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Welcome to OutHistory: The Town Clock around which all of us interested in the history of sexuality and gender can gather to exchange news of the latest historical detective work, the startling new clue discovered, the mystery unraveled -- the town clock whose hourly chime reminds us of time’s passage and the substantial changes in the acts, feelings, ideas, and relationships of people within society and time.

OutHistory.org is a website in development about gender and sexual history, a site that, at its best, should encourage us to think deeply and critically about historical evidence and what it means to understand LGBT and heterosexual life in the perspective of society and time. OutHistory should help us ask and begin to answer questions about the gendered and sexual actions and feelings of people within social structures over time. OutHistory includes elements of an almanac, archive, article, bibliography, book, encyclopedia, library, and museum, but it is not identical to any one of these. It's a history website -- on it, time is of the essence. What this history website is, and what it does, will become clearer as it develops its own historical life and identity over time.

OutHistory.org was produced in its first four years by The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS), located at the City University of New York Graduate Center. The site was founded and is co-directed by Jonathan Ned Katz and co-directed since September 2011 by John D'Emilio and Jennifer Brier at the University of Illinois, in Chicago. The site was designed originally by Cidamon, a New York based web design and development company], using open-source MediaWiki software. The Arcus Foundation funded the site's coordination, design, and maintenance from 2007-2011. The content of OutHistory.org is provided by volunteers. The official launch of OutHistory.org took place October 21, 2008. For more about OutHistory.org, see About. Email : Jonathan Ned Katz at jnk123@mac.com

OutHistory In Brief

(These seven points are adapted from the Five Pillars of Wikipedia)

by Jonathan Ned Katz, OutHistory Co-Director

1 OutHistory is a freely accessible educational website in development about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and heterosexual history. It's about time!

2 The site incorporates elements of an encyclopedia, an archive, and a museum, but it's primary identity is as a history site. At its best, It assists users to think historically about LGBTQH life. What thinking historically means will become clearer as the site develops. The site's creators focus on the various, creative ways they can help all of us to understand the sexual and intimate relationships of human beings over time, within changing social and historical structures.

3 Entries may or may not include original research, and all must strive for verifiable accuracy. Unreferenced or badly referenced entries may be removed, so please provide full references.

4 Factual claims and statements must be clearly distinguished from analysis and interpretation. Personal opinions, personal experiences, and arguments may be included if presented as such and if they are clearly relevant to a particular entry, and help to enlarge the understanding of users about ongoing debates.

5 OutHistory is not an indiscriminate collection of information, a soapbox, an advertising platform. a vanity press, or an exemplar of anarchy. It is an experiment in the democratic creation of reliable historical content and its free distribution for non-commercial, not-for-profit educational purposes.

6 The administration of OutHistory.org is provided by paid website builders and rented server space, and by unpaid volunteers.

7 Anyone can discuss the site or discuss a particular entry. The content of OutHistory.org is volunteered and created by historically oriented users, researchers, and historians or solicited from them.

In addition, inspired by Wikipedia, anyone with data, reference citations, historical information, or editing or other skills to share can help to create unsigned, collaborative entries that she or he, and others can improve. Such collectively produced entries are marked as such by an "Open Entry" notice within a yellow box like this:

OPEN ENTRY: This entry is open to collaborative creation by anyone with evidence, citations, and analysis to share, so no particular, named creator is responsible for the accuracy and cogency of its content. Please use this entry's Comment section at the bottom of the page to suggest improvements about which you are unsure. Thanks.

Entries by named writers, editors, curators or site administrators can only be edited by them, and by site administrators, and are marked by a "Protected Entry" notice within a gray box, like this:

PROTECTED ENTRY: This entry by a named creator or site administrator can be changed only by that creator and site administrators, so they are responsible for its accuracy, coverage, evidence, and clarity. Please do use this entry's Comment section at the bottom of the page to suggest improvements. Thanks.


In 2005, a grant of $5,000 from the Zebra Fund via the Funding Exchange, through the generosity of the late Joan R. Heller and her partner, Dr. L. Diane Bernard, encouraged Jonathan Ned Katz to investigate how to go about funding and establishing a complex LGBTQ history site and supporting it over the long run.

The development of OutHistory.org by CLAGS was funded by a two-year grant (2007-2008: $50,000 a year) from the Arcus Foundation. The Arcus Foundation agreed to support OutHistory's "Since Stonewall Local Histories Contest" from March 1, 2009 through December 31, 2010, with a grant of $55,000 for those 22 months.

