A People's History of the LGBTQ Community in Grand Rapids


... there is an underside to every age about which history does not often speak,

because history is written from records left by the privileged.

We learn about politics from the political leaders, about economics from the entrepreneurs,

about slavery from the plantation owners, about the thinking of an age from its intellectual elite.

Howard Zinn


Following the model of radical historian Howard Zinn, the Grand Rapids LGBTQ People's History Project involves the documentation of the history of the LGBTQ movement in West Michigan. By conducting interviews and collecting archival material, this project has produced a documentary film and an online archive of material about the struggle for equality and justice by the LGBTQ community in West Michigan. The screenings of “A People's History of the LGBTQ Community in Grand Rapids” will allow for continuing dialogue about the LGBTQ movement and provide a forum for current and future organizing. This is a project of the Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy. The LGBT Resource Center is proud to be a co-sponsor along with GVSU’s Kutsche Office of Local History.


Visit the Grand Rapids LGBTQ People's History Project website to view the feature-length documentary as well as all the archival material collected for this project. 


Connections to the Classroom:

Radical History Review: Queer Futures
Volume 2008, Number 100, Winter 2008

Conversations with History: Howard Zinn
created by the Institute of International Studies
University of California, Berkeley

Teaching a People’s History: Zinn Education Project
Resources: Books, Films, Posters and Websites

Out of the Closets and Into the Libraries: A Second Collection of Queer Moments
thebangarang collective
“I see young (and old) gays all around me obsessing over gay marriage as if it’s going to cure AIDS, stop anti-queer violence, provide all of us uninsured queers with health care, and reform racist immigration policies. When in reality it will simply consolidate power, money and property amongst already privileged gays, not to mention champion coupling over more dynamic ways of being in relationships. I can’t help but think that if us younger queers had access to the radical histories we have all come from, we could see other more brilliant queer futures than those promised by my neoliberal models of inclusivity.”

Page last modified November 6, 2013