From the News column of the May 2009 issue of Perspectives on History

Five Prizes Offered for Online Exhibits on LGBTQ History

AHA Staff, May 2009

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, OutHistory.org, a web site produced by the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS) at the City University of New York Graduate Center, will award five substantial prizes for the best online exhibits about the local LGBTQ histories of particular villages, towns, cities, and counties in the United States since June 1969. The top five exhibits will receive awards from $5,000 to $1,000. The contest is supported by a grant from the Arcus Foundation to CLAGS.

OutHistory.org aims to put reliable information about LGBTQ history online, and to enlist the community in the effort. The web site encourages anyone with documents, data, and citations to contribute to it. “OutHistory.org is an unprecedented experiment in recording the history of the LGBTQ community, by the community” says the site’s founder and director, the historian Jonathan Ned Katz. Along with community-created content, the site publishes entries by major scholars in the field of sexual and gender history.

OutHistory.org hopes to receive at least one submission for the competition from every U.S. state. Drafts of local history exhibits must be posted on OutHistory.org by June 28, 2009. Creators will be able to develop their sites over the next year, and winners will be announced in June 2010. Guidelines and other details about the “Since Stonewall” competition are available at www.outhistory.org/wiki/Since_Stonewall_Contest. OutHistory.org will offer some technical and scholarly assistance to participating individuals and groups as they work to recover and present their local LGBTQ histories. OutHistory.org will also convene a panel to judge the best local LGBTQ histories.

“There are histories of gay life in NYC, LA and San Francisco, but there is a lack of public knowledge about LGBTQ histories outside of major metropolitan areas,” said Lauren Gutterman, the coordinator of OutHistory.org. “We think this local LGBTQ history contest will begin to correct that omission,” she added. Katz and Gutterman believe that the new local histories produced will demonstrate the huge, positive effects of organized LGBTQ political action since June 1969 and highlight the work still to be done. According to CLAGS executive director Sarah Chinn, “In the wake of Proposition 8, we need to remind Americans that gays and lesbians have a long history of actively resisting discrimination.” www.outhistory.org/wiki/Since_Stonewall_Contest

—Based on a communication from OutHistory.org.