LGBT Oral Histories Being Undertaken

story_corpsThis month two separate efforts to record LGBT people’s oral histories came across my desk.

StoryCorps, a much-loved National Public Radio series that has been broadcasting “regular people” interviews for years and which was founded by Dave Isay, son of the gay psychiatrist Dr. Richard Isay, has announced OutLoud, a new initiative to record LGBTQ stories.

“We’ll make a comprehensive effort to find people who were alive in the pre-Stonewall era — in the ’50s and ’60s in small towns all across the country, creating a record of what life was like for them.  I think it is going to be very difficult to hear.  It’s difficult now; then, it was probably difficult beyond our imagination.  You know, it was a spiritual holocaust,” Dave Isay explained to Slate (http://www.slate.com/blogs/outward/2014/06/30/storycorps_outloud_a_new_initiative_to_record_lgbtq_elders.html)

If you are interested in participating, go to http://storycorps.org/

The second new LGBTQ Oral History “Digital Collaboratory” was funded in April 2014 and will begin this summer.  Billed as “the largest LGBTQ oral history project in North American history,” it will collect over 200 life stories “with new methodologies in digital history, collaborative research, and archival practice.”  Funded by the Social Science & Humanities Research Council of Canada, those involved include Prof. Karen Stanworth of the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives; Prof. Aaron Devore of the Transgender Archives at the University of Victoria; Prof. Elise Chenier of the Archive of Lesbian Oral Testimony; Prof. K.J. Rawson of the Digital Transgender Archives; and Dr. Sarah Davidmann of the University of the Arts London’s Photography and Archive Research Center.  To find out more about this project, go to http://www.elspethbrown.org/page/lgbtq-oral-history-digital-collaboratory

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