, and how
it’s all politicized and that sort of thing. Having said that, when
it comes to the Archives, and that is sort of
what we were alluding to with Gale collaboration
that there was a, there’s a woman who, Rebekah, Rebekah Schaffeld
wrote her dissertation on how LGBT archives are
relying on institutional or corporate support, and that
is the future of LGBT archiving. And that there is as a
goal question about that, and so I would recommend
if you’re interested in that question to look
up her dissertation. She’s a librarian. I think she’s now
somewhere in, I don’t know, [inaudible] in this country,
but one of the things that she used LHA as an example,
and I was sort of like enraged. There’s no way. We’re not relying
on institutions. And then it turns
out, well, yeah, Gale gave us a really nice
check for the royalties for the digitization that
they did of our microfilm that they already had
in their microfilm. So when they did the microfiche,
we got maybe like $2000 a year. It didn’t do much but
pay the water bill. And then they digitized
the microfilm, didn’t let us know about it. We had to go back into contract
with them to renegotiate. And then we got a substantial
portion of the royalties, and because they’re
making who knows how much, LHA has received enough
that we can endow ourselves so that the founders can
actually retire, right? [Applause] So in some
ways, it’s like well, it’s sustaining our organization
that the community relies on, and many people who donate
to LHA have been donating for the past 30 years,
and they’re not going to be able to do that forever. And although we want them
to put us in their will and keep us sustaining, and
although we don’t have any staff because [inaudible], there is
a question of sustainability that I do have that I think
financial support is necessary. If corporations are going
to participate in that, and allow access to the
material, dot, dot, dot. [Laughter] Right? It’s the conversation
that you know it’s sort of like can we as a community
move the corporation aside and then match it? Probably not. So I’m not averse
to the relationship. I do think that we take
many steps to make sure that it isn’t unethical. We redact and redact and
redact everything that we– like right now they’re
digitizing all of our organizational files. And we made sure before that
happened that we were able to hire a lesbian to go through
it, and train that person. And she would go through
each sheet of paper and redact everything that
shouldn’t be put online. So there is definitely a lot
of care and attention put into it even though it is,
you know, a corporation.>>You said you were
interested in like Open Access.>>Shawnta Smith-Cruz:
It’s not Open Access. It’s closed. [ Inaudible ]>>A lot of us think of
those you know our archives and that kind of public
history as going very hand in hand makes sense to
be in that Open Access, freely available to all,
but right, that yeah, how do you balance that issue of
being able to sustain something and make it accessible, yeah. But it’s also an interesting, maybe a good problem
to have, right? How much of your
money can I take and still feel good
about it, you know? [Laughter]>>Jake Newsome: Can I
input one last thing? Because you put, something
you mentioned earlier about the Stonewall effect
got me thinking about, and we’re talking about
these, these marches and the relationship
between for example, a large, these large parades and
public policy, you know. Or you know changing the
mainstream community’s understanding of
the LGBT community. But also there’s sometimes
very clear relationships between these types
of marches and history or scholarship, right? And so I have, it made
me think of one example that actually the day
that, or the weekend that the Holocaust
Museum in April of 1993, it just so happened that it
was also the same weekend as the 1993 National March
on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Biequal Rights. And so suddenly, you
know, we’re, we’re, our museum’s opening up on the
National Mall, and then there’s like tens or hundreds
of thousands of not just gay people,
but like gay politically, historically-minded people
coming through this museum, wanting to find, you know, look
for themselves in this museum. And so you know, we had like
one plaque, like one little bit on yes, gay people were there. They were persecuted
too, which, you know, so was not a whole lot. But I will just say that no
other national Holocaust museum in the world even acknowledged that there were gay
people in the Holocaust. So at least that, I mean, that
was, that was something, right? But clearly the, the
museum rightfully got a lot of criticism for not
having enough information on this particular group. And one thing that I’m
pretty proud of for, of the institution is
that instead of trying to like defend itself
and say, “Well– “, making up some excuses, the leadership said,
“Yeah, you’re right. Like we don’t have
a lot on there. But it’s because there’s not a
lot of history written about it, at least not in English.” And so essentially
they raised some money and that then funded an
entire wave of scholarship on the persecution of gay
people during the Holocaust to help fill, you
know fill that gap. And so I think that
you know sometimes we, at least I personally think
of the political ramifications of these big types of marches, but in some cases it very
clearly has an impact on how history itself
is written as well.>>Megan Metcalf: Absolutely. I think we have time
for one last question. And you’re it.>>Following up on that,
I’m curious as whether or not the influence of like
the Spielberg Holocaust oral history, have you been able to
acquire tapes that would relate to the, the gay situation
there as well, at the concentration camps?>>Jake Newsome:
Yeah, so that’s, that’s an interesting
topic, right? Because so we, we have been
able to go back through and start watching some of
those videos, but unfortunately, there’s not, at least when
they were first created, they weren’t tagged as, like this interview
includes a gay topic, right? And so then us having to watch
it and go back in and retag it and say, “Oh, wait, that
person actually is talking about a gay relationship
or a gay experience.” But all of that compounded on
the fact the you know in order to even get an interview,
number one, you had to have an interviewer
who was willing to talk about those types of issues. And then you had to
have an interviewee who was also willing
to talk about it. Which whether it’s, you know,
gay, straight men or women, usually the topic of sexuality at all was not broached during
these types of interviews because it was you
know not proper. The issue, for example, of rape or forced sex is something
that’s only just now being studied in the context of the
Holocaust of Holocaust history because even we know it
happened, but interviewees, interviewers themselves
didn’t even want to ask questions
of people about it. And so while, while we can tap
those types of interviews, it’s, you’re really having to kind
of read between the lines in a lot of cases, yeah.>>Are you looking for
people to be interviewed? I mean knowing that, just
like any Holocaust survivors, they’re getting up in age.>>Jake Newsome:
Absolutely, yeah. We’re, we’re always open to you know filming new oral
history testimonies, absolutely.>>Thank you.>>Megan Metcalf: I think
that brings us to time, so thank you everyone for
joining us this evening. Take a bookmark. [ Applause ] Have a good ALA.

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