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Contributor Guidelines

All contributors to OutHistory.org aspire to a high standard of reliability as to factual claims. And, as often as possible, contributors provide complete source citations. Contributors also honor the variety of different and sometimes opposed interpretations of data.

  1. Contributors to this project, support the development of this ambitious, freely accessible, educational website on lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual, and queer (LGTBQ) history.

  2. Contributors agree that here, time is of the essence. The basic aim of this site is to provide a specifically temporal, historical perspective on the LGTBQ experience. Therefore, contributors to the site and its producers strive to develop creative, innovative ways of representing history and time, change and stasis in the social life and environments of LGBTQ people -- the “who, where, what, how,” and especially the “when” of their history. To realize this focus on time and history, contributors appreciate that content additions should include dates and time references that will allow users to search for time-coded content and create timelines on specific topics.

  3. Contributors understand this site to be institutionally based and organized as a not-for-profit educational project intended to operate as a long-term community service. As such, the site will expand and change over time as research, evidence, interpretations and the interests of scholars, contributors, and users change, history moves on, and the present becomes the past.

  4. Contributors appreciate that present concerns inform research on the past, and that this site can provide illuminating historical perspectives on subjects of current topical interest. Documenting and analyzing the past can help us all better understand the present.

  5. Contributors will strive to place the history of LGTBQ people and their society within the larger histories of sexuality and intimacy, sex and gender, the polity and economy.

  6. Contributors will try to situate the history of LGTBQ people in the context of distinctions in age, bodily and mental differences, class, ethnicity, geography, ideology, power, race, religion, and other historically and socially influential divisions.

  7. Contributors will attempt to understand the history of homosexuals and homosexuality in relation to the history of heterosexuals and heterosexuality, and vice versa.

  8. Contributors appreciate that this site will serve an unmet need for a major, web-based repository of reliable knowledge and diverse interpretations of the LGTBQ past, supplementing, enhancing, and positively collaborating with other current and future efforts to put LGTBQ history on the web.

  9. Because volunteer contributors to this site can play a major role in providing it with user-created content, the administrators and producers of the site will do everything they can to encourage such participation. The site’s administrators and producers will provide web-based forms and a framework to encourage submissions by teachers and students, institutionally affiliated and independent scholars, and members of the interested public. The administrators will also solicit content of various kinds.

  10. Contributors will strive to achieve and maintain the highest possible standards of historical accuracy, whenever possible backing up factual statements by full, detailed citations of sources and the presentation of evidence. They will clearly distinguish factual claims from interpretive analysis and moral judgments, and present disputed facts, interpretations, and judgments as such.

  11. Contributors to this site understand this project to be a collaborative effort to which many people will contribute work of different kinds: administrative, analytical, copy editing, editorial, financial planning and fundraising, interpretation of evidence, research, secretarial help, site critiques, technical assistance, theoretical analysis, writing, etc.

  12. Contributors realize that, as a collaborative effort, this site will reflect and express the interests of its diverse contributors and users, aiming at audiences of many kinds, based on distinctions in age, class, ethnicity, geography, race, etc.

  13. Contributors understand that this site will attempt to highlight traditionally understudied areas of LGTBQ history (that of African Americans, Native Americans, youths, elders, and transgender people, for example).

  14. Contributors to this site will strive to present written texts in language clear, lively, and engaging, and visual and aural content of kinds appealing to a wide range of diverse users.

  15. The site will publish content of a wide variety of types: documentary evidence, original texts, republished articles and books and parts thereof, materials about individual lives and group experiences, oral histories, bibliographic sources, static photographs, motion pictures, videos, fine art and popular culture representations, etc.

  16. The publication of original documents not elsewhere or readily available may turn out to be one of the most valuable services that OutHistory.org can provide. Contributors to this site will thus make a special effort to provide it with copies of such difficult to find court records, diaries, letters, rare printed accounts, ephemera, photographs, movies, TV, audio recordings, etc. Such documents will be most valuable to the site if provided in photographic and/or electronically searchable formats.

  17. Contributors to this site agree that, in order to maintain its credibility, interest, and variety, its editorial directors and administrators may sometimes need to correct factual inaccuracies, as well as edit, shorten, expand, or eliminate factual and interpretive statements.