Collection from UTSA Libraries provides insight into South Texas’ LGBTQ community | UTSA Today | OUT

UTSA’s LGBTQ collection is available and accessible to students, faculty, researchers and the community at large. These materials bring to light the many ways of living, working and being on the gender and sexuality spectrums.

“The strength of this collection is its rich array of primary resources that offers an important look into the history of the LGBTQ community in San Antonio,” Amy Rushingassistant vice provost for Special Collections said. “This community traditionally has been underrepresented in the historical record and our goal is to ensure it is documented, preserved and made accessible.”

LGBTQ+ History Month was founded in 1994 by a high school teacher in Missouri to recognize and commemorate the contributions of the LGBTQ+ community to the cultural evolution.

As part of its work to highlight the books, articles, artworks and other projects that celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, UTSA Special Collections staff participate in special events and have curated numerous community exhibits that highlight UTSA’s LGBTQ collection. One of the more notable examples of this work is the TransAmerica/n exhibition that the McNay Art Museum hosted in 2019. The event brought in local and regional artists and displays of world-famous works, such as those of Andy Warhol.

“During this exhibition, Special Collections had the opportunity of curating a gallery exhibit filled with materials from our LGBTQ collections,” Gohlke said. “Our display emphasized those that represented transgender lives, stories and expression.

Among the collections donated to Special Collections from the LGBTQ+ community:

  • The Linda and Cynthia Phillips Papers: Wind duck Cynthia Phillips were a very prominent couple within the transgender community in Central and South Texas. They created the San Antonio chapter of the Boulton and Park Society. The bulk of the collection has been digitized and can be accessed online through the Guide to the Linda and Cynthia Phillips Papers. The materials are also available through the Digital Transgender Archive (DTA).
  • LGBTQ Publications: Materials in the collection include queer publications from San Antonio and South Texas and span the decades from the 1970s through the early 2000s. Donations for this collection came from Gene Brake, Gene Elder at the Happy Foundation and Ted Switzer. Many of the items are digitized and available online at UTSA Special Collections LGBTQ Publications digital portal.
  • The Lollie Johnson Papers: Lollie Johnson was a successful local business entrepreneur and activist who owned nine bars that served the LGBTQ community from the 1970s through the 1990s. The collection is rich in photographs that convey life in lesbian and gay bars over three decades. For more information, consult the online guide, Lollie Johnson Papers.

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