Past generations of queer people faced a number of obstacles to leaving a record of their lives. They often had to hide their queerness, and their stories were often told by the very same people who wanted to eradicate them, from doctors who published studies of homosexuality in medical journals to police officers who left behind arrest records. Now that we have the luxury of creating our own archive, what do we want to leave behind? Transcripts of our flirtatious texts? Photos of our favorite outfits? Diaries? A record of the ongoing efforts to restrict our rights?
In the workshop, you will look at several different kinds of archives, from Herman Melville’s collection of quotes about whales in the opening pages of Moby-Dick to the Finding Aid for the Mike Riegel Papers at the History Project in Boston, and piece together our own collections—whether it’s a box full of mementos, a Canva collage of photos, or a Google Doc filled with favorite quotes from your diary—to tell a story about what it means to be queer in the 21st century. We’ll also talk about how record keeping and archive making can become a regular practice in your life.