Arizona State University Library archivist Nancy Godoy has been unearthing the treasures in the University’s collection of gay publications and memorabilia for a new exhibition.
On the cover of a newsletter dated Sept. 15, 1977, is a drag queen in full makeup, hair and dress, all gaping smile and wide eyes, white-gloved hand raised high above her head as if to throw all her cares away. The title of the periodical is “The Pride of Phoenix.” “When you think LGBT culture, you think this,” she says.
151 boxes of artifacts make up the BJ Bud Memorial Archives, which document the community’s history in Arizona from 1966 to 2015. She’ll be spreading awareness about the archives at this weekend’s Phoenix Pride Festival.
The boxes originally came from Hayden Library in Tempe, Arizona after being donated by The Valley of The Sun Gay and Lesbian Centre, and the archive is named after the late Harlene Bud, who founded the first Pheonix Gay Pride in the 1970s.
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Steven Reigns, pictured, has created a display of rubbings taken at gay landmarks around the world. 150 rubbings have been taken from landmarks, signs, tombstones, plaques and other monuments. They represent what Reigns says are integral pieces of “queer” history.
The idea for the exhibit began more than five years ago, when Reigns walked past a plaque in a small park in his neighborhood. It was placed there in November 2009 as a “Transgender Day of Remembrance Memorial.”
Included in the exhibit is Leonard Matlovich, an Air Force sergeant and veteran of the Vietnam War who challenged the ban on gays serving in the military, and Ivy Bottini, who helped found the New York chapter of the National Organization for Women, but was expelled because she was a lesbian.
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“I began to wonder: ‘Are there others? What do they look like?’” Reigns said. He found that there was no comprehensive listing of markers noting places, people or events that help document gay history. He created a website listing markers and encouraged others to participate.
Many of the pieces in the collection by Reigns are done by friends or supporters of the project who were traveling to or lived in a place where a marker is situated. In turn, Reigns would send them a piece of fabric and a black crayon to do the rubbing.
Reigns is a poet and has taught writing workshops around the country to LGBT youths and people living with HIV.
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The German Historical Museum in Berlin has opened an exhibition tracing 150 years of gay history in the country. The exhibition includes the first uses of the term “homosexual,” the brutal Nazi-era repression of gays and gradual moves toward legal equality starting in the 1960s.
The exhibition is a joint production with Berlin’s Gay Museum and has been four years in the planning.
“Homosexuality_ies,” runs through to Dec. 1, 2015. It features photo and film material, an electric shock device used for “aversion therapy” in the 1950s, other artifacts, and an “A to Z” section exploring issues ranging from gay marriage to censorship.
One of the earliest exhibits is a handwritten 1868 letter from Vienna-born writer Karl Maria Kertbeny to a German advocate of legal reform, Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, which is believed to be the oldest written record anywhere of the words “homosexual” and “heterosexual.”
It also features the work of scientists such as sex researcher Magnus Hirschfeld, whose pioneering Institute for Sexual Research was shut down and looted shortly after the Nazis took power in 1933. The Nazi regime toughened the 1872 law criminalizing sex between men; West Germany changed the so-called “paragraph 175” to decriminalize it only in 1969.
In the words of Visit Berlin, the exhibition
puts the political contribution the homosexual liberation movements made toward the development of our democratic society in the visual range of a broader public for the first time.