Elections, thank-you’s and looking ahead

Posted: November 25th, 2016 | Columns, Featured, Out of the Archives | No Comments

By Lambda Archives Staff | Out of the Archives

Of course, we are all still stunned (whether you voted for Clinton, Trump, someone else or “none of the above”); the outcome of the election was almost universally unexpected. But all the shouting is now over and the “fat lady” (Electoral College) is about to sing.

However you voted, thank you for participating in democracy. The process is labor-intensive and takes lots of care and feeding. Extra big thank-you hugs to those of you who worked so hard and put in so much time to support your chosen candidates and issues.

Pride Youth Leadership Academy on the Archives’ LGBT History Tour (Photo by Walter Meyer)

Pride Youth Leadership Academy on the Archives’ LGBT History Tour (Photo by Walter Meyer)

Congratulations to Morgan Hurley, editor of this publication, for her well-deserved recognition at the Nicky Awards as recipient of the Michael Portantino Excellence in Journalism Award. And congrats to Lambda Archives (ourselves) for the Outstanding Community Organization award.

So, how did we get it? Running the archives takes lots of labor and lots of love, too. Come hear about how that all works at our annual meeting Dec. 10 at 1 p.m. We’ll start with a review of our year, which included lots of activities, projects and new relationships, and provide a report of our financial status before we hold our election. We hope you will participate in the selection of new board members to continue our fine work. To vote on the nominees, you must be a dues-paying member. Please let us know if you are unsure of your status; we encourage you to vote, but sorry, we don’t yet have absentee or vote-by-mail ballots.

No matter the outcome of the board elections, we’ll have a party from approximately 2–4 p.m., on our patio, following the meeting. We wish to thank our members and volunteers as well as welcome any new members and those interested from the community.

We will also be bidding au revoir, but not adieu, to two of our longest-serving and most active board members who must step down due to term limits.

Board President Maureen Steiner is stepping down after six years of service. She not only greatly increased our community outreach, but also led us through some major changes at the Archives, including new funding streams that supported the birth of our popular “Out at the Archives” series, the walking tours of the LGBTQ history of Hillcrest and bringing on board three part-time staff members to help the Archives grow and flourish. She has given generously of her time and money to give a successful renaissance to Lambda Archives.

Also leaving the board with our hearty thanks for his contributions is Charles Kaminski. Chuck served in a variety of roles on the board and used his expertise as an architect to lead the Archives’ historic sites preservation efforts, especially the LGBT Historic Context Statement he shepherded through the city processes.

But the good news is, in addition to new young leadership on the board, we are working on a few new angles: Maureen and Chuck will continue to serve on committees and lend their expertise and enthusiasm to the organization to help keep us on course. They are jointly heading up a campaign to be known as “30 for 30 at 30.” Come to the party and be one of the first to hear of our grand plans to celebrate our 30th anniversary year.

Meanwhile, life goes on: Our tours continue and our programming plans remain strong. We recently held a special tour for the Pride Youth Leadership Academy. The day was extra special; as the teens walked along brandishing their rainbow and trans pride flags, cars honked and passersby cheered. Hope for the future, in spite of what was for most in our community, the devastating election news of a few days earlier.

A week later, a group of teachers from San Diego Unified School District took the walking tour and enriched their knowledge of LGBT history to take back to their classrooms. Nov. 19 was our monthly public tour and Nov. 20 was another special group tour, this one to history students from UC San Diego.

If your group would like to have a tour, contact us. Our next general public tour is Dec. 19 at 11 am. Tickets at:

In observance of Veterans Day, our new exhibit about LGBTQ veterans and the fight to end the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is available to visit at the Archives, 4545 Park Blvd. (the Diversionary Theatre Building) almost any afternoon Monday through Saturday with the exception of Thanksgiving weekend.

Thanks to Balboa Park Veterans Museum for the loan of some materials and to our awesome volunteers, Brandon Torres and Christine Cooke, for putting the exhibit together. We had a very special Out at the Archives: “Do Ask, Do Tell.” Several veterans and one active duty member shared very personal stories of their service in the military. It was horrifying in some ways and heartwarming in others.

The struggles of the past are mostly over thanks to changing attitudes and policies. Some recounted stories of harassment and dismissal prior to “don’t ask, don’t tell”, others during it, and the active duty member told us what progress and prejudices persist. Once again, we are grateful to the TransNarratives team of Meredith Vezina and Ellen Holzman for recording it and posting the video on their channel. Go to to see it.

We are planning more events with the Veterans Museum to continue to tell and preserve the stories and artifacts of those from the LGBT community who have served in uniform. However, (always a fundraising plea) it is expensive to properly preserve the uniforms that our veterans have given to us for safekeeping. Please consider making a special donation as we ease into the holiday period and celebrate the values we hold dear. Adopt a uniform today!

—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, call 619-260-1522 or visit their website at

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