San Antonio LGBTQ Publications: A Portal to the City’s Queer Past, Now Available Online
As interest in queer history grows, the need to provide broad access to LGBTQ publications has intensified efforts to digitize queer materials. Last year, UTSA Libraries Special Collections began ongoing digitization of queer periodicals housed in its repository as well as those held by the Happy Foundation Archives. You can now begin exploring San Antonio’s queer past through the city’s LGBTQ serials at UTSA Libraries Digital Collections. This post highlights a few of the featured periodicals.
Published beginning in 1982, the Calendar served as the communication conduit for the San Antonio Gay Alliance (SAGA), established by Michael Stevens, former UTSA professor turned gay activist. The publication began its six-year run as a diminutive bi-weekly periodical that fit easily into the back pocket on pair of jeans. That came in handy as the Calendar’s “Community Directory” listed local queer businesses and organizations and advertisements for gay and lesbian bars pointed the way to the city’s thriving queer social scene. Short articles and editorials covered news and events of interest to gays and lesbians. As the 80s marched on and AIDS gripped San Antonio’s LGBTQ community, the disease, its casualties, and attempts to mitigate the destruction it wreaked, dominated the pages of the Calendar. Sadly, AIDS decimated SAGA’s board, taking the lives of eight board members including Stevens and ending publication of the Calendar. 
Between the years of 1988 and 1991, several queer pubs were available in local bars, clubs, and businesses: Bar Talk (San Antonio Tavern Guild), River City Empty Closet, and Out in San Antonio were born to keep San Antonio’s queer community informed and entertained. Most were short-lived, sometimes lasting only a few months.
In 1992 The Marquise cranked out its first volume and began connecting San Antonio’s queer residents to the rest of the LGBTQ world. The publication covered news stories from coast to coast and often featured headlines from abroad in its “International News Roundup.” Local happenings were reported by Gene Elder, contributing writer and Archivist at the Happy Foundation Archives. The Marquise tackled issues important to the city’s LGBTQ community: gay marriage, lesbians and gays in the military, hate crimes, queer parenting, AIDS, and anti-gay legislation. While the Marquise did carry advertisements for local gay and lesbian bars, activism and serious news stories supplanted tales of drag divas and bar features so popular in local publications during the 1980s.
The Marquise ceased publishing in 1997 and once again, local queer serials came in fits and spurts, a trend that continued through the early 2000s. One of the periodicals briefly seen on shelves around the city was San Antonio Community News. It’s approach was local and regional, showcasing news and events around San Antonio and throughout Texas.
While UTSA’s Digital LGBTQ Publications collection features primarily San Antonio periodicals, issues of queer serials from elsewhere are also represented. Several issues of One magazine, the nation’s first homosexual publication, are housed at the Happy Foundation Archives and are part of the UTSA’s Digital collection.
Ongoing digitization of LGBTQ materials will facilitate wider access to these collections than has previously been available. Donations of records and papers from local and regional LGBTQ organizations and individuals, such as Lollie Johnson, the Rainbow Garden Club, San Antonio Lesbian Gay Assembly, and the Texas Lesbian Conference, augment UTSA Special Collections digital holdings of LGBTQ publications and offer research opportunities for scholars, students, and members of the community.
 Toby Johnson, “Michael Steve[n]s & Patrick Kerr and San Antonio’s Gay Community in the early 1980s” [http://tobyjohnson.com/michaelstevens.html], accessed April 17, 2013.
 One: the Homosexual Magazine, Volume III, No. 7 (July 1995), 2.