A night with Jim Obergefell

Posted: September 30th, 2016 | Columns, Out of the Archives, Top Story | No Comments

By Archives Staff | Out of the Archives

A large and enthusiastic crowd turned out on Sept. 15 to hear Jim Obergefell — lead plaintiff in the Supreme Court case that resulted in nationwide same-sex marriage — talk about his journey from being a “checkbook activist” to being center stage in the fight for equality.

The audience laughed and cried as local attorney Matt Stephens interviewed Obergefell about how he promised his late husband that he would continue to fight to have their marriage recognized. Obergefell met attendees before and after the discussion and signed copies of his new book, “Love Wins.”

Thanks to the videographers of Trans-Narratives, a video link will soon allow those who were unable to attend to see the dynamic exchange that took place on stage.


(l to r) Lambda Archives lead archivist Jen LaBarbera, board president Maureen Steiner, marriage equality activist and author Jim Obergefell, and archives manager Walter G. Meyer stand in front of the marriage equality Constellation flag and other artifacts on loan from Eddie Reynoso. (Photo by Christopher Sheehan)

A concurrent exhibit displayed items from marriage equality collections and incorporated several items on loan from Eddie Reynoso, founder of the San Diego LGBT Visitor Center. Included was the marriage equality flag Reynoso created by stitching pink stars over the usual white ones, as each state legalized same-sex marriage. Of course, he got to make them all pink after the 2015 landmark ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges.

Thanks to volunteers Nicole Verdes and Brandon Torres for putting together this inspiring exhibit, which will remain open through the end of October. Don’t miss it.

On Oct. 16 at 10 a.m., the Archives will lead the next “Historic Hillcrest” walking tour. Learn fun facts about the gayborhood and enjoy a relaxing end to the tour at one of the great food and drink venues in Hillcrest.

We not only share our knowledge on each tour, but we often learn from the participants. Our last time out, we learned the original name of University Avenue. Do you know it? Tour tickets are available for purchase at as well as from our new partner, San Diego LGBT Visitors Center. Another fun fact: the San Diego LGBT Visitors Center is only the fourth in the nation. The center is located inside Creative Crossroads at 502 University Ave. You can stop by between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m., go to or call 619-432-LGBT (5428).

Sir Dermot Turing, nephew of Alan Turing — the gay British code breaker and subject of the movie, “The Imitation Game” — will be doing a Q&A after a special screening of the film at Hillcrest’s Landmark Theater on Oct. 27. Lambda Archives is partnering with the San Diego Biomedical Research Institute for this special event. Tickets are available at

Also coming in late October is another installation of Out At the Archives, this one featuring author and historian Lillian Faderman, who recently published “The Gay Revolution.”

Faderman did some of her research at Lambda Archives and now lives full-time in San Diego. She will share stories of her work on this book and maybe some insights regarding her forthcoming book on Harvey Milk. Details of the event will be announced soon. Don’t miss the opportunity to have Professor Faderman sign your copy of her award-winning book, which we will have available for purchase.

(l to r) Eddie Reynoso, founder of the San Diego LGBT Visitor Center, poses with Obergefell after the event. (Photo by Walter G. Meyer)

(l to r) Eddie Reynoso, founder of the San Diego LGBT Visitor Center, poses with Obergefell after the event. (Photo by Christopher Sheehan)

(Photo by Christopher Sheehan)

(Photo by Christopher Sheehan)

Following their successful marriage equality display, Verdes and Torres plan to create another exciting exhibit to tie into the November installation of Out At the Archives, “Do Ask, Do Tell: LGBTQ in the military” just in time for Veterans Day.

Lambda Archives is open to the public without appointment from noon–5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Follow us on Facebook to learn more or reserve your seat for any of our Out At the Archives events. You can also join the Archives as a member, which will guarantee you don’t miss out on anything.

Materials continue to roll in to the Archives. Some fun examples include Pride T-shirts from Major League Baseball teams around the country, donated by former Padres player, Billy Bean. Bean came out once his career as a player came to an end, but he continues to be involved as Major League Baseball’s Ambassador of Inclusion. You might also see Bean in an upcoming Out At the Archives. Stay tuned!

A special thank you to retired attorney Bridget Wilson, who continues to donate documents from the many, many legal battles she fought on behalf of the LGBT community, particularly those regarding LGBT in the military. Wilson’s video interview about her part in striking down the San Diego cross-dressing ordinance will soon be available online — thanks again to Trans-Narratives.

You are invited to come to the annual meeting and open house in December. A short board meeting will precede a summary of the year and a member-only election of new board members at 7 p.m., Dec. 13. Board members Chuck Kaminski and Maureen Steiner will be termed out, so come by to say “Thanks” and wish them well.

As always, Lambda Archives belongs to you. Any donation of time, money, or materials you can make will help us expand collections and share knowledge. Visit, call 619-260-1522, or email with questions or suggestions.

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