Out Down South: Voices & Portraits of LGBTQ+ Atlanta
The LGBTQ+ community has made incredible strides in recent decades. Thanks to courageous work by activists from all walks of life, queer and trans people of all identities have been welcomed into the fold of America’s celebrated diversity. This history of the LGBTQ+ movement was been made all over the country, including here in the South, where legendary stories of trailblazing activists mingle with those of the leaders fighting for equality today.
Out Down South: Voices & Portraits of LGBTQ+ Atlanta presents stories of change-making LGBTQ+ Atlantans. From politicians to performers, spiritual leaders to business owners, these luminaries have helped make Atlanta a city where LGBTQ+ people are welcome and loved. The exhibit features the photographs and recorded stories of change-making LGBTQ+ Atlantans, told in their own words. We invite you to learn about Atlanta’s LGBTQ History, through their stories.
The exhibition is free to visit, located outside of The National Center for Civil and Human Rights in the Georgia Pacific Plaza.
To learn more about the project behind the exhibit, visit atlantalgbtqhistoryproject.org.
Closeout LGBTQ+ History Month with an evening of cocktails, storytelling, and celebration on us. Join us to celebrate the opening of Out Down South, an outdoor exhibit at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights celebrating Atlanta’s storied LGBTQ+ legacy. The exhibit features portraits and oral histories of LGBTQ+ Atlantans who have made an indelible contribution to this city. This event is free and open to the public. RSVP here!
When: Wednesday, October 26th @ 7 PM EST
Where: National Center for Civil and Human Rights
About oral history:
Oral history is a primary source method of history gathering, which honors and preserves an individual’s life story by recording it in their own words, free from interpretation or editing by other sources. Oral history is part of the ancient human practice of storytelling, our oldest method of preserving and sharing history.
Oral history interviews are a critical resource in establishing a community-wide narrative of an historic event, rather than a singular account provided by an official “expert,” whose frame of reference is often limited by their position of power. Oral history interviews have been instrumental in understanding the experiences of people who survived historic events like the Holocaust, the World Trade Center attack, and the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Marginalized communities have long used storytelling and oral history to preserve their heritage and pass their community history down through generations.
Learn more about oral history and the art of storytelling here.
A note from The Center:
In honor of LGBTQ+ history month, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights has invited the Atlanta LGBTQ+ History Project to guest curate an exhibition. Their work brings LGBTQ+ history alive by gathering, sharing, and preserving the stories of people who lived it. This installation celebrates a selection of local LGBTQ+ luminaries, featuring stories told in their own words, and portraits created by LGBTQ+ photographers.
A podcast dedicated to sharing oral histories from LGBTQ southerners.
The Making Gay History podcast mines Eric Marcus’s decades-old audio archive of rare interviews—conducted for his award-winning oral history of the LGBTQ civil rights movement—to create intimate, personal portraits of both known and long-forgotten champions, heroes, and witnesses to history.
Two queer nerds share their love for the past, hijinks, and all things gay, sharing stories of those of us in the unexplored corners of history who have always been there.
Dr. Eric Cervini, a Harvard and Cambridge-trained historian of LGBTQ+ culture and politics, explores the history of today’s deviant world.
Atlanta & Georgia LGBTQ History Resources
Gay A.F. identifies buildings and other physical locations that were connected to LGBTQ+ community in Atlanta, Ga., from roughly the mid-1900s until the early 2000s. Gay A.F. aims to complement and bring additional visibility to the people and organizations that have been working for years to uncover, preserve, and share accurate information about Atlanta’s LGBTQ+ history.
A group of archivists, librarians, and community volunteers dedicated to preserving Georgia’s LGBTQ+ history.
Our mission is to advance social justice and community by saving historic places. We advocate, educate, and provide technical assistance for the use of traditional and innovative historic preservation tools and programs to dignify the places, people, and events that make this city the diverse and culturally rich environment it is today.
A storytelling project documenting the lives of LGBTQ+ Atlantans as a form of transmission for queer Southern history. The Touching Up Our Roots Digital Story Tour is a self-guided audio tour that takes visitors on an aural history of LGBTQ+ Atlanta, with sites throughout the city that reflect the legacy of Atlanta’s LGBTQ+ history.
Georgia LGBTQ Archives and Collections
Southern LGBTQ History Projects
The Invisible Histories Project locates, preserves, researches, and creates for local communities an accessible collection of the rich and diverse history of LGBTQ life in the US South. Currently, IHP collects in Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia. IHP acts as an intermediary between the Queer community and various institutions like universities, museums, archives, and libraries in order to preserve Southern LGBTQ histories.
Connecting academics and advocates to advance LGBTQ Equity through research and education focused on the American South.
National LGBTQ History Organizations
The GLBT Historical Society Museum, located in the heart of San Francisco’s Castro District, is the first stand-alone museum of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender history and culture in the United States.
ONE Archives Foundation is the independent community partner that supports ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the University of Southern California (USC) Libraries, the largest repository of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) materials in the world.
National LGBT Museum
The Museum is dedicated to sharing the heritage of LGBT people, a story that unites millions of individuals but is rarely represented in mainstream museums. Developed and sustained by the Velvet Foundation, the Museum will be located in the city of New York, where the LGBT story can most effectively reach a national and international audience.
Resources for Teachers
History UnErased is an education nonprofit founded in 2015 by veteran classroom teachers to provide K-12 schools with the curriculum and training they need to teach LGBTQ-inclusive history as it intersects with race, gender, and nationality within the mainstream curriculum.
This site serves as a comprehensive reference hub for information regarding the FAIR Education Act, as well as for History Framework Lesson Plans and General LGBTQ Lesson Plans, and resources to support teachers as they work with the new content required by the FAIR Education Act.
The Out Down South: Voices & Portraits of LGBTQ+ Atlanta is brought you by the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in partnership with:
Atlanta LGBTQ+ History Project The Atlanta LGBTQ+ History Project is a multimedia initiative to gather, share, and preserve the history of LGBTQ+ Southerners. Using photography, oral history, podcasting, and archival materials, the project brings LGBTQ+ history alive through the stories of the people who lived it, told in their own voices.
Georgia State University Library Collections & Archives Georgia State University Library Special Collections & Archives collects and preserves historic materials related to Atlanta and the wider Southeast
LGBTQ Institute The LGBTQ Institute of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights is dedicated to advancing LGBTQ equity in the South through research and education.
Wussy Magazine Wussy Magazine is a queer art and pop culture magazine and media platform based in Atlanta, GA.
Curated by Rachel Garbus & Sam Landis
Designed by Sam Landis
This exhibit includes oral histories from Georgia State University Library’s Gender & Sexuality Archives, The Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History & Culture at Duke University, & The Southern Lesbian Feminist Activist Herstory Project.
Special thanks for Morna Gerrard at Georgia State University Library’s Gender & Sexuality Archives.
Photography by Jody Fausett, Robin Rayne, Larue Calliet, Kenedee Hodges, Jarrett Heatherly, Marilyn Ocasio Nieves, Just Toby, Alex Pirtle, Karen Shacham, Aurie Singletary and Jamie Hopper.
Exhibition advising from James Richards, Jill Savitt, Jon Dean, Lance Wheeler and Ryan Roemerman.
The exhibition was made possible due to generous gifts from Alice Roll & The Roll Family Foundation, Will Szal & Kyra Kristof, and Curt Stamp.