The 2007 OutHistory Advisors' Meeting was catered thanks to a donation by Florent Morellet of Restaurant Florent.

The Mulberry Group, Inc., contributed $1,500 in 2008.

A number of individuals contributed in 2008 and 2009.


OutHistory is interested in collaborating with other LGBTQH history sites, archives, newspapers, magazines, museum projects, and art galleries, as well as interested researchers. As of August 29, 2008, OutHistory is collaborating with The Windy City Times (Chicago) and ChicagoGayHistory.org, and historian John D'Emilio is publishing original essays on Chicago gay history in this newspaper and on both websites.


This first prototype of OutHistory.org focuses on a number of featured Exhibits on LGBTQ history in the United States, and includes a variety of other content. But the future possibilities of this site are as wide as the world, and as open as all of us can collectively imagine. For example, Jonathan Ned Katz dreams that this site will eventually contain the largest, freely accessible, annotated bibliography on the subject of LGBTQ and heterosexual history. A user's ability to survey such a bibliography according to specific time frames and particular key words would give that person an overview of a history that will take many, many more years to document, detail, and publish.


The content of this site is volunteered by and solicited from authors, curators, editors, researchers, independent and institutionally-based scholars, and collectors named on their entries. Inspired by Wikipedia, OutHistory.org also encourages all its users to discuss the site and each article.

Also inspired by Wikipedia, and as an experiment in history by the people, we encourage users to provide the site with documents, data and citations, articles, photos, administrative aid, and any kind of assistance they can. Users of OutHistory can help OutHistory make history. With the participation of users this site will grow, develop, and be institutionally supported over the long-run.

See also: OutHistory: Contributors

Contributors' Guidelines

Please click on the link above.

OutHistory in Progress

Please click on the link above.


Co-Directors: Jonathan Ned Katz, John D'Emilio, Jennifer Brier

Ultimately responsible for budget, operation, character of site.

Board of Advisors At Large

The Advisory Board's primary responsibilities are advising on the site's content, contributing, as time permits, to that content, editing content, and suggesting and encouraging contributors. The board makes macro policy decisions (for example, about what kinds of materials the site should solicit and publish, and about the overall structure of the site). Like editorial boards and boards of directors, the Advisory Board does not make executive decisions about site production, budgeting, staffing, or the day-to-day running of the site.

Julie Abraham is a professor at Sarah Lawrence College. She earned her B.A. from the University of Adelaide and her M.A., M. Phil., and Ph.D. from Columbia University. Her academic interests include lesbian/gay/queer studies, twentieth-century British and American literature, contemporary feminisms, and literatures of the city. She is the author of Are Girls Necessary?: Lesbian Writing and Modern Histories and numerous essays; the editor of Diana: A Strange Biography; and is a contributor to The Nation and The Women’s Review of Books.

Amy Beth is the director of Library services for the School of International Training in Brattleboro, VT. She is a also an active member of the Lesbian Herstory Archives in Brooklyn and a contributor to The Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History in America (2003).

Sarah E. Chinn is the Executive Director for CLAGS and an Associate Professor in the English Department at Hunter College. She is the author of Technology and the Logic of American Racism: A Cultural History of the Body as Evidence (2000), and New Americans, New Identities: The Children of Immigrants and the Invention of Modern Adolescence, 1885-1930 (forthcoming, Rutgers University Press). She has also published numerous articles in American Studies, Queer Studies, and Disability Studies, including "Feeling Her Way: Audre Lorde and the Power of Touch," and "'Something Primitive and Age-Old as Nature Herself': Lesbian Sexuality and the Permission of the Exotic."

John D’Emilio is a professor of history and of women's and gender studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He served as the Founding Director of the Policy Institute at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. He is the author of several publications, including Lost Prophet: Bayard Rustin and the Quest for Peace and Justice in America (2003), which won the Stonewall Book Award for non-fiction in 2004; The World Turned: Essays on Gay History, Politics, and Culture (2002); Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America (1988), co-authored with Estelle Freedman; and Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities (1983).

Martin Duberman is Distinguished Professor of History at Lehman College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and the founder and first Director (1986-96) of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies. One of the country's foremost historians, he is the author of 19 books and numerous articles and essays including Hidden from History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past (1991), an anthology he co-edited with Martha Vicinus and George Chauncey; Stonewall (1994?); and Paul Robeson (1998).

