Queer History South 2022 conference takes place in Dallas Sept. 30 – Oct. 2

The contributions of LGBTQ people toward the betterment of the world cannot be underestimated, and the world is a better place when LGBTQ people are allowed to flourish. From government and warfare to engineering and science to the humanities and the arts, LGBTQ people have been at the forefront of progress throughout time.

History books should be filled with stories of LGBTQ people exhibiting courage, intelligence, bravery, kindness and victory.

But our LGBTQ history has been hidden from us — intentionally!

With so much external energy focused on erasing us, we must work even harder to secure our place in history. Any marginalized community must take responsibility to record its own story. For that reason, Dallas will host Queer History South 2022, a 13-state regional conference focused on LGBTQ history.

Archiving is activism!

Queer History South was created by Dr. Maigen Sullivan and Josh Burford in Birmingham, Ala., to share best practices in historical archiving techniques and to network with other researchers. Their first QHS conference was produced in 2019 and attracted historians from all over the country. The inaugural conference was so successful and created so much good will among the attendees, it became apparent they would have to repeat it.

Dallas won the bid to host the 2022 conference. The North Texas Planning Committee settled on a theme: “Archives for ALL, Y’all!” More than 300 scholars, university librarians, museum curators, K-12 educators, authors, graduate students and community volunteers/enthusiasts will convene in Dallas on Sept. 30 for the event.

The focus is the southern region of the U. S. One third of U.S. citizens who identify as LGBTQ live in the 13 states referred to as the South. Many of the legal advancements in LGBTQ equality have originated in the South; this is an important story to tell.

Although the focus is on the South, the conference will host attendees from all over the U.S. Anyone who shares an interest in archiving is welcome to attend. Here is a link to the conference website:

The Dallas Way (TheDallasWay.org) is one of four leading sponsors of this LGBT history conference, along with the Invisible Histories Project (InvisibleHistory.org), Dallas College (DallasCollege.edu) and The University of North Texas (UNT.edu).

The Friday morning keynote speaker will be Moises “Moe” V. Vela Jr., the first openly gay, Hispanic senior White House advisor. He was named one of the Top 100 Hispanics in America by Hispanic Business magazine and is the co-creator and co-star of the streaming-TV series Unicorn Hunters.

Vela is also the author of the best-selling book, Little Secret, Big Dreams: Pink and Brown in the White House, an auto-biography detailing his upbringing in a Hispanic Catholic home in Texas, his coming out story and his journey to the White House.

(Watch for an interview with Moises Vela in the Sept. 30 issue of Dallas Voice.)

The Saturday morning keynote speaker will be Mandy Carter, co-founder of Southerners on New Ground, the National Black Justice Coalition and Equality North Carolina. The collection of Mandy Carter papers from 1970 through 2013 is held at Duke University Libraries.

The weekend will also include a reception hosted by Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, which will host a reception, opening all their exhibits to conference guests and offer a rarely-seen peek into their deepest archive vaults; and a keynote panel discussing Baker v. Wade, the first constitutional challenge for LGBTQ equality filed in Texas.

Learning our LGBTQ history leads us to respect and appreciate our LGBTQ elders. Our current LGBTQ seniors represent the Stonewall generation, the AIDS generation that fought and died to give us the privileges and equality we enjoy today.

Discovering our LGBTQ history helps us to appreciate the struggles and the courage of our previous generations. We learn we have much to thank them for, and we raise them up. To advocate for those who first advocated for us is our greatest honor.

Studying history can provide a road map for creating success in the future. There is no need to reinvent the wheel if smart people have succeeded with a plan in the past. Sure, we may need to tweak their former plan, but we do not need to start from scratch.

For example, the COVID pandemic was greatly shortened by using the knowledge we gained from the AIDS epidemic. And if marriage equality disappears, we will need to know what brought us to marriage equality the first time in order to restore it once again.

Fortunately for us, there are many authors and researchers, librarians and curators, educators and graduate students who are diving deeply into LGBTQ history. Many of those will gather in Dallas Sept. 30-Oct. 2 to share current research and to network with like-minded history enthusiasts. And you can reap the benefits of their work by registering for the conference yourself at EventBrite.com/e/qhs-2022-archives-for-all-yall-conference-tickets-53453348404.

Leo Cusimano is owner and publisher of Dallas Voice. He wrote this column initially for News is Out, a pioneering national collaborative of the leading local queer news publishers. Join the News Is Out newsletter at https://newsisout.com/?utm_campaign=signups&utm_source=DallasVoice.