Coming Out: Moving LGBT Archives from Private to Public Spaces

Marta Boutchma


Many LGBT archives were initially founded in private residences as a means to protect collective memories from fears of seizure, destruction, or misrepresentation. In the wake of the successes for LGBT rights in the past decades, many have sought to shift their holdings into public spaces. These moves into public space, such as physical moves or the digitization of materials, are often accompanied by a tension between increased visibility of these communities and a loss of control of their materials. By looking at the challenges faced by the B.C. Gay and Lesbian Archives, the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives (CLGA), and the Lesbian Herstory Archives (LHA), this paper will explore whether the same understanding of archival access can be applied to digitized and brick-and-mortar archives when moving repositories to a more public position.

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