The History Project: Documenting LGBTQ Boston

The History Project: Documenting LGBTQ Boston The History Project is an independent not-for-profit organization that documents, preserves, and shares the history of Boston's LGBTQ communities.
The History Project is an all-volunteer group of activists, archivists, historians, writers, and community members dedicated to preserving the history of Boston's and Massachusetts' LGBTQ communities and sharing that information with the public.
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Two choice quotes on the late Vin McCarthy:"The Pine Street Inn might be Boston’s most instantly recognizable social ser...
02/25/2020
Remembering Vin McCarthy, trailblazer and homeless advocate - The Boston Globe

Two choice quotes on the late Vin McCarthy:
"The Pine Street Inn might be Boston’s most instantly recognizable social service agency. But the building of such an institution didn’t just happen. It came through the work of people who didn’t want their names on anything, but who wanted to leave knowing they’d made a difference."

"McCarthy’s activism didn’t end there. In the early 1980s, he did something then unthinkable for a rainmaker at a big Boston law firm, when he came out as gay. He went on to become one of the founding board members of the Human Rights Campaign, the high-powered LGBT advocacy group."

Vin McCarthy was part of a group of people who worked behind the scenes to help the city's homeless, particularly through the Pine Street Inn.

QWIMB is doing a t-shirt drive!QWIMB (Queer Women in Music Boston) is an initiative of The History Project. QWIMB focuse...
02/19/2020
Click here to support History Project Inc

QWIMB is doing a t-shirt drive!

QWIMB (Queer Women in Music Boston) is an initiative of The History Project. QWIMB focuses exclusively on the contributions of queer women (lesbians, bisexuals, transgender women, non-binary, and all who identify as women) to Boston's rich music scene - individual musicians, bands, and DJs - and seeks to share an historical perspective and to keep a strong tradition going by providing a fresh outlet to current artists.

Proceeds from t-shirts support QWIMB's efforts to document, promote, and tender-loving-care-for, the history of queer women in Boston's music scene from roughly 1970-present.

https://www.customink.com/fundraising/support-queer-women-in-music-boston

'The thousands of pages of the private journals have never been transcribed and previously used by researchers intereste...
02/10/2020
The diary discovery that's rewriting gay history

'The thousands of pages of the private journals have never been transcribed and previously used by researchers interested in Tomlinson's eye-witness accounts of elections in Yorkshire and the Luddites smashing up machinery.
But O'Keeffe came across what seemed, for the era of George III, to be a rather startling set of arguments about same-sex relationships.'

A Yorkshire farmer's journal from 1810 reveals surprisingly modern views on being gay.

'Mabel began her life on the stage as a dancer and singer with an all-black female ensemble at Coney Island. There, she ...
02/08/2020
Meet the Black Lesbian Entertainer Who Lived Her BEST Queer Life — In the 1920s

'Mabel began her life on the stage as a dancer and singer with an all-black female ensemble at Coney Island. There, she met an older woman who introduced her to the word “lesbian.” Although she had fooled around with women before, this was the moment when Mabel realized there was a word for her desires, and for people like her. “I said to myself, well, if that’s what it is, I’m already in it!”'

Bow down to the OG queen, Ms. Mabel Hampton.

“Gov. Gavin Newsom pardoned Rustin for his arrest in 1953 when he was found having sex with two men in a parked car in P...
02/05/2020
California Governor Posthumously Pardons Gay Civil Rights Icon and MLK Confidant Bayard Rustin - Towleroad Gay News

“Gov. Gavin Newsom pardoned Rustin for his arrest in 1953 when he was found having sex with two men in a parked car in Pasadena. He was in town as part of a lecture tour on anti-colonial struggles in West Africa. He served 50 days in Los Angeles County jail and had to register as a sex offender before returning to his home state of New York."

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Wednesday that he is pardoning gay civil rights icon Bayard Rustin, the close friend of Martin Luther King Jr. who helped organize King’s 1963 March on Washington. The AP reports: “Gov. Gavin Newsom pardoned Rustin for his arrest in 1953 when he was ...

'A similar raid occurred on the night of January 14, 1887. The Washington Critic dutifully reported, “Six colored men, d...
02/04/2020
The First Drag Queen Was a Former Slave

'A similar raid occurred on the night of January 14, 1887. The Washington Critic dutifully reported, “Six colored men, dressed in elegant female attire, were arraigned in the dock at the Police Court this morning on a charge of being suspicious persons…. They nearly all had on low neck and short sleeve silk dresses, several of them with trains,” as well as “corsets, bustles, long hose and slippers, and everything that goes to make a female’s dress complete.”'

