HistSex - Making History in 2020 Contemporary Issues in Historical Practice.


Throughout human history—if undergraduates and the History Channel are to be believed—there have been dramatic events that seem to cut through everything around it. There is, to modern eyes, a distinct before and after—the world is utterly changed. From Western history alone one can pick from Martin Luther and his nails; Washington and Delaware frostbite; any number of easily-funded Hollywood blockbusters; and, perhaps now, COVID-19. The work of historians is to place all sorts of cautions, explanations, and contextualizations on these moments, but they remain iconic in the mind of the public. One of these moments took place a half-century ago at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, and has become a stand-in byword for the launching of the LGBTQ+ movement as well as an anchor point for queer history. 50 Years On, Many Years Past: Nonfictions of Sexuality aims to both support the ongoing work of historians and also makes the argument that queer identity and sexualities are ‘many years past.’ 50 Years On is an open-source, freely-available digital resource and collection focused on the history of sexuality. It aims to fill a representational need rooted in the realities and histories of LGBTQIA+ sexual identity, which is often overlooked in favor of fictional representation in comics, stories, zines and art. While these uplifting representations bring LGBTQIA+ life into the mainstream, they also bolster the implication that queer sexualities are ahistorical, faddish, or a ‘Very Invented Culture,’ in the words of one critic.

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Brian M. Watson
Archivist, Historian, Knowledge Organizer

I’m an archivist, a public historian, an author, a researcher, and a knowledge organizer.