Long Beach Pride Parade, 1986, with Emperor Boom Boom. Photo courtesy of the Historical Society of Long Beach.
Coming Out in Long Beach, a massive undertaking by the Historical Society of Long Beach (HSLB), has just marked its first full year with its doors open to the public. This unique project is the first of its kind, attempting to catalogue and re-create the history of Long Beach’s rich and vast LGBT culture.
Marking the first year anniversary of the project, HSLB will be inviting Cal State Long Beach history professor emeritus Dr. Kaye Briegel and The LGBTQ Center’s Administrative Director Porter Gilberg to discuss what has been learned in the creation and opening of the exhibit.
“Before this project, no one had attempted to collect and chronicle the history of LGBT people in Long Beach,” said Briegel. “During past year, we’ve had the chance to talk to the many people who’ve come to see the exhibit and to hear their recollections and to understand what the events depicted meant to them. My hope is that Porter Gilberg and I can begin to share and discuss our analyses of what we’ve learned.”
Like any “small big town,” Long Beach has an intimacy within it despite its simultaneous urban character; this means that communities are tight-knit and important stories can easily fall through the cracks. Through a collection of artifacts, photos, Pride pamphlets, and oral histories, HSLB—along with Briegel and community partnerships—created the exhibit which examines the LGBT community’s presence here in Long Beach.
The vast majority of the exhibit—from books to banners—are to become a permanent part of the HSLB collection.
The event is free to the public and will be held Saturday, March 1 from 1PM to 3PM at the HSLB building, located at 4260 Atlantic Avenue. Reservations are not required. Visitors are welcome to come early and view the exhibit before the presentation begins.
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