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About OutHistory.org

by Jonathan Ned Katz, Director, and Lynley Wheaton, Coordinator

OutHistory.org is a website about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history. We stress, this is a site about the actions of people within society and history. It’s about time!

The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies, at the City University of New York, is producing this site, under the guidance of its Director, Sarah E. Chinn. The site’s development is funded for two years by the Arcus Foundation, and we are seeking other sources of financial support to make sure this site continues into the future.

This first prototype of the OutHistory.org focuses on eight aspects of LGBTQ history in the United States but the future possibilities of this site are as wide as the world, and as open as all of us can collectively imagine.

This educational site is freely accessible, and we hope the history presented will engage a wide variety of users. Its contributors 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.

Inspired by Wikipedia, OutHistory.org also encourages its users to discuss the site and each article. And, as an experiment in history by the people, we encourage users to provide the site with documents, articles, photos, administrative aid, and any kind of assistance they can. You can help make history. With your participation this site will grow, develop, and be institutionally supported over the long-run.

Contributors' Guidlines

  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 an 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 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, question, edit, shorten, expand, or eliminate factual and interpretive statements. Adjudication of any ongoing disputes will be provided for as it is on Wikipedia.

Board of Advisors

Julie Abraham is a professor at Sarah Lawrence College. She earned her B.A. from the University of Adelaide and her M.A., M. Phil., and Ph.D. from Columbia University. Her academic interests include lesbian/gay/queer studies, twentieth-century British and American literature, contemporary feminisms, and literatures of the city. She is the author of Are Girls Necessary?: Lesbian Writing and Modern Histories and numerous essays; the editor of Diana: A Strange Biography; and is a contributor to The Nation and The Women’s Review of Books.

Amy Beth is the director of Library services for the School of International Training in Brattleboro, VT. She is a also an active member of the Lesbian Herstory Archives in Brooklyn and a contributor to The Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History in America (2003).

Sarah E. Chinn is the Executive Director for CLAGS and an Associate Professor in the English Department at Hunter College. She is the author of Technology and the Logic of American Racism: A Cultural History of the Body as Evidence (2000), and New Americans, New Identities: The Children of Immigrants and the Invention of Modern Adolescence, 1885-1930 (forthcoming, Rutgers University Press). She has also published numerous articles in American Studies, Queer Studies, and Disability Studies, including "Feeling Her Way: Audre Lorde and the Power of Touch," and "'Something Primitive and Age-Old as Nature Herself': Lesbian Sexuality and the Permission of the Exotic."

John D’Emilio is a professor of history and of women's and gender studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He served as the Founding Director of the Policy Institute at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. He is the author of several publications, including Lost Prophet: Bayard Rustin and the Quest for Peace and Justice in America (2003), which won the Stonewall Book Award for non-fiction in 2004; The World Turned: Essays on Gay History, Politics, and Culture (2002); Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America (1988), co-authored with Estelle Freedman; and Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities (1983).

Martin Duberman is Distinguished Professor of History at Lehman College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and the founder and first Director (1986-96) of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies. One of the country's foremost historians, he is the author of 19 books and numerous articles and essays including Hidden from History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past (1991), an anthology he co-edited with Martha Vicinus and George Chauncey; Stonewall (1994?); and Paul Robeson (1998).

Lisa Duggan is a Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis and the Director of the American Studies Program at NYU. She holds a Ph.D from the University of Penn, a M.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and a B.A. from the University of Virginia. She is the co-author, with Nan D. Hunter, of Sex Wars: Essays on Sexual Dissent and American Politics (1995); author of Sapphic Slashers: Sex, Violence, and American Modernity (2000); and co-editor, with Lauren Berlant, of Our Monica, Ourselves: The Clinton Affair and the National Interest (2001).

Steven G. Fullwood is an accredited librarian and writer who currently works at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library in New York City. He founded the Black Gay and Lesbian Archive Project in 2000 to aid in the preservation of black LGBT/SGL/Q/Q/inthelife history. As a writer Mr. Fullwood's works have appeared in a variety of print and online publications including Africana.com, Mosaec.com, XXL, FHM, Blacklight Online, Blackstripe and ARISE Magazine. He was also a founding member of ONE Step Further, a sexual education and advocacy company that serviced black and Latino men who are intimately and sexually involved with other men.

