James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Archives March 2011: Gay Bears

Lynn Ludwig Photograph Albums

When the temperature goes down, I naturally think of hibernating. And hibernating naturally makes me think of bears. Within the LGBT community "bear" refers to someone whose physical appearance closely resembles that of a real bear: hairy, strong and anywhere from heavyset to heavily muscled.

In August, Lynn Ludwig donated his collection of 41 photo albums and 200 photo portraits. Lynn's photographs document bear events, LGBT pride parades in San Francisco and his own family events. Frequently documented are the Lone Star Saloon, Eagle bar, and the street fairs for Folsom, Dore Alley and Castro streets.

The albums include portraits of friends and family. All of the albums are interspersed with Lynn's beautiful photographs of flowers and Northern California scenery. Occasionally there are badges from events that Lynn attended as well as flyers promoting those events. The time frame covered is 1988-1999. We see here a sample of some of the images that Lynn captured: a San Diego Bear Pride event from 1992; also a flyer from the ABC Convergence (Associated Bigmen's Clubs); and a lovely shot of the Painted Ladies in San Francisco. The Lynn Ludwig Photographs Collection (GLC 65) is available for research and browsing through the San Francisco History Center.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Queer Teachers: Out of the Past, Into the Future

With all the flack that teachers have been subjected to lately in the mainstream press, it is past time to give a shout-out to those who continue to brave the difficult challenge of educating our future generations. The first selection, "And They Were Wonderful Teachers: Florida's Purge of Gay and Lesbian Teachers," by Karen L. Graves is a blow by blow historical account of a witchunt that began in the fall of 1956 growing out of a climate fueled by McCarthyism and the cold war, an environment that fostered distrust and suspicion. This book is the story of 87 gay and lesbian teachers, the victims of that purge. Their responses to this persecution are as varied and complex as those folks who testified before HUAC, the House Un-American Activities Council. Count this book as one that puts our present day struggle into proper historical context.

Our second book is an anthology edited by Nelson M. Rodriguez and William F. Pinar titled,"Queering Straight Teachers: Discourse and Identity in Education." These eleven essays are a jumping off point for a different kind of discussion, one that involves straight people just as much as queer ones. It relies on something that old school feminists used to call "conciousness raising." In this case, it just means waking up to the realization that heterosexism along with a preconceived and inflexible conception of gender, only serves to limit the opportunities for self-actualization and achievement for everyone.