Wednesday, June 30, 2010 Announces LGBTQ Local Histories Contest Winners, the award-winning website on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer U.S. history, announced the winners of its “Since Stonewall Local Histories Contest” on Monday, June 28, exactly 41 years after the start of the rebellion that marks the beginning of the modern movement for LGBTQ rights and liberation. The contest—the first of its kind—invited people from across the country to create exhibits on about the history of LGBTQ life in their village, town, city, county, or state since the Stonewall riots. The contest also offered five cash prizes, from $5,000 to $1,000, to the creators of the top five exhibits. The awards were provided by the Arcus Foundation, which funded for four years. received over thirty exciting exhibits about LGBTQ history. One of the contest’s major goals was to draw attention to LGBTQ history in places that scholars have overlooked. The staff of was pleased to see exhibits about states such as Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oregon, and Virginia, among others.

The “Since Stonewall” exhibits are all geographically-based, but range dramatically in subject, from one New Yorker’s memoirs, to a history of the Gay Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C., an account of a long-lived gay bar in Michigan called The Flame, and a timeline of The Lesbian Mothers National Defense Fund in Seattle. All the entries are listed on the site.

Professors and historians of homosexuality John D’Emilio and Leisa Meyer served as judges of the contest.

The First Place Winner
The first place prize was awarded to “Man-i-fest: FTM Mentorship in San Francisco from 1976 – 2009,” created by Meghan Rohrer, the first openly transgender pastor ordained in the Lutheran Church, in partnership with San Francisco’s GLBT Historical Society.
The exhibit documents Lou Sullivan’s transition from female to male over the course of thirty years, with evidence drawn from Sullivans’ photos and letters, as well as video footage of interviews he did with the mainstream and community press, and medical professionals. D’Emilio and Meyer praised “the exhibit’s attention to the less studied FTM transition,” and noted “the critical role of mentors in these transitions is remarkable.”

Second Place
The second place winner, “Rainbow Richmond: LGBTQ History of Richmond, VA,”
compiled by Cindy Bray, Program Director for the Gay Community Center of Richmond, provides a deeply textured story of the multiple challenges and triumphs that have constituted the queer history of this former capital of the Confederacy.
“Moving from a straightforward timeline of the significant moments and turning points of Richmond’s LGBTQ history,” D’Emilio and Meyer said, “this exhibit offers detailed and evocative coverage of the violence, legal battles, and activism that characterized the four decades since Stonewall and offers browsers the rare opportunity to substantively engage this vital southern LGBTQ community.”

Third Place
In third place, historian Lindsay Branson’s “Gay Liberation in New York City” provides a remarkable array of sources, from an initial picture of “gay” graffiti to vivid oral history interviews and video footage of historical moments. This entry makes visitors to the site feel like they are part of the vibrant gay liberation movement in New York City during its brief heyday, while working to clarify the complex legacies of Stonewall.

Fourth Place
“Las Vegas, Nevada” the fourth place winner documents the creation of LGBTQ communities in Las Vegas over the course of 30 years. It was created by Dennis McBride and Crystal Van Dee of the Nevada State Museum with Paul Ershler of the Lambda Business and Professional Association. “This exhibit makes clear that, while Stonewall is part of a ‘shared’ queer history, we might be better served by looking to institutions like the Reno Gay Rodeo, Le Café in Las Vegas, and the fierce local struggles to maintain these and other institutions to understand the emergence of queer Nevada” D’Emilio and Meyer declared.

Fifth Place
In fifth place is the “Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club, San Francisco, California 1971-2004,” created by historian Nathan Purkiss, which documents the first registered LGBT democratic club in the nation. The exhibit draws from the Alice Reports newsletter, interviews with longtime Alice members, and the Gay Vote Newsletters of the Harvey Milk Democratic Club to provide, what D’Emilio and Meyer call, “a fascinating textual and visual journey.”

Honorable mention was given to “The Midwest’s ‘Queer Mecca’: 40 Years of GLBTQ History in Bloomington, Indiana (1969-2009),” and “LGBT Life in Iowa City, Iowa: 1967-2010.”’s founder, the pioneering gay historian Jonathan Ned Katz, hopes that the Since Stonewall Contest exhibits will be used by teachers to incorporate local LGBTQ history into high school and college courses. He also hopes that the contest will inspire others to write their local histories on the site, which, like Wikipedia, permits users to create content. As contest contributors can continue to edit their entries on, and new histories are added by the public, the site’s local LGBTQ history content will continue to grow.
According to D’Emilio and Meyer, “The website and the ‘Since Stonewall’ contest are critically important in bringing attention to local LGBTQ history, and LGBTQ history more generally. Without recognition of LGBTQ history on local, state, national, and transnational levels our historical narratives will remain forever incomplete.” was the co-recipient of the first Allan Bérubé Award from The Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History of the American Historical Association.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Introduction of Sharon Bridgforth for the Queer Cultural Event

I had the good fortune of introducing Sharon Bridgforth for the Queer Cultural Event at the Queer Studies Symposium on the University of Maryland’s campus in April 2010. Below is my introduction. Do check out Bridgforth’s work published by Lisa Moore of Redbone Press.
Good Afternoon and welcome to the second Queer Cultural Event as a part of the DC Queer Studies Symposium. I’d like to thank all of the sponsors of this event and especially Professor Marilee Lindemann and Damion Clark for their vision and hard work in making this event a success.