Who fought for queer freedom a century before Stonewall.

"Female impersonators and drag queens are perhaps more widely seen and discussed (in both academia and mainstream media)...
01/28/2020
Following in Vesta’s footsteps! How to name queerness in museums

"Female impersonators and drag queens are perhaps more widely seen and discussed (in both academia and mainstream media) but male impersonation and drag kings have just as important a place, and perhaps Vesta Tilley’s shoes gave us the opportunity to represent that in the exhibition and in the Steel City’s queer history more broadly."

Vesta Tilley is a complicated figure in respect of queerness as Museums Sheffield has uncovered.

“It is literally erasing something that was accurately captured on camera. That’s an attempt to erase a powerful message...
01/19/2020
National Archives Censors Anti-Trump Portions of Women's March Photo

“It is literally erasing something that was accurately captured on camera. That’s an attempt to erase a powerful message.”

“Doctoring a commemorative photograph buys right into the notion that it’s okay to silence women’s voice and actions,” Wendy Kline, a history professor at Purdue University said

Hmm...  "Most historians taken seriously are always straight. They wouldn’t know a gay person if they took him to lunch....
01/18/2020
Larry Kramer Wishes More People Wrote About Gay History

Hmm... "Most historians taken seriously are always straight. They wouldn’t know a gay person if they took him to lunch. A good example is Ron Chernow’s biography of Hamilton, which doesn’t include the fact that he was both gay and in love with George Washington. Gore Vidal pointed this out to me."

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/16/books/review/larry-kramer-by-the-book-interview.html

“Most historians taken seriously are always straight. They wouldn’t know a gay person if they took him to lunch.”

Metropolitan Bar Guide from 'Where It’s At Magazine,' March 6, 1978.
01/17/2020
BLAST FROM THE PAST: NYC Gay Bar Guide 1978

Metropolitan Bar Guide from 'Where It’s At Magazine,' March 6, 1978.

Metropolitan Bar Guide from Where It's At Magazine March 6, 1978. This is just the first page of many. Those were the days my friends.

“This is farce, not Sunday school,” Ludlam wrote in his Ridiculous manifesto, “Ridiculous Theater, Scourge of Human Foll...
01/12/2020
How Theater of the Ridiculous Changed Drama, Performance, and Queer Visibility Forever

“This is farce, not Sunday school,” Ludlam wrote in his Ridiculous manifesto, “Ridiculous Theater, Scourge of Human Folly.” “Illustrate hedonistic calculus. Test out a dangerous idea, a theme that threatens to destroy one's whole value system. Treat the material in a madly farcical manner without losing the seriousness of the theme. Show how paradoxes arrest the mind. Scare yourself a bit along the way.”

If you love drag, drama, camp, and glitter (so, so much glitter), you'll love this ridiculous genre of theater.

"[John Addington Symonds's] writing, scholars have argued, even influenced Oscar Wilde, who, after exchanging letters wi...
01/04/2020
Researchers Recover an Early Copy of a 19th-Century Gay Rights Essay

"[John Addington Symonds's] writing, scholars have argued, even influenced Oscar Wilde, who, after exchanging letters with Symonds, went on to argue against the criminality of sodomy “because homosexuality has been a noble pursuit since antiquity....” Butler says, “The book is a relic from the front lines of some of the first battles over gay rights. It has a kind of sacred character to it.”

This once-lost copy of "A Problem in Greek Ethics" is only the sixth of its kind

'When legislators debated the bill in 1977, Locke lamented that it could force him to hire “someone like Klinger in the ...
12/26/2019
Thirty years ago, gay civil rights campaign set the stage for all that followed - The Boston Globe

'When legislators debated the bill in 1977, Locke lamented that it could force him to hire “someone like Klinger in the ‘MASH’ series,” the Boston Herald reported.'

Thirty years after the 1989 adoption of gay civil rights in Massachusetts, the Globe asked key players in the campaign to revisit that historic moment — whose significance has been obscured by the epochal changes that followed.

We were saddened to hear about the passing of photographer and historian Ellen Shub this week. Ellen was a dedicated and...
12/19/2019
historyproject.org

We were saddened to hear about the passing of photographer and historian Ellen Shub this week. Ellen was a dedicated and prolific documentarian of the LGBTQ community since the early 1970s, and she will be missed.

