Have you ever watched a tv show that chronicled the oral history of the person being interviewed? Typically the history starts from childhood, making it's way into teen years, to young adulthood, etc, highlighting key points in the person's life. Many examples of these can be found on tv stations such as E! News, local or national news stations covering personal stories, and many more. For the Western slope of Colorado, we've been provided an opportunity to begin chronicling the oral stories and voices of our LGBTQ community.
The Colorado LGBT History Project was founded in 2014 as a way to preserve, protect, and teach the history of LGBT people in Colorado. With the assistance of the GLBT Colorado Center in Denver, and one of the coordinators of the history project, David Duffield, from 2014-2017 a total of 65 oral histories have been gathered to begin this archiving process. The hope is to continue the documentation of these efforts with a more focused interest on the western slope. Over the course of the project a partnership with the Denver Public Library Western History Department and the History of Colorado was formed in an attempt to preserve many of the documents and personal items provided by the narrators as the oral histories grew in collection.
So how does an oral history project work for those interested in assisting as a documenter or narrator? For the documenter, the first steps involve a lot of planning, gathering interested narrators to volunteer, training, and an overall time commitment. For the narrator, a willingness to share your own personal story and/or items from your past at whatever confidentiality level you are comfortable with (e.g. identification by legal name, preferred name, pseudonym, or anonymously). Since 2016, an exhibit on Amendment 2 in Colorado (a reaction to anti-discimination efforts by gays and lesbians that excluded our community from legal protections nearly 25 years ago), and art for women who love women have been displayed as a result of the history project in Colorado.
Why is this project important? It's important to preserve the voices of our LGBTQ+ culture and community because our voices can and will change the world for LGBTQ+ individuals now and after we are gone. Like any other history, it is important to recognize where you've come from to appreciate where you're at today.
Location and time of project:
1424 N. 5th St. Grand Junction, CO, 81501
First Congregational UCC
Saturday October 21st, 12:00pm-2:00pm
For more information about the project, or to participate, contact David Duffield the Creator and Coordinator for the Colorado LGBT History Project (History@glbtcolorado.org) or at www.glbtcolorado.org/colorado-lgbt-history-project/oral-histories
Devin Pinkston is a local mental health counselor and Gender Therapist in Grand Junction Colorado. Call to schedule a free consultation today at 970-644-2392