LGBT+ History Month: “Activist Archivists / Archivistas Activistas” by Research Assistant Luis Gonzalez-Diaz

As I mentioned in a previous post, this year, two talented upperclassmen have joined SCUA through the Undergraduate Research Assistantship (URA) program to help us uncover some of the “hidden histories” of ISU through research into underrepresented communities in the university’s past. They are working on digital exhibits that will serve as a resource for future scholars, and both URA students will be writing blog posts throughout the school year to update you on their discoveries. Today, it is my pleasure to introduce the work of Luis Gonzalez-Diaz, who has chosen to research the history of LGBTQIA+ communities at ISU.

-Rachael Acheson
Assistant University Archivist


 

Activist Archivists / Archivistas Activistas

The LGBT+ community since its beginning, has certainly faced its struggles in terms of finding visibility in society. A lot of the history from the community has been erased due to the historical oppression of its members. Nonetheless, some of the history is preserved in archives around the world. The word archivist according to the Oxford English Dictionary means “a person who maintains and is in charge of archives” (“Archivist”), but it is so much more complex than that. An archivist is in a unique position to correct the wrongdoings that society has done in the past. An activist according to the Oxford English Dictionary is defined as “a person who campaigns to bring about political or social change” (“Activist”), and exactly this, is what an archivist can be.

La comunidad LGBT+ desde sus comienzos, ha sin duda enfrentado sus luchas en el sentido de encontrar visibilidad en la sociedad. Mucha de la historia de la comunidad ha sido borrada, debido a la opresión histórica de sus miembros. No obstante, alguna de la historia es preservada en archivos alrededor del mundo. La palabra archivista se define como “una persona que mantiene y preserva los archivos” (“Archivist”); pero es mucho más compleja de lo que aparenta. Un archivista está en una posición única en donde existe la posibilidad de corregir las malas acciones del pasado. Un activista es “una persona que promueve el cambio político y social” (“Activist”); y exactamente esto, es lo que un archivista puede ser.

Archivist as Activists” is a term quoted from “Archivist as Activist: Lessons from Three Queer Community Archives in California”, written by Diana Wakimoto, Christine Bruce, and Helen Patridge. In the article, they talk about how by being an activist, archivists are able to preserve the history of marginalized communities, and be able to ensure representation in their collections.

Archivista como Activista es un término citado de “Archivista como Activista: Lecciones de Tres Archivos Queer de la Comunidad en California”; escrito por Diana Wakimoto, Christine Bruce, and Helen Patridge. En el artículo, hablan de cómo ser un activista, puede ayudar a los archivistas en el proceso de la preservación de materiales de comunidades marginalizadas. Esto puede ayudar a garantizar la representación equitativa en los archivos.

https://www.onearchives.org/exhibitions/. Picture of the One Archives, one of the three California Community Archives stated in the article, from their website. / Foto del Archivo “One”, uno de los tres archivos mencionados. Extraida de su sitio web

https://www.onearchives.org/exhibitions/ Picture of the One Archives, one of the three California Community Archives stated in the article, from their website. / Foto del Archivo “One”, uno de los tres archivos mencionados. Extraida de su sitio web

Furthermore, people constantly ask why collecting LGBT+ material is so important. Well, it is very important to collect these materials because there is a need for them. LGBT+ people have and always been a part of history, and leaving them out from the discourse would simply be wrong. By being an activist for the community, archivists can ensure that everybody is present when preserving and maintaining history.

Además, muchas personas se cuestionan por qué la preservación de materiales LGBT+ importa. Pues, es muy importante porque hay una necesidad de recolectar estos materiales. La comunidad LGBT+ siempre ha sido parte de la historia y dejarlos fuera del discurso, sería un acto atroz. Siendo un activista para la comunidad, los archivistas pueden asegurar que todo el mundo está presente en la preservación de la historia.

Here at SCUA, we are collecting and preserving Iowa State University LGBT+ history by being activists and making sure that the community is being represented within our archives. One of our earliest accounts of LGBT+ student life dates back to 1971, regarding a student organization called the Gay Liberation Front [RS 22/4/0/1, Box 1]. The Gay Liberation Front wrote a letter to the ISU Daily, where they expressed their feelings toward the discrimination of gay people in the 70’s. They specifically said “We, members of Iowa State University’s gay community, feel that we can no longer tolerate the overt and covert discrimination against homosexuals on this campus”.