Marcia M. Gallo is a lesbian social justice activist who teaches the history of sexuality and American history at Lehman College in Bronx, New York. She is the author of Different Daughters: A History of the Daughters of Bilitis and the Rise of the Lesbian Rights Movement (2006). She is affiliated with the Coordinating Council on Women in History of the American Historical Association and the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center.

Paula Grant is an active member of the Lesbian Herstory Archives in Brooklyn.

Jonathan Ned Katz is the initiator and Director of OutHistory.org. He is an independent scholar and writer on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and heterosexual American history. Katz’s works include Love Stories: Sex Between Men Before Homosexuality (2001), The Invention of Heterosexuality (1995), Gay/Lesbian Almanac: A New Documentary (1993), and Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A. (1976), as well as other books, articles, reviews, and plays.

Mimi McGurl holds a MFA from the University of California, Irvine and a Ph.D. from Stanford University. Her dissertation "S/he's Her Own Man" examines women playing men's parts on the theatrical stage. She has taught at New York University, Mills College, and the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. Her essays have been published in Theater (Yale UP) and in Opposite Sex (NYU Press). In addition to her academic work, McGurl has directed numerous plays including Possible Worlds (OOBR Award), Hedda Gabler, Miss Lulu Bett, FTM, and Tea and Sympathy.

Tey Meadow holds a B.A. in Psychology and Women’s Studies from Barnard College and a JD from Fordham Law School. Meadow is currently completeing a dissertation entitled “Rainbow Nation: Democracy and the Consolidation of an LGBT Political Community in South Africa, 1976-2006,” to complete a Sociology Ph.D. at New York University.

Leisa Meyer is an Associate Professor of History and American Studies at the College of William & Mary. She is the author of Creating G.I. Jane: Sexuality and Power in the Women's Army Corps During World War II (1996) and is currently working on Knowing Sex: A History of Sexuality in America Since World War II. She is also an associate editor for the Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History and Culture (2003).

Joanne Meyerowitz is a noted professor of history and is the author of How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States (2002) and the editor of History and September 11th (2003) and Not June Cleaver (1994).

Kevin P. Murphy is a history professor at the University of Minnesota and Holds a Ph.D. in U.S. History from New York University. His publications include include "Socrates in the Slums: Homoerotics, Gender, and Settlement House Reform" in Laura McCall and Donald Yacovone, eds., A Shared Experience: Men, Women and Gender in U.S. History (New York University Press, 1998) and "Walking the Queer City," Radical History Review 62 (Spring 1995). Murphy is currently working on a book entitled, The Manly World of Urban Reform: Political Manhood and the New Politics of Progressivism in New York City, 1877-1916.

Joan Nestle is one of the co-founders of Lesbian Herstory Archives now located in Brooklyn, New York and the recipient of numerous Lambda Literary Awards. Activist and scholar, Nestle is the author of A Restricted Country (1987) and A Fragile Union (1998) and is the editor for numerous works including The Persistent Desire: A Femme-Butch Reader (1992), Sister and Brother: Lesbians and Gay Men Write about Their Lives Together (1994) with John Preston, and GENDERqUEER: Voices from beyond the Binary (2002) with Riki Wilchins and Clare Howell.

Esther Newton is Professor Emerita of Anthroplogy at Purchase College. A pioneer in lesbian and Gay Studies, Newtons works include Mother Camp: Female Impersonators in America (1972); Cherry Grove, Fire Island: Sixty Years in America's First Gay and Lesbian Town (1993); Margaret Mead Made Me Gay: Personal Essay, Public Ideas (2000)

Tavia Nyong’o is an Assistant Professor in Performance Studies at New York University. A cultural historian focused on racial formation in the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries, He has lectured extensively in the U.S. and abroad, and has published reviews and essays in Social Text, Theatre Journal, GLQ, TDR, and Women and Performance. His book, The Amalgamation Waltz: Antebellum Genealogies of the Hybrid Future is forthcoming.

Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy is a professor of Women's Studies at the University of Arizona with an adjunct appointment in anthropology and history and holds a Ph.D. in Social Anthroplogy from Cambridge University. She co-authored the award winning book Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold: The History of a Lesbian Community (1993) with Madeline Davis. She also co-edited Feminist Scholarship: Kindling in the Groves of Academe (1983) with Ellen DuBois et al. and Women's Studies for the Future: Foundations, Interrogations, Politics (2005) with Agatha Beins. She is currently working on a book entitled One Woman, Two Lives: Gender, Class and Sexuality in 20th Century America.

Karen Krahulik is the Associate Dean of the College for Upperclass Studies at Brown University. She holds a B.A. in religion from Princeton University and a M.A. and Ph.D. in History from New York University. She has held academic appointments at Harvard, NYU, and Duke University and in 1996 she founded the Provincetown Oral History Project. Krahulik has published articles and book reviews in The Journal of American History; Peace and Change: A Journal of Peace Research; The Journal of Homosexuality; and The Committee on Gay and Lesbian History Book Review and she is the author of Provincetown: From Pilgrim Landing to Gay Resort (2005).

Horacia N. Roque Ramirez completed his Ph.D. in Comparative Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley in 2001 and is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is has contributed articles to the Journal of the History of Sexuality, the Oral History Review, CORPUS: An HIV Prevention Publication, and is co-author of Archive Stories: Evidence, Experience, and History (2005).

Marc Stein is an associate professor of history at York University in Toronto and the director of York's Sexuality Studies Program. He is the author of City of Sisterly and Brotherly Loves: Lesbian and Gay Philadelphia, 1945-1972 (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2000) and the editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History in America (2003). He is the former editor of Gay Community News in Boston and the former chair of the Committee on Lesbian and Gay History, an affiliated society of the American Historical Association. He is completing a book entitled The U.S. Supreme Court's Sexual Revolution? 1965-1973.

Saskia Scheffer, photographer and information professional, is the Head of the Digital Imaging Unit at New York Public Library and is an active member of the Lesbian Herstory Archives in Brooklyn

Polly Thistlethwaite is an Associate Professor and Associate Librarian for Public Services at the CUNY Graduate Center. She has worked extensively with the Lesbian Herstory Archives, and she was recently awarded a PSC/CUNY Research Grant to study GLBT public history in Berlin.

Sharon Ullman is an Associate Professor and Chair of the of History Department at Bryn Mawr College who specializes in 20th-century America with an emphasis on popular culture and gender. She is the author of Sex Seen: The Emergence of Modern Sexuality in America (1997) and co-edited Sexual Borderlands: Constructing an American Sexual Past (2003) with Kathleen Kennedy

Leila J. Rupp is Professor of Women's Studies and Associate Dean of Social Sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her books include A Desired Past: A Short History of Same-Sex Love in America (1999) and, with Verta Taylor, Drag Queens at the 801 Cabaret (2003). She is currently writing a book entitled Sapphistries: A Global History of Love Between Women.

C. Todd White holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Southern California and is the staff anthropologist at the University of Rochester. He is the secretary/treasurer for the Tangent Group, the Homosexual Information Center and co-edited Before Stonewall: Activists for Gay and Lesbian Rights in Historical Context (2003).

Walter L. Williams is professor of anthropology, history, and gender studies at the University of Southern California where he teaches classes on American Indian Studies, on Prejudice, on Transgender Studies, and on Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual-Transgender Studies. He is the author of numerous works including The Spirit and the Flesh: Sexual Diversity in American Indian Culture (1986), and is co-author of Homophile Studies in Theory and Practice (1994) and Two Spirits: A Story of Life with the Navajo (2005). Williams is also the founding editor of the International Gay & Lesbian Review and the longtime director of the ONE Institute Center for Advanced Studies.

Administrators, Contributors, Staff



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