Friday, March 6, 2015

The Lavender Effect: Preserving LGBTQ Culture Through Oral History

We are at a really interesting point in gay history. Gay rights and gay marriage will soon be the norm and all of the struggles and battles fought over the last fifty to sixty years will inevitably become a fading memory. Heck, a lot of younger people aren't even aware of how much the older generations sacrificed to get us to this point in time.

This is where The Lavender Effect comes in. The Lavender Effect is a California based non-profit whose mission is to "document LGBTQ people’s history and contributions to society, demystify the spectrum of human sexuality, and celebrate the essential benefits of diversity."

To this end, they have started The Lavender Effect’s Oral History Project. The OHP captures video testimonies from members of the LGBTQ community and supportive allies who were integral participants or witnesses to a historic event or movement. They oral histories come from activists, politicians, publishers, ministers...everyone on the front lines in the battle for our civil rights. Their is a rush to record many of these folks before we lose them to old age. Watch some of the videos below!

Of course, their mission doesn't end with just oral history. They plan on opening a headquarters with a sound stage, performance space, gallery space, workshops, and museum.
There is an urgent need to to educate both our young people and the population-at-large of the positive impact LGBTQ people have on civilization. Our visibility has never been greater and yet many people are living in fear and hopelessness. Though we have made enormous strides over the past half-century, homophobia still exists, and the global epidemic of disenfranchised gay teens continues.
Learn more about The Lavender Effect at their Website and Facebook page!

TROY PERRY is the founder of the Metropolitan Community Church, a church known for celebrating and accepting the LGBTQ community. His personal story of coming out, to himself, his family and his church is touching and inspiring. After being told to resign as a preacher in a local church in Illinois, Perry thought his relationship with God was over. It wasn’t until after a suicide attempt that he had an epiphany; God wanted him to create a church for the queer community, and in1968 he did just that. Since then, MCC has grown significantly, reaching multiple cities internationally. He has preformed same sex unions as early as 1970 and ordained women as pastors since 1972. He has also been active in advocacy work, opposing the Briggs Initiative and Anita Bryant in the Save the Children Campaign in the ‘70s. He planned the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1979 with Robin Tyler and has even been invited to speak at the White House multiple times.

A trailblazing politician, SHEILA KUEHL, has served Los Angeles well and paid particular attention to vulnerable populations, including the LGBTQ community. She was the first openly gay politician to serve on the California State legislature, where she served out all possible terms. Currently running for LA County Supervisor, she has opened Kuehl Consulting, served as the Founding Director of Public Policy Institute at Santa Monica College and authored “Safe At School,” a policy white paper addressing the need for safe schools for LGBT students. Among many other causes, Kuehl has fought for over 171 bills that were signed into law, including legislation that has established paid family leave, established the rights contained in Roe vs. Wade in California statute, overhauled California’s child support services system, established nurse to patient ratios in every hospital, required that housing developments of more than 500 units have identified sources of water, furthered protection for domestic violence victims and their children, prohibited discrimination on the basis of gender and disability in the workplace and sexual orientation in education, and increased the rights of crime victims; safeguard the environment and drinking water.

Bill Rosendahl is not like your stereotypical politician. He is known for being quirkily and extremely nice, motivated by a need to give back to his communities. Representing District 11 in Los Angeles City Council for seven years he was also the first openly gay man elected to the LA City Council, making him LA’s highest ranking LGBTQ official. He is well known for making an agreement between LAX and nearby neighborhoods that prevented unwanted airport expansion. Outside of politics, Rosendahl is known for his work as a television broadcaster for public affairs shows like Local Talk and Beyond the Beltway. From 1969-1971 he also served as a counselor in the US Army for soldiers returning from Vietnam. Over the years he has served on multiple boards and commissions and has been the recipient of multiple awards including the Los Angeles League of Women Voters’ “Public Service Award, James Madison Freedom of Information Award” and the “Cable Ace Award.”

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