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Successes, new ventures and local LGBT history

Posted: April 15th, 2016 | Columns, Featured, Out of the Archives | No Comments

By Archives Staff | Out of the Archives

Thank you for making our “Heroines, Pioneers, and Trailblazers” gala a huge success at the San Diego Woman’s Club on March 19. Nearly 180 attendees honored the work of our 11 honorees and the women they represented. Congresswoman Susan Davis introduced former Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders, who in her “no holds barred” style, delivered an impassioned speech about HIV/AIDS and the need to continue the fight.

Honorary co-chair Katherine Stuart Faulconer delivered a proclamation from the Mayor declaring March 19, 2016 “Lambda Archives Day” in the city of San Diego.

City Commissioner Nicole Murray Ramirez, another honorary co-chair, gave a very heartfelt and moving “thank you” to the honorees for their work on behalf of the gay men’s community in the 1980s and ’90s. It was truly an afternoon to be remembered. You can see the video at our website thanks to Meredith Vezina and Ellen Holzman of TransNarratives.

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The Flame (in 1984) will be on the walking tour. (Courtesy Lambda Archives)

On Saturday, April 30, you are invited to the first Hillcrest LGBT Historical Walking Tour presented by Lambda Archives. The tour will include tidbits on LGBT history, as well as the architecture, art and places that make Hillcrest — often called the “gayborhood” and one of the oldest neighborhoods in San Diego — unique. To be included in this very first tour, check out our Facebook page, call 619-260-1522, or email info@LambdaArchives.org.

Another interesting upcoming presentation of LGBT history you may want to check out is “Parkeology.” This is a site-specific art installation that aims to uncover the lesser-known historical aspects of Balboa Park.

On April 30, from 6 – 11 p.m. in the Marston Point parking lot in Balboa Park, artist Kate Clark and her team will present a multimedia presentation about the checkered past of Queens Circle, also known as “The Fruit Loop.”

In the days before internet and phone app hook-up sites, the area was known as a place for men to cruise for sex, resulting in police sweeps and even some murders. Gates and locked bathrooms still offer silent testimony to those times, but on this special evening, tape recordings and photographs will tell the tale.

“Working with Lambda Archives has been wonderful,” Clark said. “Normally when doing these kinds of art projects, I often feel like an outsider trying to convince an organization to do something out of their comfort zone — not the case with Lambda! From the moment they agreed to meet about the project, they’ve been nothing but supportive.”

We were glad to offer help to this unique venture celebrating a unique aspect of the history of Balboa Park.

Lambda Archives continues to be involved in many other ways as well, including working with the Community Leadership Council, collaborating with community organizations, area universities, researchers, and any other organizations or individuals we can help.

We recently worked with the Tom Homann LGBT Law Association, which will honor local attorney and activist Bridget Wilson at their April 14 gala. Wilson was honored as a “Hero, Pioneer, and Trailblazer” in 2008 for her lifelong efforts in lesbian activism and supporting AIDS patients and LGBT military veterans.

Bridget Wilson (right) and her life partner Kim McAlister kiss at San Diego Pride’s 2015 Stonewall Awards, where they received “Inspirational Couple.” (Courtesy San Diego Pride)

Bridget Wilson (right) and her life partner Kim McAlister kiss at San Diego Pride’s 2015 Stonewall Awards, where they received “Inspirational Couple.” (Courtesy San Diego Pride)

As a registered nurse, Wilson assisted Dr. Brad Truax deliver care to AIDS patients when others refused to touch them. Later, Wilson became an attorney and donated countless hours to help discharged veterans and helped change the face of the military, and indeed, our country, through the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

In addition, the Archives will assist the San Diego Unified School District to provide LGBT education in the classroom curriculum in compliance with the California “Fair Act.” We are excited by this opportunity to help educators and Gay/Straight Alliances be inclusive and supportive of our vulnerable LGBTQ students and their parents and allies.

If you have a particular question or project, please reach out to us. Likewise, we are always in search of volunteers to help with the sexy parts of historic research and archiving, as well as the more mundane but necessary functions of data entry, general cleaning, and other routine office tasks. And Pride season is just around the corner, so there will be plenty to do. See you soon.

—Lambda Archives, a 501(c)(3) dedicated to collecting, preserving and teaching the history of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in San Diego and the Northern Baja California region, is located at 4545 Park Blvd., in University Heights. To learn more, stop in or visit their website at lambdaarchives.org.

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