As we embark on the second Queer Cultural Event, you may notice that these events are, in part, reflections of my own obsessions. Last year, three gay male poets entertained and enlightened us from a variety of aesthetic positions, reflecting my desire for greater aesthetic dialogues within poetry and for more poetry in queer studies. This year, Sharon Bridgforth, an extraordinary writer, performer, historian of the imagination, and theorist, will enliven our afternoon with her work. She embodies my admiration of and appreciation for African-American Butch Lesbians. Although I don’t want to fix Bridgforth in a particular identity location because she is in fact a multi-faceted performer and artist, consider her renderings of one woman-loving-woman named bull-dog-jean from her book the bull-jean stories,

bull-jean say
i been giving away tastes
piece by piece/samples
of my Heart/I
been giving for free                 all my Life

bull-jean continues

and that wo’mn is kind
and she Lovves me         and
it don’t matter if it’s thirty minutes a day
or ONCE in the next Life
I’ll go git her/smile
whenever she’ll let me
have it!

Part of Bridgforth’s project is, in her words, considering “a range of possibilities of gender expression and sexuality within a rural/Black working class context.” She “articulates African-American sensibilities/history and oral traditions for the purpose of exploring the ways that” African-American communities have survived.

And did I mention her work is hot? Here again from the bull-jean stories

let me

be the coffee in yo cup

hold me close/smell

your memories



a little sugar

made to fit your taste

stir and sip me slow

don’t let none go to waste

Sharon Bridgforth is a two time Alpert Award Nominee in the Arts in Theatre and a recipient of the 2008 Alpert/Hedgebrook Residency Prize. She has been the Artist-In-Residence in Performance Studies at Northwestern University and her work has received support from the National Endowment For The Arts Commissioning Program; The National Endowment For The Arts/Theatre Communications Group Playwright in Residence Program; National Performance Network Commissioning Fund; the Paul Robeson Fund for Independent Media; and the Rockefeller Foundation Multi-Arts Production Fund Award.

She is the author of two books, the bull-jean stories, which won the 1999 Lambda Literary Award in Poetry, and love conjure/blues, which Tara Lake described as a “historically imagined juke joint community—populated by “the mens the womens the both and the neither”—[that] restores queer agency to black history in the tradition of Audre Lorde, Bruce Nugent, and James Baldwin.” Lake continues, “This poetry is not just a blues, but a sort of divine witchcraft, a stomp circle, a shout! Not jubilee, but hallelujah.”

Both of these books are published by RedBone Press and are available for sale and signing after today’s performance.

Sharon Bridgforth is an affiliate of The Austin Project, sponsored by The John L. Warfield Center For African and African American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin and has just been appointed to the position of Multicultural Faculty Member in DePaul University’s Theatre School for the next academic year. This afternoon, Sharon Bridgforth will perform Like Jazz, selections from her current work. After her performance, we will have time for questions, queries, and other queer forms of audience engagement. Please join me in welcoming Sharon Bridgforth.

Winners of the 22nd Annual Lambda Literary Awards

Winners of the 22nd Annual

Lambda Literary Awards

Lesbian Fiction
A Field Guide to Deception, by Jill Malone (Bywater Books)
Gay Fiction
Lake Overturn, by Vestal McIntyre (HarperCollins)
Lesbian Debut Fiction
The Creamsickle, by Rhiannon Argo (Spinsters Ink)
Gay Debut Fiction
Blue Boy, by Rakesh Satyal (Kensington Books)
LGBT Children's/Young Adult
Sprout, by Dale Peck (Bloomsbury USA)
Lesbian Mystery
Death of a Dying Man, by J.M. Redmann (Bold Strokes Books)
Gay Mystery
What We Remember, by Michael Thomas Ford (Kensington Books)
Lesbian Erotica
Lesbian Cowboys, edited by Sacchi Green & Rakelle Valencia (Cleis Press)
Gay Erotica
Impossible Princess, by Kevin Killian (City Lights)            
Bisexual Fiction - A Tie!
Holy Communion, by Mykola Dementiuk (Synergy Press)
Love You Two, by Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli (Random House Australia)
Bisexual Nonfiction
Leaving India: My Family's Journey From Five Villages to Five Continents, by Minal Hajratwala (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Lynnee Breedlove's One Freak Show, by Lynn Breedlove (Manic D Press)
LGBT Anthology
Portland Queer: Tales of the Rose City, edited by Ariel Gore (Lit Star Press)

LGBT Drama
The Collected Plays Of Mart Crowley, by Mart Crowley (Alyson Books)
LGBT SF/Fantasy/Horror
Palimpsest, by Catherynne M. Valente (Bantam/Spectra Books)
Lesbian Romance
The Sublime and Spirited Voyage of Original Sin, by Colette Moody (Bold Strokes Books)
Gay Romance
Drama Queers!, by Frank Anthony Polito (Kensington Books)
Lesbian Poetry
Zero at the Bone, by Stacie Cassarino (New Issues Poetry & Prose)
Gay Poetry
Sweet Core Orchard, by Benjamin S. Grossberg (University of Tampa Press)
LGBT Studies
The Straight State: Sexuality and Citizenship in Twentieth Century America, by Margot Canaday (Princeton University Press)
LGBT Nonfiction
The Greeks and Greek Love, by James Davidson (Random House)
Lesbian Memoir/Biography
The Talented Miss Highsmith: The Secret Life and Serious Art of Patricia Highsmith, by Joan Schenkar (St. Martin's Press)
Gay Memoir/Biography
Ardent Spirits: Leaving Home, Coming Back, by Reynolds Price (Scribner Books)