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Pride presentations during a pandemic

July 1, 2020

For the last couple of years, I have had the good fortune to partner with the San Antonio Public Library (SAPL) during Pride month. In 2018 and 2019, I curated a Pride exhibit at the Central Branch and had hoped to do so this year. Unfortunately, the exhibit did not happen due to the pandemic. However, we were able to pivot and coordinate three virtual presentations on San Antonio’s LGBTQ history which were hosted by three branches of SAPL.

Delivering presentations online was definitely a learning curve for me. I love presenting in person, interacting with the audience, being able to read their expressions as I speak. I don’t have that luxury during a Zoom presentation. Instead, I peer into blocks with names, initials, or avatars. Despite the weirdness of speaking to blocks, I enjoyed giving the presentations. I recognize that for many months to come, this will be our “new normal” and I need to find ways to engage a virtual audience just as I would in-person participants. I am always delighted to talk about San Antonio’s LGBTQ history and using a virtual platform facilitates reaching a broader audience. 

There a so many nuances to San Antonio’s queer past and UTSA Special Collections has a wealth of materials that document those subtle layers. Fortunately, our LGBTQ collections don’t only get trotted out once a year during the month of June. Pride is celebrated all year long and there are many opportunities for us to share our queer materials with students and our community. Last year from June to September, UTSA Special Collections participated in the creation of an award winning exhibition at the McNay Art Museum: TransAmerica/n. I wrote three blog posts for the McNay during the exhibition, each exploring a different facet of San Antonio’s queer history and highlighting many of the LGBTQ materials held by UTSA Special Collections. 

Media coverage of our queer collections gets the word out beyond the confines of the archives and into the public sphere. As we work to grow our LGBTQ collections, reaching out to the public is imperative as there are unique materials in private collections that might one day need a permanent home. Additionally, queer history is one layer of San Antonio’s cultural heritage that deserves exploration and recognition, an important thread in the city’s historical fabric, one that many San Antonians might not be aware of. 

Urban-15 Pride presentation, Images, UTSA Special Collections. View this presentation at  http://Pride, Proud, Present. Collecting San Antonio’s Queer Memorias


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