What are the politics of accounting for and sharing LGBTQ history in the United States with broader publics? The US National Park Service released LGBTQ America: A Theme Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer History in 2016, designed to serve as a foundation for identifying, evaluating, and preserving LGBTQ history and historic sites across the country. In a roundtable conversation in 2018, six authors of the theme study from various fields and training backgrounds reflect on the production, meaning, and future of these thirty-two chapters and the drastically different national political landscape from the one in which the study was written.
“Start Here. We Exist”: A Roundtable Discussion of the US LGBTQ Heritage Theme Study
Jen Jack Gieseking is assistant professor of geography at the University of Kentucky, where they teach courses on digital studies and queer geographies. They are finishing their second book, “A Queer New York: Geographies of Lesbians, Dykes, and Queers, 1983–2008,” which is under contract with NYU Press. You can find them at jgieseking.org and @jgieseking.
J. Jeffery Auer IV is a public historian and founder of the Nevada LGBT Archives. He is an instructor in history and the humanities at Truckee Meadows Community College and the University of Nevada, Reno.
Katie Batza is assistant professor of women, gender, and sexuality studies at the University of Kansas. Her research explores the intersection of sexuality, health, and politics in the final decades of the twentieth-century United States. Having completed her first book, Before AIDS: Gay Health Politics in the 1970s (2018), she is currently working on a number of public history projects as well as a second monograph titled “AIDS in the Heartland.”
Julio Capó Jr. is associate professor of history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Capó researches inter-American histories, with a focus on queer, Latinx, race, immigration, and empire studies. His book, Welcome to Fairyland: Queer Miami before 1940 (2017), has received six honors, including the Charles S. Sydnor award from the Southern Historical Association for the best book written on the US South. His work has appeared in the Journal of American History, Radical History Review, Diplomatic History, Journal of American Ethnic History, and Modern American History. A former journalist, he has also written for Time, the Washington Post, the Miami Herald, and other outlets.
Megan Springate edited LGBTQ America: A Theme Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer History. An historical archaeologist by training, she works for the National Park Service and is a postdoctoral associate at the University of Maryland.
Shayne Watson is an award-winning architectural historian based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She began specializing in LGBTQ heritage preservation with the completion of her graduate thesis at the University of Southern California in 2009, which developed a preservation plan for San Francisco’s post-Prohibition lesbian community in North Beach. Shayne is the founding chair of the GLBT Historical Society’s Historic Places Working Group and cochair of the Arts, Culture, and Heritage Committee for the City of San Francisco’s Citywide LGBTQ Cultural Heritage Strategy. She lives in Mill Valley, CA, with her wife, two cats, and a puppy.
Jen Jack Gieseking, Katie Batza, J. Jeffery Auer, Julio Capó, Megan E. Springate, Shayne Watson; “Start Here. We Exist”: A Roundtable Discussion of the US LGBTQ Heritage Theme Study. GLQ 1 June 2019; 25 (3): 379–401. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10642684-7551097
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