Photo: Ellen's photo of a 1979 march held as a memorial to eleven women of color murdered in the Boston area. A coalition which included the Combahee River Collective, a Boston black feminist group, staged marches, held rallies, and organized to bring attention to the indifference of police and the media to violence against women of color.

Why support The History Project? Co-founder Libby Bouvier says, "I wish you could be here when a student group visits. I...
12/13/2019

Why support The History Project? Co-founder Libby Bouvier says, "I wish you could be here when a student group visits. It’s often the LGBTQ student who speaks up, leading the discussion. You see that student sitting taller, speaking a little louder than usual, taking pride in their history, and knowing they are connected to a brave, beautiful story. The other students look at them in a new way. Those are the moments you help to create when you support our work."

http://www.historyproject.org/news/2019-12/heres-another-40-years-your-help

“I don’t think that things are better generally,” he said. “We have people running this government who hate us, and have...
12/13/2019
Twilight of a Difficult Man: Larry Kramer and the Birth of AIDS Activism

“I don’t think that things are better generally,” he said. “We have people running this government who hate us, and have said they hate us. The fight’s never over.” In his quiet way, Larry Kramer is still yelling.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/19/nyregion/larry-kramer-and-the-birth-of-aids-activism.html

Larry Kramer — writer, advocate, “loudmouth” — helped define AIDS activism and gay life. He ruffled some feathers along the way.

"Tim wasn't just behind the scenes. He was a charmer, and a forceful speaker who knew how to be in front of the lens. He...
12/12/2019
One Year After the Loss of Tim McCarthy, Gay Video Historian and HIV Activist | TheBody

"Tim wasn't just behind the scenes. He was a charmer, and a forceful speaker who knew how to be in front of the lens. He spoke emphatically, looking right at the viewer, in the ways we learned to do in ACT UP.

"And what he often emphasized is that he wanted you to live your best life as a person living with HIV or as a queer person."

Friends and family have established a human rights award in his name and are looking for an accessible and accountable home for the huge body of his work and collections.

Wow, two for one: Joey Arias AND Klaus Nomi!"Also included in the archives, a documentation of his legendary friendship ...
12/05/2019
Harvard Acquires Drag Icon Joey Arias’ Archive

Wow, two for one: Joey Arias AND Klaus Nomi!

"Also included in the archives, a documentation of his legendary friendship with underground icon Klaus Nomi.

""Among dozens of friends and collaborators in the 1970s and ’80s, Arias was closest with the German opera singer and performance artist Klaus Nomi. Nomi, an experimental performer who often combined vocal synthesizers with opera, was Arias’ best friend and roommate. He died in 1983 of complications from AIDS, and Arias became the executor of his estate.

Nomi’s archives, including audio recordings of the singer and his “treasured” record collection, were given to the Theatre Collection along with Arias’ own archive. Preserving and promoting Nomi’s legacy is one of the things Arias feels most passionate about when it comes to sharing his archive with Harvard."

"In this film, we have Mapplethorpe in his own words, not the rose-tinted memories that Smith gave us in Just Kids. He i...
12/02/2019
A generation of artists were wiped out by Aids and we barely talk about it

"In this film, we have Mapplethorpe in his own words, not the rose-tinted memories that Smith gave us in Just Kids. He is openly a man of sociopathic ambition who wants sex, fame and money, and would use anyone to get them. That countercultural drive echoed what was going on in the 1980s so much that it would become indistinguishable from mainstream culture. When people talk about the end of the New York scene, that’s what they mean."

A new film about the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe is a shocking and brilliant reminder of the devastation HIV and Aids wreaked – and still does

David Pais... describes the role his faith played helping him cope with his own diagnosis—and his struggle as he walked ...
12/01/2019
Surviving the AIDS crisis as a gay Catholic

David Pais... describes the role his faith played helping him cope with his own diagnosis—and his struggle as he walked away from the church in anger.

“I distinctly stepped away—bolted might be a better term,” David told Mike on “Plague.”

“I can't spend all my time and energy, angry and fighting the church, when I have to use it for survival.”

In “Plague,” Michael O'Loughlin investigates untold stories of AIDS and the Catholic Church.

"Cruse moved to New York in the 1970s, where he hit his creative stride.... Using some of the underground comics’ bounda...
11/27/2019
Groundbreaking Cartoonist Howard Cruse, 75, has Died

"Cruse moved to New York in the 1970s, where he hit his creative stride.... Using some of the underground comics’ boundary breaking content as an inspiration, but not as a thematic guidepost, Cruse created work that was sexually forthright, and yet filled with humanity, humor, and insight."

