February Newsletter

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Dear OUTWORDS friends,
It’s a busy time for our American democracy. No matter where we reside on the political map, we can all agree that the heart of our democracy is VOTING. I was heartened to read this news item today, highlighting a successful North Dakota lawsuit to guarantee fair ballot box access for indigenous Americans. Click here, here, and here for organizations doing great work in the voting rights realm, and let’s join forces to guarantee free and fair elections in 2020!

As you know, OUTWORDS is a non-profit 501c3 corporation which means we have a legally appointed board of directors who oversee our operations and provide guidance on our mission. Our current board consists of five talented, hardworking individuals from California to Washington DC, and we are now hoping to expand their ranks. Board members devote at least 30 hours per year (2.5 hours per month) to a variety of responsibilities. Just as importantly, they serve as fundraising ambassadors for OUTWORDS. If you know someone (including yourself!) who might be interested in joining our board, please email me at mfunk@theoutwordsarchive.org.
Harvey Milk, 1978. Photo credit: Terry Schmitt

Many of you are probably familiar with the LGBTQ storytelling platform I’m From Driftwood. Now nearly 11 years old, IFD was originally inspired by Harvey Milk’s “I’m from Woodmere, NY” sign in a 1978 Pride parade, highlighting the existence of LGBTQ people in small towns and big cities all across America.
Nathan Manske

Inspired by Harvey's example, Nathan Manke created I'm From Driftwood (Nathan's small hometown in Texas) to share stories of LGBTQ+ people all over America. Today IFD has 80,000 subscribers and 2.3 million YouTube views, which is why OUTWORDS is so excited to be partnering with IFD to distribute our extraordinary interviews with LGBTQ+ pioneers and elders. Click here, here, and here to see our partnership in action. Thank you IFD for helping to preserve and share the stories of our amazing queer elders!
K.C. Potter

In Spring 2018, OUTWORDS sent producer Kate Kunath to Centerville, Tennessee, to interview K. C. Potter. Over a 36-year career as dean of students at Vanderbilt University, K. C. supported countless LGBTQ+ students who otherwise might’ve stayed in the closet, dropped out, or even ended their lives. Inspired by her meeting with K. C., Kate produced the short film Show Me the Way, which profiles K. C., his partner Richard, and their relationship with a conservative local pastor whose own son is gay. Congrats Kate on your beautiful film, which is helping OUTWORDS reach a wider audience with its inspiring story of authentic family values.
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The infamous 1969 police raid on the Stonewall Inn was not an isolated incident. Back then (and for years after), police regularly raided gay and lesbian bars, arresting dozens of patrons. To make matters worse, local newspapers frequently published the arrestees’ names, resulting in the loss of jobs, families, and lives. OUTWORDS would like to start collecting specific stories of individuals whose names were published in newspapers, and what happened to them. Please contact us if you know of any such stories, and/or if you’d like to volunteer as a researcher in this area! From a critically important presidential election to global warming, many pressing issues face us today. At OUTWORDS, we firmly believe our LGBTQ+ pioneers and elders can “show us the way” to bravely and smartly address these issues. After all, their track record for effective activism is unparalleled! If you agree, then please support OUTWORDS today, so we can continue to capture and share our elders' stories, strategies, and successes. 

With all best regards, 
Mason Funk 
Executive Director, OUTWORDS