Issue 7 – How We Stand Up For Each Other – May 1, 2020

In Issue 7, we explore the ways queer communities make and safeguard space both for ourselves and with allies. In response to societal pressure to conform and legislations that erase and discriminate against us, our communities continually fight back by creating art, organizing movements, questioning canon, and telling our own stories. We share selections that showcase various forms of queer determination and contestations. From mindfulness exercises through public pedagogy to #BlackLivesMatter, queer community members stand together no matter the distance.

ONE Magazine (Periodical)

ONE was founded in 1952, and in 1953 launched the ONE Magazine, which ran until 1967. It was the most widely distributed queer magazine at the time. The Los Angeles Postmaster, Otto Olesen, declared the October 1954 issue “obscene, lewd, lascivious and filthy” and therefore ineligible to be mailed due to the Comstock laws. Our founders did what we always do in our community—they fought back and they prevailed. The landmark ONE, Inc. v. Olesen (1958) Supreme Court case was the first to deal with homosexuality and the first ruling to address free speech rights with respect to homosexuality.

You can read and download the October 1954 issue on the USC Digital Library!

– Jennifer C. Gregg, Executive Director

Nancy (Podcast)

Nancy is a podcast hosted by two queer best friends, Tobin Low and Kathy Tu. My queer best friend (shout-out to Charles!) lives on the other side of the country, and listening to these two banter warms my heart.

I love a good detective story, so one of my favorite episodes is “The Case of the Cutoffs,” in which Tobin and Kathy’s friend Ben attempts to trace the origin of one of his most treasured possessions: a pair of cutoff jean shorts, mounted and displayed in a shadowbox that he purchased in a Chicago thrift store in 2013. Ben’s attempt to track down the original wearer leads him to the Leather Archives & Museum in Chicago.

ONE Archives at USC Libraries also has an extensive collection of leather and motorcycle club records. A search for “leather” on the USC Digital Library turns up over 400 results!

– Jen Dawson, Director of Development

The Watermelon Woman (Film)

The Watermelon Woman was written, directed, and edited by Cheryl Dunye and premiered at the 1996 Berlin International Film festival. It’s widely considered the first feature film directed by a Black lesbian. The film follows a young Black lesbian named Cheryl who works at a video rental store in Philadelphia. On the side, she tries making a film of her own about Black actresses from the 1930s and 1940s, some who are famous and others who were never named or credited. As Cheryl tries to uncover information about one of these women (Watermelon Woman), she learns more about herself through romantic relationships, by researching her own Black queer history, and by giving voice to and documenting stories that had been relegated to the margins of history.

The Watermelon Woman also has a few different ties to ONE. In 2016, ONE Archives at the USC Libraries organized the exhibition Memoirs of a Watermelon Woman, which celebrated the legacy of Cheryl Dunye and her impact within queer filmmaking spaces. Two year later, Dunye donated her personal papers to ONE Archives at the USC Libraries! The collection includes original photographs from The Watermelon Woman, scripts and production notebooks from her many films, filmmaker badges from dozens of film festivals around the world, and various t-shirts, buttons, and posters. Additionally, the film’s producer, Alexandra Juhasz, is also the co-curator for the ONE Archives Foundation’s exhibition Metanoia: Transformation Through AIDS Archives and Activism.

– Nick Bihr, Education and Outreach Assistant

Navigating the Threat of Pandemic Syllabus (Reading List)

Duke University Press has put together a syllabus on the topic of “navigating the threat of pandemic.” These materials build our knowledge and understanding of how we navigate the spread of communicable diseases and how we respond as a community. Listed books are free to read online until June 1, 2020, and journal articles are free until October 1, 2020.

– Alexis Bard Johnson, Curator at ONE Archives at the USC Libraries

Listen to Me: Untold Stories Beyond Hatred (Documentary Film)

This critical documentary centers many experiences of LGBTQ Armenians, while complicating notions of queerness, Armenianness, activism, coming out and much more. The existence of this courageous and sobering film brings forward a sense of a progressing revolution by and for LGBTQ Armenians. For me, a queer Armenian-Iranian immigrant, watching this documentary allows me to witness the multitude of ways being LGBTQ and Armenian is experienced, informing my current and future activism and community building efforts.

At ONE Archives, the “Armenians” Subject File contains historical information about the Gay and Lesbian Armenian Society (@galas_la), established in 1998 in Los Angeles.

– Erik Adamian, Associate Director of Education

When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir (Book)

I cannot recommend this memoir by Black Lives Matter co-founder and queer activist Patrisse Khan-Cullors (written with the aid of Asha Bandele) enough. Let her story of determination and dedication to community keep you in a fighting, passionate frame of mind during these difficult times.

– Nateene Diu, Exhibitions and Gallery Administrator

Mindful Transitions: For the Transgender Community (Virtual Event)

I miss stopping by the queer-owned coffee shop Cuties to get a pastry with friends before going to InsightLA for the monthly meditation group meetup. I miss the large windows with glorious afternoon sunlight, the sculptural plans in the space, and the quiet time during which I can sit safely and comfortably with fellow trans and nonbinary folx from all walks of life. For duration of the session, I can turn off my intellectual chatting and fully feel the sensation of queer and trans belonging. Among other class offerings at @insightlameditation is the Queer Mindfulness group which will meet on May 10 next.

Thankfully, instructor Martin Vitorino put his once a month Mindful Transition meditation series online for the time being. Martin conducts a beautiful sitting session from his home. Folx tune in from different locales, sharing how they keep mindful practices in their daily lives, to remain balanced, calm, and protected in this time of instability and distancing. Tune in this Sunday afternoon for a session. You deserve it.

– Umi Hsu, Director of Content Strategy

Image credits: (1) ONE Magazine, volume 2, number 8 (1954 October), ONE Incorporated records, ONE Archives at the USC Libraries. (2) Image by Topher McCulloch (tophrrrr on flickr), uploaded on May 15, 2018. (3) Film poster for The Watermelon Woman. Copyright is believed to belong to the distributor of the film, the publisher of the film or the graphic artist. (4) Screenshot taken of the Duke University Press website, from Navigating the Threat of Pandemic Syllabus page. (5) Still shot from the documentary Listen to Me: Untold Stories Beyond Hatred. Directed by Gagik Ghazareh. 2016, Armenia. (6) A display of the book “When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir”, written by Patrisse Khan-Cullors with the aid of Asha Bandele. Nateene Diu, photographer. (7) Photo courtesy of Martin Vitorino.

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