Cruse created work that was filled with humanity, humor, and insight #Gay #cartoonist #comics

"An archive of some 200,000 letters, photographs, biographical records and tributes associated with the quilt will be ho...
11/22/2019
AIDS Memorial Quilt Is Returning Home To San Francisco

"An archive of some 200,000 letters, photographs, biographical records and tributes associated with the quilt will be housed in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress where they will eventually be made available to researchers and the public."

Interesting that the quilt returns to San Francisco, while the letters, bios and other records will remain at the LOC...

The quilt was the brainchild of AIDS activists in the late 1980's who wanted to use names to memorialize the lives of people who had died of the disease.

'"The thing that drew me to Forster most specifically, I think, looking back on it, was I was picking up on what I would...
11/17/2019
Ghosts Haunt 'The Inheritance,' From E.M. Forster, To The Generation Lost To AIDS

'"The thing that drew me to Forster most specifically, I think, looking back on it, was I was picking up on what I would call 'the vibrations,' " says Lopez. "And 'the vibrations' were a closeted gay man in the early 20th century, at that time, speaking to a closeted gay boy at the end of the 20th century."'

The next big thing on Broadway might live up to the hype. The Inheritance takes E.M. Forster's Howards End into modern day Manhattan — the seven-hour play has been compared to Angels In America.

On October 3, 2019, The History Project celebrated the work of Denise Simmons, the 2019 HistoryMaker Award recipient, an...
11/12/2019

On October 3, 2019, The History Project celebrated the work of Denise Simmons, the 2019 HistoryMaker Award recipient, and Lavender Rhino Award recipients Rev. Mary Martha Thiel and Rabbi Sara Paasche-Orlow from Hebrew SeniorLife's LGBTQ Seniors Initiative.

On October 3, 2019, The History Project celebrated the work of Denise Simmons, the 2019 HistoryMaker Award recipient, and Lavender Rhino Award recipients Rev. Mary Martha Thiel and Rabbi Sara Paasche-Orlow from Hebrew SeniorLife's LGBTQ Seniors Initiative.

Saying goodbye to another LGBT space in Boston...
11/11/2019

Saying goodbye to another LGBT space in Boston...

GOODBYE "MACHINE" -
After nearly 25 years of laughter, tears and everything in between Machine is set to close its doors soon and make way for yet MORE condos in the Fenway. It's sad but it's a fact. And so the Gold Dust Orphans have had no choice but to move on to their brand new theater at the Lithuanian Club in South Boston. It is an absolutely TERRIFIC space and we are THRILLED to have been asked to set up shop there.
THIS post however is all about MACHINE and should serve as a GREAT BIG THANK YOU to owner Henry Vara, Managers Sean Caron and Matt Conn, bartenders Rob Botelho and Rob Donahue, Sterling Queen, Reggie, Karen, Ritchie, Danny, Patty and all the rest. It is SO hard to leave you but at least we can say that we have had MANY laughs, a few fights and loads of adventures together! Much love to you all and thank you for all the help and support you have given us over the years. You are honorary Orphans for life. ### Ryan

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Comments

Every hard fought battle should be documented. Many lessons are learned from the wins and even the losses that lead to every step forward. My days immersed in the gay culture of Boston hold some of the most treasured memories of my life.
Consider joining this Youth Participatory Action Study where you can learn how to research, analyze, and build resume skills all at once! Contact Sam Hoyo at [email protected]. If you are not interested, pass this information along to someone who may be. =)
Does anyone know of - or have access to - primary and secondary resources related to suffragists in Boston marriages who were other than white? Thank you!
Wow. I can't believe I worked on the beginnings of this project in 1979, forty years ago this year and that I'm still working on LGBTQ history here in Philadelphia. I'm glad we're both going strong! (I'm on the far left in this photo from 1980).
Thank you for offering such a meaningful and informative tour to MIT students last night!
Anyone remember Brian Duffy? I am working on a project about the tragic fire at the Everard Baths in NYC in 1977. Brian Duffy was one of the victims and according to some newspaper sources, Duffy lived in NY in the early 70s, and then moved back to Boston in the mid 70s with his boyfriend. Brian worked as a waiter in a number of gay establishments in Boston. Would be so grateful for any information. Thanks!
I thought this might be of interest. If anyone is visiting the Pioneer Valley this weekend...