The Kentucky LGBTQ Heritage Context Study illustrates the promise and challenges of early investigations into LGBTQ history in a state in which queer life has rural and urban dimensions. In 2015–16, researchers from the Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research at the University of Louisville partnered with an LGBTQ-equality organization to examine the history of LGBTQ people in Kentucky. Outcomes included the nation’s first statewide LGBTQ context narrative, amendments to two National Register of Historic Places nominations, and new attention to underrecognized dimensions of LGBTQ experience. The project demonstrates the importance of existing relationships with LGBTQ communities and the difficulty of collecting archival material within the time constraints of a grant-funded project.
Investigating Kentucky’s LBGTQ Heritage: Subaltern Stories from the Bluegrass State
Catherine Fosl is a historian and a professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at the University of Louisville, where she also directs the Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research. Fosl held a sexuality fellowship with the Social Science Research Council in 2006, out of which her research in Kentucky LGBTQ history originated.
Daniel Vivian is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Historic Preservation at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky. From 2010 to 2017, he taught in the Department of History at the University of Louisville.
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Catherine Fosl, Daniel Vivian; Investigating Kentucky’s LBGTQ Heritage: Subaltern Stories from the Bluegrass State. The Public Historian 1 May 2019; 41 (2): 218–244. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/tph.2019.41.2.218
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