OUTWORDS captures, preserves, and shares the stories of LGBTQIA2S+* elders, to build community and catalyze social change.
OUTWORDS envisions a world where
- difference and diversity are respected and celebrated
- everyone’s story is valued, and traditionally underrepresented stories are given prominence
- the transformative power of sexual and gender authenticity is embraced
- anti-LGBTQIA2S+ fears, phobias, and traumas are acknowledged and healed
At OUTWORDS, we celebrate the diversity of our LGBTQIA2S+ community, and we recognize this diversity includes conflicting opinions at times. We have seen how diverse opinions can strengthen a community, and have no interest in trying to make everyone agree with each other.
At the same time, we do have an interest in making sure that everyone who attends one of our gatherings feels respected and upheld in their individuality. By choosing to attend an OUTWORDS event, you agree to take care with your words, and to err on the side of caution. The LGBTQIA2S+ movement is ever evolving and adjusting. OUTWORDS practices kindness towards all who enter our community. We ask you to do the same.
- Name white supremacy and the impact of racism on both our personal and professional lives.
- Engage in anti-racist education for you and your team.
- Commit to open-conflict and allow discomfort.
- Invest a portion of your monthly company budget to the Black community.
- Express your sincere, long-term commitment to becoming an anti-racist organization.
As a signatory to the Anti-Racist Small Business pledge, OUTWORDS is dedicated to the practice of racial equity. We recognize that equity is a practice and not a destination, and our hiring processes are one aspect of this practice. We strive to practice archiving as a form of social justice, which includes providing opportunities and visibility to individuals and communities that have traditionally been underrepresented or simply excluded from the media production and archive industries. We are committed to creating and maintaining an environment where dissenting opinions and diverse perspectives are safely expressed, and encourage the exchange of such views in an environment of care, curiosity, and mutual respect.
Archiving as a form of social justice also includes actively seeking out interviewees who are BIPOC, living with disabilities, transgender/gender non-conforming, or other marginalized identities. Beyond ensuring that we don’t replicate the centuries-old silencing of these voices, we seek to actively reverse and rectify this erasure, and to record, preserve, and share those stories with respect and care.
Employment Non-Discrimination Policy
All qualified applicants for employment with OUTWORDS will receive consideration without regard to race, creed, color, national origin, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, military status, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. OUTWORDS will furthermore consider applicants who may need a reasonable accommodation to perform the essential functions/duties. Please contact us for additional information or to request reasonable accommodations for the application or interview process.
Language & Terminology
*LGBTQIA2S+ = Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning, intersex, asexual and ally, and two-spirit. OUTWORDS uses the designation “queer” interchangeably with the acronyms LGBT, LGBTQ, LGBTQ+, LGBTQIA2S+, and all their variations. We like “queer” as a catch-all term that bows to the fluidity and complexity of sexual and gender identity. We also recognize the term’s history of derogatory usage, and witness the lasting pain it has caused for some LGBTQ+ folks.
OUTWORDS Land Acknowledgement
OUTWORDS’ offices are located in downtown Los Angeles. Los Angeles sits on the traditional ancestral and stolen lands of the Tongva peoples.
Our presence on this land is rooted in injustice towards and disrespect for the people who lived here and stewarded this land for 7,000 years before European settlers arrived and, through various forms of violence, attempted to “assimilate”, exterminate and erase the sacred lives and communities of this region. Click here for a short history of the Gabrielino-Tongva tribe and its 18 lost treaties.
Acknowledging that OUTWORDS’ offices are situated on stolen land should not be construed as passive permission for our occupation of this land. Any acknowledgement of past injustices is only as relevant and credible as OUTWORDS’ commitment to participating in the righting of past wrongs. Although our efforts are humble in nature and frequently flawed in their execution, OUTWORDS is committed to this work.
One material way to acknowledge our history and support Indigenous communities is to consider actually “paying rent” on the lands that we occupy. Learn more here. OUTWORDS is committed to returning (in a very small and insufficient but hopefully respectful way) what was never ours to begin with.
For more information and entry points into considering the legacy of the lands where you live and work, explore:
- The Native Land Map
- Honor Native Land: A Guide and Call to Acknowledgement
- Why Treaties Matter
- Further Thoughts on the Value and Shortcomings of Land Acknowledgments
Thank you to Lucy Andrews, a PhD student in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at the University of California Berkeley, for some of the resources and thinking featured in this acknowledgement.