What inspired your project Vibrant Kin?
I was inspired to do this project by my time volunteering at the Ohio Lesbian Archives. That experience helped me discover how rich the history of LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) activism in Cincinnati was; and it allowed me to form friendships with LGBT people outside my immediate age range. I wanted to share both of those experiences with the local community and share how much we have to be proud of.
What will your exhibit entail?
The exhibit covers some of the major themes in the past 50 years of LGBTQ activism in Cincinnati. There is also an interactive component for people to add their own thoughts. My hope is that it sparks more conversation and interest in this history.
What makes Cincinnati the perfect place for this project?
I think that doing local history is incredibly powerful, especially for marginalized groups. Cincinnati’s LGBTQ community has been through some very tough times and has fought hard to make this city a better place for us. That fight has had some incredible successes. I think there are tendencies to think that Cincinnati is a very conservative place and to assume that most LGBTQ activism has happened on the coasts. The rich history of activism that Cincinnati has serves as a counterpoint to those assumptions. Coming together around that history can make our community –– and our city –– even stronger.
What kind of events can we look forward to from Vibrant Kin?
Expect events that bring together moments in history with current stories to spark discussion. We started intergenerational discussions in May by participating in a national initiative called SAGE table. In July, we’re planning an event that will use historical sources to talk about churches, religion and LGBTQ activism. We’re also putting together some partnerships later in the fall that will use the history as a starting place for creating new artwork and media like poetry and zines.
Is there anyone in Cincinnati you're hoping to partner with or have already partnered with?
There are so many fantastic people and groups who are making this possible. I’ve worked really closely with the Ohio Lesbian Archives and Cincinnati’s Senior Action Group. Mt. Auburn Presbyterian Church has been very helpful. I’ve also connected with GLSEN, the Tri-State PrimeTimers, Proud Scholars; and I’m working with LadyFest. I’d love to partner with anyone who is interested in the exhibit or programming!
Since the project grant has a specific beginning and ending, we were curious as to what your permanent job is? Does it correlate in nature with the work of Vibrant Kin?
This project is very close to my heart in part because it combines my professional and personal lives. My permanent job is as a public historian, so this is what I do. What’s unique about this project is taking that history into the community specifically to create connections.
What do you hope people will take away from Vibrant Kin?
I hope people will take away an appreciation for how rich Cincinnati’s LGBTQ history is, as well as how bright our future is. I hope it inspires them to keep exploring those stories and hold more conversations across generations to deepen our understanding of what folks have been through.
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/vibrantkin or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Don't forget to join Nancy and Vibrant Kin on Saturday, June 24 from noon–9pm at the Cincinnati Pride Festival.