Aquí en “SCUA”, estamos colectando y preservando la historia de la comunidad LGBT+ en Iowa State University. Lo estamos logrando siendo activistas y asegurándonos que haya representación en nuestros archivos. Uno de nuestros archivos más tempranos, es de 1971 y es relevante a un grupo llamado el “Gay Liberation Front” [RS 22/4/0/1, Caja 1]. El “Gay Liberation Front” escribió una carta al periódico local, el “ISU Daily”, donde expresaron sus sentimientos sobre la discriminación de personas de la comunidad LGBT+ en los años 70. Específicamente dijeron “Nosotros, los miembros de la comunidad gay de la Universidad, sentimos que no podemos tolerar el discrimen rampante contra los homosexuales en esta Universidad”.

ISU Daily Article, RS 22/4/0/1, Box 1. / Articulo del ISU Daily, Rs 22/4/0/1. Caja 1.

ISU Daily Article, RS 22/4/0/1, Box 1. / Articulo del ISU Daily, Rs 22/4/0/1. Caja 1.

The outrage nonetheless, was caused by a theater play that Iowa State brought to campus titled “Boys in the Band”; a famously known LGBT+ related play. The Gay Liberation Front then said that “By allowing the presentation of the play The Boys in the Band, Iowa State University has, in effect, said that its students are prepared to tackle the question of homosexuality”.

La furia, no obstante, fue causada por una obra teatral que Iowa State University trajo a la universidad, titulada “Boys in the Band”. Esta obra es notablemente LGBT+ y por esto el “Gay Liberation Front” expresó que “Si dejan presentar la obra, están diciendo que la Universidad y por ende su estudiantado están preparados para hablar sobre temas LGBT+”.

Luis_BoysinBand_2_IMG_2169

Boys in the Band Photos, RS 13/23/3, Box 17. / Fotos de “Boys in the Band”, RS 13/23/3, Caja 17

Boys in the Band Photos, RS 13/23/3, Box 17. / Fotos de “Boys in the Band”, RS 13/23/3, Caja 17.

Boys in the Band Photos, RS 13/23/3, Box 17. / Fotos de “Boys in the Band”, RS 13/23/3, Caja 17.

This article is one of the earliest accounts of LGBT+ life on the Iowa State Campus. While we do have some materials regarding the LGBT+ community and, there is a need for more materials. If you were an Iowa State University student and have any materials that pertain to the community, we would invite you to contact us, to discuss the benefits of preserving your history here on campus.

Este artículo es uno de los recuentos más tempranos de la vida estudiantil LGBT+ en Iowa State University. A pesar de que tenemos algunos materiales sobre la comunidad LGBT+ en la Universidad, hay una necesidad de conseguir y preservar materiales. Si usted fue un estudiante de Iowa State University, le invitamos a que nos contacten, para discutir los beneficios de preservar su historia en la Universidad en nuestros archivos.


Meet the Author!

Luis is a Political Science and Sociology undergraduate student at Iowa State University. His goal is to one day obtain a PhD in Sociology, do research, and teach at a university. At the university, Luis is a NCORE-ISCORE Scholar, McNair Scholar, and Student Success Leader for the BOLD Learning Community in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Luis is one of the two undergraduate research assistants for the University Archives, researching the LGBT+ community at Iowa State, and SCUA has been very impressed with his work to date.

 

Luis Gonzalez-Diaz, SCUA Undergraduate Research Assistant 2018-2019

Luis Gonzalez-Diaz, SCUA Undergraduate Research Assistant 2018-2019

2 thoughts on “LGBT+ History Month: “Activist Archivists / Archivistas Activistas” by Research Assistant Luis Gonzalez-Diaz

  1. Pingback: LGBT+ History Month:”Early LGBT+ Student Activism / Activismo Estudiantil Temprano LGBT+” by Research Assistant Luis Gonzalez-Diaz | Cardinal Tales

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