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LGBT History is San Antonio History

June 13, 2017

On June 10, 2017 in celebration of LGBTQ+ Pride month, the Rainbow Inclusion Committee at First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Antonio hosted an event showcasing items from the city’s lesbian, gay, and trans past. I was invited to present on LGBTQ collecting and collections at UTSA Special Collections. I was in very distinguished company.

Nickie and Deb

Nickie Valdez and Deb Myers

Community activists and organizers exhibited LGBTQ historical documents and artifacts. Among the participants were long-time San Antonio activists Nickie Valdez and Deb Myers. They have been preserving the community’s history over the decades and many items in their collection were on display at the First UU event. Valdez–revered by SA’s gay and lesbian community as one of its most iconic activists–spoke to those assembled about the importance of being out and involved.

Another exhibit included photographs and print materials memorializing the life and activism of Chuck Jordan. Jordan helped organize San Antonio’s first Human Rights Campaign dinner, later going on to serve HRC at the national level. Nancy Russell displayed many items from her personal collection that chronicles her tireless work on behalf of gay women and men in the military and veterans locally, regionally, and nationally.

The Rainbow Inclusion Committee created exhibits highlighting several different LGBTQ collections held by UTSA Special Collections. Event participants browsed facsimiles of items from the Lollie Johnson papers, the Sterling Houston papers, Pierre Duval Hair Studio collection, Transgender publications, and many more.


By the time I gave my presentation, the fellowship hall was packed. I was delighted to see so many people take time on a Saturday afternoon during Pride month to attend this well-organized and informative event. Many thanks to Carol, Elke, Kevin, and Dorothy for inviting me to speak and for putting on this wonderful Pride event!


WomanSpace, UTSA Center for the Study of Women and Gender, Las Mujeres bookstore t-shirts

Several community members brought collections to donate to UTSA Special Collections. Lucy Duncan donated her LGBT/Feminist t-shirt collection which will be photographed and added to the UTSA Special Collections page on Wearing Gay History. An addition to the Texas Lesbian Conference records will broaden the scope of the existing collection.


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