Who is writing our history today? Information overload is real, and it’s important to know where our information about our community comes from. From individual historians to collective organizations working together, LGBTQ+ communities across the world are making sure that their perspectives find a place in the history books. Sprinkle some queer history in your feeds by following any of these history buffs.
Documenting the personal experiences of 187 members of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, this oral history archive is a living testimony to the most dangerous epidemic experienced by the queer community in the 20th century. The project is led by filmmaker Jim Hubbard and writer and historian Sarah Schulman. You can listen to snippets of the interviews on the organization’s Instagram page.
Dr. Eric Cervini, author of the bestselling The Deviant’s War: The Homosexual Vs. The United States of America, is making queer history a part of daily life. The Book of Queer, a five-part video series launched in 2022, traces the legacy of queerness in world history. For a daily dose, you can follow Cervini on Instagram, where he regularly doles out queer history trivia. Also the co-founder of ShopQueer.co and the fabulous Rainbow Book Bus, Cervini launched the Queer History 101 subscription, where you can get one queer history book delivered to you per month.
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It’s still a party if you’re reading about it! Drag King History documents the lived experiences of drag performers by any name, from historic male impersonators to modern-day kings. A quick scroll through their Instagram will introduce you to fashion icons whose names you might recognize (Janelle Monae and Kim Petras) and others whose creative expression paved the way for gender-questioning in the form of art (Mo B. Dick and Dred).
@homohistoric is your go-to account for all things transgender and gender-non-conforming. A public archive collecting all kinds of media, this account highlights documentaries, books, photos, zines, and other notable tidbits of trans history in a common digital space. Free access is especially important to this archive – their homepage shows you where to find publicly accessible materials. New materials will arrive on your timeline as posts, but you can always scroll back through the highlights to find source materials.
Both historically and presently engaged, the Invisible Histories Project documents queer and trans life in the southeastern United States. As a nonprofit organization, they serve as an intermediary between universities, libraries, archives, and other institutions to preserve a variety of historical and documentary materials. Equipped with a home archiving guide, this initiative is a great starting point to learn about, or record your own, queer history in the region, or connect with others in the community. The Instagram page is a host of historical photographs and documents, current event notices, and, naturally, plenty of queer memes.
“Ephemera” is library-speak for time-specific collectibles. Newspaper articles, personal ads, flyers, posters, all provide a snapshot of culture in a moment in time, and @lesbian.ephemera delivers many of them. Black-and-white photographs, hand-drawn posters, event notices, and more document the larger sapphic community throughout the past century on their feed. Most importantly, many are just for fun – this one in particular gave me a good laugh!
Speaking of lesbians, the Lesbian Herstory Archives, based in Brooklyn, NY, has a robust Instagram presence curated especially for the sapphics. From brochures (“Have You Ever Been Called A Lesbian?”) to items of clothing, posters, and other ephemera, the Archives proudly shares their collection virtually through photo and video. In addition, folks can learn how to visit, volunteer, and support the archive, while watching clips of the Archives’ live events.
Introducing itself with a retro “Gay Is Good” pin as its avatar, LGBT History (@lgbt_history) is a queer history account run by Matthew Riemer and Leighton Brown. Sharing daily videos and photographs documenting queer history, namely the struggle for queer liberation in the United States, Riemer and Brown are committed to circulating historical resources regularly through modern technology. In 2019, the duo published We Are Everywhere, a photographic history of queer liberation that perfectly encapsulates their efforts.
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Even if you didn’t major in history, Rainbow History Class will spark a love of learning history through a queer lens. Started by Hannah McElhinney and Rudy Rigg to create an “entertaining and fun space” for LGBTQ+ folks and allies to learn about queer and trans history, the faculty has expanded to many teachers of all genders, sexualities, and subject expertise. They’re on tour across Australia now, but in the meantime, you can check out their book. Follow them on Instagram for video snippets – it counts as a class!
Make sure that the algorithm knows it’s queer history month – be sure to give a boost to your lesser-known queer ancestors or contemporaries in the process! Maybe you’ll be so inspired as to write, record, or otherwise express your own story.