Delaware LGBTQ history preserved digitally

Delaware LGBTQ history preserved digitally

In addition to telling stories of LGBTQ individuals, Deal hopes this project can preserve the history of LGBTQ community spaces that no longer exist.

One contributor, Kathy Carpenter said she found support at the Renegade, a Rehoboth gay bar that closed in 2003, during her transition. A dress and crown she wore during the Renegade’s Miss Gay Delaware pageant is on display as part of a separate physical exhibit in Lewes. The story behind those items will be available as part of the coming digital exhibition.

“In our community we have a lot of silent heroes,” Carpenter said. “I mean, thousands of them. When it comes to our little private networks, when one of us is hurting the rest of us are hurting — the rest of us come to their aid. So that exhibit’s not just about me, it’s about all those people that can’t be heard that have helped me and others throughout the years.”

The project also features today’s LGBTQ politicians, activists, and community organizers. In over 30 interviews, Deal spoke with organizations from all three counties in Delaware.

State Rep. DeShanna Neal said that they were excited to see the collection feature diverse community organizers who serve different LGBTQ groups throughout the state. Neal is the first nonbinary member of the Delaware General Assembly and one of five LGBTQ state lawmakers.

“We’re hitting these different minority groups of intersectionality and it’s easy for people to ignore us, and so I love this collection, I’m so glad I get to contribute to it, so that we see all of us,” Neal said.

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Rep. Neal will be featured on the website as the first non-binary member of Delaware’s General Assembly. (Cal Ransom/WHYY)

Julissa Carino is co-founder of Orgullo Delaware, which helps educate social workers on how to help Spanish-speaking members of the LGBTQ community. Carino said that the project represents a chance to celebrate LGBTQ individuals in the face of increasing anti-trans legislation across the country.

“If anyone is part of the LGBT community, they know that they’ve been under a threat for a really long time, which is so scary and which is so devastating in a lot of places. I would really love people to look at this exhibit and just see the power behind it, right? Not the, you know, let’s judge this person, let’s debate their existence, but just the power of this person and everything that they’ve gone through and the challenges and the barriers they’ve had to cross in order to be their genuine self.”

The website is currently under construction and will be available late this summer.

  • June 25, 2023