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We're Here, We're Queer, and We're in the Public Record! The LGBTQ Movement and Life as Seen Through Government Information


UC Berkeley presents "We're Here, We're Queer, And We're In the Public Record! on display in the Bernice Layne Gallery from March 15 through September 15, 2018. The United States government provides a wealth of primary sources that can be used to document our nation’s stance on many social movements. This exhibit showcases selected documents pertaining to LGBTQ history and highlights aspects of LGBTQ life that have been impacted by actions of federal, state, and local governments. Early documents reveal the presence of LGBTQ people and regulation of their behaviors. Post-World War II, the documents reflect a burgeoning social movement. Inspired by the Civil Rights and Women’s Movements, LGBTQ communities mobilized. From the 1970’s forward we see the beginnings of a more tolerant government, and at the same time, political backlash against that tolerance. History shows that acceptance of LGBTQ people swings back and forth, and LGBTQ communities have responded by working to push the government to be inclusive of all genders and sexual orientations. Like many social movements, the struggle is ongoing.

Members of the LGBTQ community hold diverse viewpoints on, and continue to discuss, many of the subjects covered in this exhibit. For instance, while recognition of same-sex marriage is seen as a victory by many, others see this decision as problematic because they view marriage as assimilation into heteronormative culture. We have tried to include different points of view and be conscious of intersections of race, class, ability, and gender within LGBTQ communities.

We hope this exhibit inspires you to explore the history of this and other social movements through documents that have been collected by libraries and archives, and discover hidden gems within the pages of what appear on the surface to be dry and boring government publications.