Steven G. Fullwood is an accredited librarian and writer who currently works at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library in New York City. He founded the Black Gay and Lesbian Archive Project in 2000 to aid in the preservation of black LGBT/SGL/Q/Q/inthelife history. As a writer Mr. Fullwood's works have appeared in a variety of print and online publications including Africana.com, Mosaec.com, XXL, FHM, Blacklight Online, Blackstripe and ARISE Magazine. He was also a founding member of ONE Step Further, a sexual education and advocacy company that serviced black and Latino men who are intimately and sexually involved with other men.

Paula Grant is an active member of the Lesbian Herstory Archives in Brooklyn.

Jonathan Ned Katz is the initiator and Director of OutHistory.org. He is an independent scholar and writer on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and heterosexual American history. Katz’s works include Love Stories: Sex Between Men Before Homosexuality (2001), The Invention of Heterosexuality (1995), Gay/Lesbian Almanac: A New Documentary (1993), and Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A. (1976), as well as other books, articles, reviews, and plays.

Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy is a professor of Women's Studies at the University of Arizona with an adjunct appointment in anthropology and history and holds a Ph.D. in Social Anthroplogy from Cambridge University. She co-authored the award winning book Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold: The History of a Lesbian Community (1993) with Madeline Davis. She also co-edited Feminist Scholarship: Kindling in the Groves of Academe (1983) with Ellen DuBois et al. and Women's Studies for the Future: Foundations, Interrogations, Politics (2005) with Agatha Beins. She is currently working on a book entitled One Woman, Two Lives: Gender, Class and Sexuality in 20th Century America.

Karen Krahulik is the Associate Dean of the College for Upperclass Studies at Brown University. She holds a B.A. in religion from Princeton University and a M.A. and Ph.D. in History from New York University. She has held academic appointments at Harvard, NYU, and Duke University and in 1996 she founded the Provincetown Oral History Project. Krahulik has published articles and book reviews in The Journal of American History; Peace and Change: A Journal of Peace Research; The Journal of Homosexuality; and The Committee on Gay and Lesbian History Book Review and she is the author of Provincetown: From Pilgrim Landing to Gay Resort (2005).

Mimi McGurl holds a MFA from the University of California, Irvine and a Ph.D. from Stanford University. Her dissertation "S/he's Her Own Man" examines women playing men's parts on the theatrical stage. She has taught at New York University, Mills College, and the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. Her essays have been published in Theater (Yale UP) and in Opposite Sex (NYU Press). In addition to her academic work, McGurl has directed numerous plays including Possible Worlds (OOBR Award), Hedda Gabler, Miss Lulu Bett, FTM, and Tea and Sympathy.

Tey Meadow holds a B.A. in Psychology and Women’s Studies from Barnard College and a JD from Fordham Law School. Meadow is currently completeing a dissertation entitled “Rainbow Nation: Democracy and the Consolidation of an LGBT Political Community in South Africa, 1976-2006,” to complete a Sociology Ph.D. at New York University.

Leisa Meyer is an Associate Professor of History and American Studies at the College of William & Mary. She is the author of Creating G.I. Jane: Sexuality and Power in the Women's Army Corps During World War II (1996) and is currently working on Knowing Sex: A History of Sexuality in America Since World War II. She is also an associate editor for the Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History and Culture (2003).

Joanne Meyerowitz is a noted professor of history and is the author of How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States (2002) and the editor of History and September 11th (2003) and Not June Cleaver (1994).

Kevin P. Murphy is a history professor at the University of Minnesota and Holds a Ph.D. in U.S. History from New York University. His publications include include Political Manhood: Red Bloods, Mollycoddles, and the Politics of Progressive Era Reform (Columbia, 2008); "Socrates in the Slums: Homoerotics, Gender, and Settlement House Reform" in Laura McCall and Donald Yacovone, eds., A Shared Experience: Men, Women and Gender in U.S. History (New York University Press, 1998) and "Walking the Queer City," Radical History Review 62 (Spring 1995).

Joan Nestle is one of the co-founders of Lesbian Herstory Archives now located in Brooklyn, New York and the recipient of numerous Lambda Literary Awards. Activist and scholar, Nestle is the author of A Restricted Country (1987) and A Fragile Union (1998) and is the editor for numerous works including The Persistent Desire: A Femme-Butch Reader (1992), Sister and Brother: Lesbians and Gay Men Write about Their Lives Together (1994) with John Preston, and GENDERqUEER: Voices from beyond the Binary (2002) with Riki Wilchins and Clare Howell.

