“STORYCORPS”: SAVING LGBTQ HISTORY

June 22, 2019 at 5:00 am

Find out how one organization is preserving the stories of LGBT elders and how you can add your story to the project.

For hear more stories from Storycorps’ “Stonewall OutLoud” initiative, click here.

Aired on June 21, 2019.

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>> IN 2018 AT THE AGE OF 64, D.
WESTIN HAUSER CAME OUT AS A
TRANSGENDER WOMAN.
SHE GREW UP IN EL PASO TEXAS IN
THE 1950s AND CAME TO STORY
CORPS TO REMEMBER THE ONE PLACE
SHE SHE COTS TRULY BE HERSELF.
>> ONE WEEKEND, MY MOM AND MY
DAD, THEY DECIDED THAT I WAS
GOING TO GO TO THE HOUSE.
I WAS 9 YEARS OLD.
AND ONCE THE DOOR CLOSED, SHE
SAYS HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO
CHANGE INTO SOMETHING THAT'S
REALLY COMFORTABLE FOR YOU AND
WHAT WAS THERE WERE A BLOUSE AND
A WIG.
I KNEW I WAS A GIRL.
AND SO THAT WEEKEND, I GOT TO BE
ME.
>> THAT WAS JUST ONE OF THE
INTIMATE NARRATIVES COLLECTED BY
STORY CORPS.
THE NATIONAL NON-PROFIT
ORGANIZATION'S MISSION IS TO
RECORD, PRESERVE AND SHARE THE
STORIES OF AMERICANS FROM ALL
BACKGROUNDS AND BELIEFS.
AND WHAT YOU JUST SAW IS EXACTLY
THAT.
AS 13 CELEBRATES THE SUMMER OF
'69, WE'LL DISCUSS THEIR NEW
INITIATIVE, STONEWALL OUTLOUD, A
NATIONAL EFFORT TO DOCUMENT THE
EXPERIENCES OF AMERICA'S
EVERYDAY LGBTQ COMMUNITY FOR THE
STONEWALL RIOTS.
THE GOAL IS INSURING THEIR
PERSONAL STRUGGLES AND DESIRE
FOR EQUALITY ARE NEVER LOST TO
HISTORY.
HERE WITH DETAILS IS THE
ORGANIZATION'S CEO ROBIN
SPARKMAN AND THE DEPUTY DIRECTOR
OF THEIR PARTNER ORGANIZATION,
GRIIOT CIRCLE, AUNDARAY GUESS.
WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.
>> THANK YOU.
>> FIRST LET'S JUST START WITH
THE LITTLE PIECE WE JUST SAW.
WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT TO
CONNECT THESE STORIES WITH OUR
MODERN DAY LIVES EVEN THOUGH
THEY SEEM SO DISTANT AND FAR
AWAY?
>> WELL, IT'S BECAUSE THESE
STORIES TELL US WHAT LIFE WAS
LIKE FOR PEOPLE 50, 60 AND MORE
YEARS AGO.
AND A LOT OF PEOPLE TODAY THEY
MAY NOT KNOW WHAT LIFE WAS LIKE
FOR OUR LGBTQ FRIENDS AND OLDER
FAMILY MEMBERS AND COLLEAGUES
AND NEIGHBORS.
AND SO OUR STORIES GIVE YOU A
SENSE OF WHAT THAT WAS LIKE FOR
THEM IN A WAY HOPEFULLY THAT IS,
YOU CAN CONNECT TO THEM EVEN NOW
AND THAT YOU'LL REMEMBER THEM.
>> IS IT JUST SOMETHING WHERE
YOU'RE ENCOURAGING EVERYBODY TO
JUST COME AND SHARE THEIR
STORIES OR WHAT IS THE BEST WAY
TO CONNECT TO SHARE YOUR
PERSONAL NARRATIVE OF WHAT THE
LGBTQ COMMUNITY WAS LIKE AS WE
SAID BEFORE STONEWALL?
>> I THINK FOR US IT'S LIKE
IDENTIFYING THOSE WHO FEEL LIKE
THEY HAVE A STORY TO TELL YOU
ABOUT IN GENERAL, FOR MYSELF, I
THINK EVERYBODY WITHIN THE
LIFESTYLE HAS A STORY TO TELL
AND THAT'S THE GREAT THING ABOUT
STORY CORPS IS PEOPLE FEEL THAT
WELL, I DIDN'T DO ANYTHING.
I DON'T HAVE A WIKIPEDIA PAGE.
I HAVEN'T YOU KNOW, CREATED A
MOVEMENT BUT BY BEING THERE, BY
JUST EXISTING YOU HAVE A STORY
AND THE GREAT THING ABOUT STORY
CORPS IT HELPS US PRESERVE THOSE
STORIES THAT AND LET US KNOW WE
ALL HAVE SOMETHING TO
CONTRIBUTE.
