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Share Your Story to Celebrate LGBTQ History Month

October is LGBTQ History Month, and it’s the perfect opportunity to explore the online tool Mapping LGBTQ St. Louis. The site was updated in 2021 with more themed tours, a new interactive exploration map, and a mobile-friendly interface.

In addition, we have launched a new opportunity for anyone to be part of the archives and share their memories and stories.

LGBTQ Spaces

As a project, Mapping LGBTQ St. Louis looks back at spaces of all types–the bars, the bathhouses, and the drag balls. It notes the emergence of other community spaces by the 1960s, including shops, community centers, churches, dances, and self-help groups. It presents as many public sites as possible, from protests and organizing to where people met for friendship and for sex.

For the early portions of this history, only written sources are available such as newspapers or travel guides, and tragic sources like arrest records or death notices. In more recent years, a growing number of oral histories have been recorded at WashU and other local archives that provide invaluable information about the recent past.

graphic with a heart that reads Memory and also Add your voice to the archives; record your memories of an important LGBTQ+ location in the St. Louis Area

Add Your Voice

To help document even more stories of local spaces and places, this fall Mapping LGBTQ St. Louis is launching a new effort: Record A Memory using the app TheirStory. Record your memories of an important LGBTQ+ location in the St. Louis area.

Add your story of an LGBTQ space or place to the archives, and make sure that your story is preserved for the future. Any and all LGBTQ-related stories from the general St. Louis area (Missouri or Illinois) are welcome –from the time you hung out with friends in the parking lot, to joining a huge parade.

Consider sharing a story about:

  • The first pride event you attended locally
  • Your favorite bar or place to meet new people
  • A drag show or ball that was important to you
  • The place where feel most authentically yourself

To participate, fill out this short info form and we will get you all the needed information to record your memory.

Memories from Tower Grove Pride

We asked visitors at Tower Grove Pride, September 25, 2021, to share a memory about an LGBTQ+ space. Here are a few of the replies:

Record a Memory: Frequently Asked Questions

Who can participate? Anyone willing to record and share a story about LGBTQ+ life in the broad St. Louis area (Missouri and Illinois) is welcome, regardless of whether you were a visitor or resident, and whether you live here now or not.

How does it work? After you sign up we will send you a consent form, and a link to the app with easy-to-follow instructions.

Is someone going to interview me? Nope! You are recording this story on your own directly on your computer/phone. There are some on-screen prompts to help you as you go.

Do I need special equipment? You just need internet access and a computer, laptop, or tablet with a microphone. (Works on many types of devices.)

How long does this take? It’s up to you! You can record a short 5-minute memory or a longer story that takes 20, 30, or even 60 minutes.  

What happens to the recordings? When you are done, your recording is sent automatically to the archives to be stored and made available for researchers. We will make a transcript, and for longer stories add a summary. If you have concerns about any sensitive information or topics, please let us know on the sign-up form and we can talk to you about options for keeping your story anonymous. 

If you have more questions, contact Miranda Rectenwald at mrectenwald@wustl.edu.

Mapping LGBTQ Feedback

If you haven’t looked at the Mapping LGBTQ site in a few years, we would love to hear what you think of the new designs –let us know!