Much of history is hidden, especially for groups outside the mainstream of dominant culture. This group is devoted to the recovery of LGBT history, and it welcomes anyone interested in the subject.One of my frustrations as a U.S. (and specifically LGBT) history Ph.D. student is how little the public--and even the LGBT public--knows about LGBT history. This isn't really their fault, of course. LGBT individuals, groups, and events have been quite intentionally excluded from the narratives presented by history courses at both the high school and college levels. When one has to go to the library and read the history on his or her own, it's no wonder that so many don't know much beyond Stonewall (if that).
And that's a shame, on so many levels. We LGBT people have a rich, exciting past (a past that extends far, far before Stonewall) that can and should be an encouragement to struggling LGBT youth. And that's the idea behind a new app just released to the iPhone and Android markets called Quist.
I just downloaded Quist (which is available for free) myself, and it's quite the nifty little app. The idea behind it is to provide 365 days' worth of LGBT history to app users using an "on this day in LGBT history" framework. For example, according to Quist, the following happened on July 30, 1971:
Lesbians Picketed Kooky's BarWell there you go. It just so happens that I did not know about the Kooky's Bar picket, so that prompted me to look up more on it. That's the idea behind the app. It also provides references to books and websites which can be used to dig up more information on the events.
The lesbian bar made it known that lesbians working for gay liberation were not welcome and the bar would not "cooperate in being exploited." Lesbians held several protests at the bar in 1970 and 1971.
From the Quist website on the app's importance:
Historical events in the app paint a picture of how far the LGBTQ community has come over time — how we have been treated, how we have reacted, how our allies have supported us, and how others have worked vehemently to stop the progress. LGBTQ individuals’ contributions to society and events in HIV/AIDS history are also included.Quist also outlines its specific goals goals:
- Educate the world about the roots of the LGBTQ communities,These are lofty and important goals. Here's hoping Quist opens up a past for LGBT youth that some did not know existed. Speaking from personal experience, it's pretty powerful stuff to find that you have a history worth reading and knowing about.
- Make LGBTQ history more engaging and relevant,
- Let LGBTQ youth know that others have shared their struggle, and
- Promote organizations that make LGBTQ history today and every day.
And for those of us who are familiar with the history, we'll learn quite a bit, too.