>> SO HOW WOULD PEOPLE THEN GO
ABOUT ACTUALLY SHARING THEIR
STORIES?
WE ALL KNOW THERE ARE CERTAIN
LOCATIONS WHERE THERE ARE STORY
CORPS BOOTHS YOU CAN GO IN.
FOR THIS PARTICULAR INITIATIVE,
HOW DO PEOPLE GO ABOUT IT.
>> STORY CORPS HAS BEEN AROUND
FOR 15 YEARS AND STARTED OUT
WITH A BOOTH IN GRAND CENTRAL
STATION AND WE STILL HAVE BOOTHS
IN VARIOUS PARTS OF THE COUNTRY
INCLUDING IN FOLEY SQUARE IN
MANHATTAN.
MOST PEOPLE ARE NOT ABLE TO GET
TO A BOOTH.
SO WE HAVE THE STORY CORPS APP.
PEOPLE CAN DOWNLOAD IT ON TO
THEIR CELL PHONE AND THERE ARE
QUESTIONS THAT WILL HELP THEM
HAVE CONVERSATIONS WITH LGBTQ
ELDERS WHO REMEMBER STONEWALL OR
SOMETHING THEY WANT TO TALK
ABOUT THE IMPACT OF STONEWALL ON
THEIR LIVES.
THAT'S OUR STONEWALL OUTLOUD
PROJECT.
>> IS THIS ALSO SPECIFICALLY
JUST I MEAN AS WE SAID TO MAKE
SURE PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THOSE
STORIES BEFORE STONEWALL
HAPPENED BUT CAN YOUNGER LGBT
PEOPLE ALSO PARTICIPATE IN THIS,
PEOPLE WHO MIGHT NOT REMEMBER
WHAT LIFE WAS LIKE BEFORE
STONEWALL BUT HAVE A U MEEK
APPRECIATION FOR THE ROLE IT'S
PLAYED IN THEIR LIVES.
>> ABSOLUTELY.
ANYONE WITH A CELL PHONE
ANYWHERE ON THIS PLANET CAN
PARTICIPATE IN THE STONEWALL OUT
LOUD.
IT'S EASY AND WE HAVE SUGGESTED
QUESTIONS FOR YOU.
EVEN IF -- STONEWALL IS LIKE ROW
SAE PARKS, SOMETHING YOU'VE
HEARD ABOUT AND SOMETHING YOU
WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT, YOU CAN
EASILY PARTICIPATE IF IT'S
SOMETHING YOU WANT TO KNOW
ABOUT.
GO TO STORY CORPS.ORG/STONEWALL
OR DOWNLOAD THE STORY CORPS APP
AND YOU'LL SEE THE PROMPTS THERE
ONCE YOU DOWNLOAD IT TO DO THE
PROJECT.
>> I DEFINITELY WANT TO SHARE,
WE HAD AN EXPERIENCE BECAUSE
WE'RE VERY INTENTIONAL ABOUT
BEING INTERGENERATIONAL AS AN
LGBT ORGANIZATION.
IT'S GREAT BECAUSE WE WOULD HAVE
A YOUNGER PERSON WITH A SENIOR
AND WHAT THEY GET TO DO IS, WHAT
HAD HE EXPERIENCE IS THAT THE
YOUNGER PERSON SEES PROGRESS OF
THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT.
SO EVEN WITH THE VIDEO AND STORY
THAT YOU JUST SHARED, SOMETIMES
THEY DON'T REALIZE THE HISTORY
AND HOW FAR WE'VE COMPANY
ALTHOUGH WE STILL HAVE LENGTHS
TO GO.
BY DOING THE ENTER JAGSAL
CONVERSATION IT'S AN LEARNING
EXPERIENCE FOR BOTH OF THEM.
>> THIS IS SOMETHING WHERE AS
IT'S HAPPENING WE CAN LISTEN OR
DO WE HAVE TO WAIT TILL THEY'VE
BEEN EDITED AND MIXED.
>> ABSOLUTELY.
YOU CAN GO TO OUR APP AND YOU
CAN SEE IN REALTIME THE STORIES
THAT PEOPLE ARE UPLOADING TO OUR
ARCHIVE.
YOU CAN SEE PEOPLE WILL TAG THEM
AND YOU CAN SIMPLY SEARCH BY
STONEWALL OUT LOUD AND SEE
ANYTHING THAT ANYONE HAS DONE
THAT IS ABOUT THIS TOPICING.
> LISTEN, I WANT TO THANK YOU
BOTH FOR COMING DOWN ESPECIALLY
FOR TELLING US ABOUT THIS NEW
INITIATIVE AND ALWAYS TO STORY
CORPS FOR COLLECTING THESE
STORIES THAT ARE SO UNIQUELY
AMERICAN AND SO UNIVERSALLY
HUMAN.
THANK YOU BOTH FOR JOINING US.
>> TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE
STONEWALL OUT LOUD INITIATIVE,
VISIT METROFOCUS.ORG.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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