“LGBTQ+ Activism in Oregon: Then and Now” Exhibit
Join the OSU Queer Archives in highlighting a newly acquired collection, the After 8 Records! After 8 was an organization that championed for LGBTQ+ rights in Benton County during the 1990s. The OSU Libraries and Press PROMISE Intern 2016, Cece Lantz, curated a small exhibit that features materials from the collection and showcases a number of current Oregon LGBTQ+ community organizations. Come see the display in person at the Valley Library and check out photos of the items featured through the Digital Display in Flickr
What: “LGBTQ+ Activism in Oregon: Then and Now” ~ an OSU Queer Archives Exhibit
Where: Main Floor, OSU Valley Library, Display Case to the left of the Main Entrance
Who: Display curated by Cece Lantz, OSU Libraries and Press PROMISE Intern 2016
When: July – September 2016
Also, be sure to check out our many other displays: Oregon Multicultural Archives Heritage Month Displays as well as our Display Digital Collections in Flickr
When I began looking through the After 8 collection, I was immediately astounded at the amount of impactful LGBTQ+ activism the organization completed in such a short amount of time. Additionally, I was motivated by the idea that the organization began as an act of resistance against anti-LGBTQ+ bills that were attempted to be passed by a conservative queer-phobic organization. As I continued through the collection, I found myself increasingly frustrated that I hadn’t heard of After 8 prior, being that they existed in Corvallis and also made a lot of Benton County and Oregon legislative changes as well as worked to change the visibility of LGBTQ+ folks in Corvallis. As a queer activist myself and having been very involved in queer activism on campus during my undergrad, I found it unsettling that much of their own visibility didn’t exist much in current social justice circles and/or within LGBTQ+ resources on campus. Social justice work – especially when it involves working toward liberating communities in which you belong to – is exhausting in multiple ways and far underrated and underappreciated. For that reason, I really enjoyed curating this display because they truly deserve the recognition for the work they did and the emotional, physical, and mental labor it took in the making.
To further the importance of representation, I decided to showcase other groundbreaking organizations that partake in contemporary LGBTQ+ activism in Oregon. I chose the PFLAG Portland Black Chapter, The Q Center, and Basic Rights Oregon because all three organizations not only center LGBTQ+ activism at the heart of their work, but they actively strive for intersectional liberation. That is, they acknowledge and address multiple intersections of identities and the variety of diverse lived experiences that are a result of those intersections. I thought it important to not only showcase the collection of After 8, but to also include organizations that have continued the process of LGBTQ+ activism and liberation in Oregon.
Lastly, I included a list of the names of those whose lives were taken in the 2016 Pulse Orlando Shooting – a recent massacre at a LGBTQ+ club in Orlando, FL. Many of the victims were queer and trans people of color, which highlights the importance of assessing issues of inequality and prejudice from an intersectional perspective. I added in some popular books written by LGBTQ+ activists in color to act as resources if viewers wanted to further their learning.
Moreover, the experience for me was both empowering and impactful: giving recognition to the under-appreciated activists in our community was very rewarding, and I was grateful for the opportunity to be a part of that, in addition to the historical and personal connection I was able to make to the physical collection.
~ Cece Lantz, “LGBTQ+ Activism in Oregon: Then and Now” exhibit curator and OSU Libraries and Press PROMISE Intern 2016