Delaware’s LGBTQ+ Community: A Research & Digital Engagement Project
Across the First State’s history are stories still waiting to be told, and those of the LGBTQ+ community throughout time have long deserved their moment in the spotlight.
Over the next year, the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs will embark on a new project that aims to be Delaware’s first holistic effort to capture those stories and important moments in history across the state and make them accessible to the public.
“Different people have told different pieces of this story, but it’s not a history that’s been told on any large scale or in any cohesive manner for the entire state,” said Meg Hutchins, project lead and the Division’s engagement and collections manager. “This will be an expanded resource, a clearinghouse almost, for this history.”
A small team, led by Hutchins, will spend the coming months gathering available information on key stories and moments in history that matter to Delawareans who identify with the LGBTQ+ — an acronym that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning and many other sexual orientations and gender identities — community.
“Delaware’s LGBTQ+ Community: A Research & Digital Engagement Project” will culminate with an online digital platform that will house the material collected, the cultural information regarding the people, places and things associated with the queer community. The digital platform itself will be a work in progress, and is designed to be easily updated over time. The platform is expected to be accessible to the public in mid-2023, and the team will connect with other institutions doing similar work.
“This team has a great opportunity to collaborate with others to develop a digital resource focused on the history of the LGBTQ+ community in Delaware,” said Division Director Suzanne Savery. “I am looking forward to exploring their research to learn more about the places, people and stories that are part of our state’s history.”
Professional researcher Carolanne Deal will work directly with members of the community to collect their stories, and the Division aims to connect closely with community members to ensure a holistic and diverse project outcome.
The project will include an overview of history, photographs and maps, among other resources and tools that will be identified during the research process. While it will include national context, the project is specifically Delaware-focused. It will be a first-of-its-kind resource that experts hope will pave the way to highlighting other minority communities and overlooked historical stories of Delawareans.
“A big reason we’re doing this work is that the history of the LGBTQ+ community everywhere has had problems with longevity because, when a big part of people’s identities was considered illegal for so long and constantly under threat, it can be difficult to tell those stories because the places and things they connect with tend not to stick around,” Hutchins explained. “We hope to tell a diverse story, so people are represented and see themselves and everybody in the queer community as being a part of this Delaware history and this story.”
While funding for the project currently expires at the end of the fiscal year, Hutchins hopes that it will continue into the future. For now, the team is just getting started. Check back soon for more information and updates!To share information that you think will be helpful to the project, contact the team by emailing email@example.com.