I love history, especially LGBTQ history. For anyone who knows first hand the experience of growing up queer many will recall the feeling of being completely alone. Discovering that the queer spectrum has a history and that I am not alone was one of the most amazing feelings I’ve ever experienced. Even though, the world had yet to be perfect for the queer community it is also very important to remember how lucky we are today. Today we have online sites and organizations dedicated to remembering the queer past and open for people to view in even the most remote parts of the world. We are vocal and visible in the media and have support groups. Now imagine what it must have been like to be LGBTQ several decades ago and to have no Internet, no organizations, societies, support groups, or icons to look up to – that must have been very lonely.
The photos in this post were taken several years ago when I was working on a mix-media and photography project called “Victorian Lesbian Photography.” I went to the GLBT Historical Museum in San Francisco and researched through their photo achieve. These images were real people, but the stillness of the image reminds me of how silent they were. They remind me that for all the loneliness I felt it did not compare to the lifetime of lonely silence that many queer people in the past felt. As I looked through the pictures I felt a connection and an understanding among the different women. I’m not related to any of them, but knowing that they shared mutual feelings for the same sex makes me feel as if they are part of my chosen ancestry.
Here is to the past – For staying strong and bringing us to a brighter future.
If you live or are visiting San Francisco please visit the GLBT Historical Society.
GLBT Historical Society
657 Mission Street #300
San Francisco, CA 94105