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Given the rising rate of transmissions and breakthrough cases of Covid-19 in Washington, DC, this event has been moved to a virtual setting.
Queer history is a living practice. Talk to any group of LGBTQ people today, and they will not agree on what story should be told. Many people desire to celebrate the past by erecting plaques and painting rainbow crosswalks, but queer and trans people in the twenty-first century need more than just symbols—they need access to power, justice for marginalized people, spaces of belonging. Approaching the past through a lens of queer and trans survival and world-building transforms history itself into a tool for imagining and realizing a better future.
Living Queer History tells the story of an LGBTQ community in Roanoke, Virginia, a small city on the edge of Appalachia. Interweaving historical analysis, theory, and memoir, Gregory Samantha Rosenthal tells the story of their own journey—coming out and transitioning as a transgender woman—in the midst of working on a community-based history project that documented a multigenerational southern LGBTQ community. Based on over forty interviews with LGBTQ elders, Living Queer History explores how queer people today think about the past and how history lives on in the present.
Gregory Samantha Rosenthal (she/her or they/them) is Associate Professor of History and Coordinator of the Public History Concentration at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia. She is the author of two books, Living Queer History: Remembrance and Belonging in a Southern City and Beyond Hawaiʻi: Native Labor in the Pacific World. They are co-founder of the Southwest Virginia LGBTQ+ History Project, a nationally recognized queer public history initiative. Her work has received recognition from the National Council on Public History, the Oral History Association, the Committee on LGBT History, the American Society for Environmental History, and the Working Class Studies Association.
Dr. Aleia M. Brown is the National Women’s History Museum’s vice president of programs and chief curator. She is a public historian, curator, and writer whose work explores the convergence of Black women’s textile art, political movements, labor, and technology. Her current manuscript-in-progress, Disrupting the Loop of Recovery: Black Women’s Engagement with Textile Art and Political Thought, 1930- 1970, unfolds the history of Black women textile artists in Alabama and Mississippi who used their work to visualize political thought, and as a source for organizing solidarity economies. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Reviews in Digital Humanities, Black Perspectives (a publication of the African American Intellectual Historical Society), The Black Scholar, Museums and Social Issues, The Public Historian, QuiltFolk, Slate Magazine, and Public Books.