Why is it important to tell our own stories? Click here to read an explanation in the Equality section.
Also, here’s more urging from a group that helped me a great deal while I was with while writing Gay Seattle, the Northwest Lesbian Gay History Museum Project.
If we don’t record and tell our own history, others will interpret it for us—or worse, they’ll see to it that it never gets mentioned again. We know in our hearts that gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and transsexuals have always been around, and in every culture, but we have precious little documentation of it, and what exists from long ago is hard to interpret…. It’s up to us to ensure that future generations know we were here.
Remember that it’s not just “history” we’re telling. We’re actually gathering valuable local and regional knowledge about how individuals really do imagine and live their love and their expressions of gender. In the book, Mosaic, produced by the Northwest Project, three major questions were pursued in the memories of individuals:
How did they discover their identity? (gain knowledge about their sexual orientation and/or gender identity?
How did they find a LGBT community? (discovering people of like orientation or identity?)
How did they build community? (what organizing, resources, activism began?)
So, how to start? Here’s a .pdf with a good list of questions from the Northwest History Museum Project that you can modify to fit your own community: LGBT Interviews
Click to see the historical map of LGBT geography that the Northwest project created, revealing how Seattle’s geography has influenced “coming out” and “coming home”
Here are some transcribing guidelines the Northwest project developed. Adapt your own to your local community and audience.