Tour-goers convene in front of Buffalo City Hall, with protest signs

Buffalo-Niagara LGBTQ History Project

The Buffalo-Niagara LGBTQ History Project is one group of activists’ localized attempt to correct a broad misconception about LGBTQ history: that the only LGBTQ history that matters took place in large cities on the American coast. We believe that knowing about previous generations of LGBTQ community- and movement-building in our hometowns can reduce isolation and provide much-needed inspiration for future generations of activists. We also believe that LGBTQ movements in smaller cities and towns are not “behind” movements in larger cities, but are qualitatively different, because they face different circumstances. In this way, we believe local LGBTQ history projects like ours can promote LGBTQ survival, and help us build better movements and communities.

In the three years since our founding, the Buffalo-Niagara LGBTQ History Project has tapped into a deep hunger: for more local history, more diverse LGBTQ community events, more opportunities for intergenerational dialogue within the LGBTQ community. We are also a local project with broad ambitions: we would love to build networks of local and regional LGBTQ history projects like ours. We want to magnify the findings of local LGBTQ history projects in order to collectively challenge the misconception that LGBTQ history only happened in New York City and San Francisco. In order to do that, we need to grow our team and our collective capacity to act. Thanks to the seed grant from The Pollination Project, we see a way forward to meet those ambitions.