Queer History

I’ve been keeping a diary ever since coming out to myself, in May of ’92. From time to time I like to reread old entries, to keep in touch with who I was. It’s good to remember where I’ve been, if only to make sure I don’t repeat the same mistakes more than two or three times. From time to time I’ll go through the whole thing, entry by entry, to give me the best perspective on where I am, and why I am where I am. It’s fascinating to notice the little details, like handwriting changing over the years, turns of phrase I used, that sort of thing. And the larger patterns, the ups and downs, going in circles and spirals…

It’s important to remember those things. Because history isn’t just in the past. It affects us every day, whether we realize it or not—our decisions, other people’s decisions. How did we get here? Is here such a good place to be? How can we compare? By looking at the past, we can better understand the present.

This is why I’m interested in queer history. I want to understand this community in which I’ve found myself, see how it came to be, because in a very real way, they are my people. Just as a couple of my relatives have researched our family tree, I’m exploring my heritage. I can’t relate the thrill of holding old articles, personal histories, posters or pamphlets from years or decades ago, and then ride forward to the present, seeing it all come together in a continuous path. It’s that connection to other people, other times, other voices, that continues to excite and inspire me. Listening to their stories, as I’m writing my own.