Esther Newton is Professor Emerita of Anthroplogy at Purchase College. A pioneer in lesbian and Gay Studies, Newtons works include Mother Camp: Female Impersonators in America (1972); Cherry Grove, Fire Island: Sixty Years in America's First Gay and Lesbian Town (1993); Margaret Mead Made Me Gay: Personal Essay, Public Ideas (2000)

Tavia Nyong’o is an Assistant Professor in Performance Studies at New York University. A cultural historian focused on racial formation in the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries, He has lectured extensively in the U.S. and abroad, and has published reviews and essays in Social Text, Theatre Journal, GLQ, TDR, and Women and Performance. His book, The Amalgamation Waltz: Antebellum Genealogies of the Hybrid Future is forthcoming.

Pauline Park is chair of the New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy (nyagra.com) and led the campaign for the transgender rights law enacted by the New York City Council in 2002. Park has an M.Sc. in European studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has written widely on LGBT issues (paulinepark.com) and has conducted transgender sensitivity training sessions for a wide range of government agencies, social service providers and community-based organizations.

Horacio N. Roque Ramirez completed his Ph.D. in Comparative Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley in 2001 and is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is has contributed articles to the Journal of the History of Sexuality, the Oral History Review, CORPUS: An HIV Prevention Publication, and is co-author of Archive Stories: Evidence, Experience, and History (2005).

Marc Stein is an associate professor of history at York University in Toronto and the director of York's Sexuality Studies Program. He is the author of City of Sisterly and Brotherly Loves: Lesbian and Gay Philadelphia, 1945-1972 (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2000) and the editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History in America (2003). He is the former editor of Gay Community News in Boston and the former chair of the Committee on Lesbian and Gay History, an affiliated society of the American Historical Association. He is completing a book entitled The U.S. Supreme Court's Sexual Revolution? 1965-1973.

Saskia Scheffer, photographer and information professional, is the Head of the Digital Imaging Unit at New York Public Library and is an active member of the Lesbian Herstory Archives in Brooklyn

Polly Thistlethwaite is an Associate Professor and Associate Librarian for Public Services at the CUNY Graduate Center. She has worked extensively with the Lesbian Herstory Archives, and she was recently awarded a PSC/CUNY Research Grant to study GLBT public history in Berlin.

Sharon Ullman is an Associate Professor and Chair of the of History Department at Bryn Mawr College who specializes in 20th-century America with an emphasis on popular culture and gender. She is the author of Sex Seen: The Emergence of Modern Sexuality in America (1997) and co-edited Sexual Borderlands: Constructing an American Sexual Past (2003) with Kathleen Kennedy

Leila J. Rupp is Professor of Women's Studies and Associate Dean of Social Sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her books include A Desired Past: A Short History of Same-Sex Love in America (1999) and, with Verta Taylor, Drag Queens at the 801 Cabaret (2003). She is currently writing a book entitled Sapphistries: A Global History of Love Between Women.

C. Todd White holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Southern California and is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of anthropology at James Madison University and Lead Ethnographer for Rutgers University Libraries. He is the secretary/treasurer for the The Homosexual Information Center and co-edited Before Stonewall: Activists for Gay and Lesbian Rights in Historical Context (2003). His book Pre-Gay L.A.: A Social History of the Movement for Homosexual Rights will be published by the University of Illinois Press in the spring of 2009.

OutHistory New York City-Area Collective

In response to a call for people interested in forming a face-to-face, New York City-area collective, to support the work of the site, a meeting of interested people was held on June 28, 2008. The Collective makes possible types of discussions about the site that are best held in person.

Website Design

The site was first designed and developed by Cidamon

Now it is being maintained by SiteBully, a website maintenance division of Cidamon.

History of OutHistory.org

In the 1980s, while working as secretary to the contract director of a major educational publisher, Jonathan Ned Katz first learned to use a computer, and fantasized that this huge, multi-floor office was actually a "gay history factory," and that the hundreds of people working busily in cubicles were actually researchers, paid to dig up forgotten bits of the LGBTQ past. The present LGBTQ history website is the realization of Katz's history factory dream.

In 2003, a friend of Katz's, Barbara Todd Kerr, who worked as a producer at Mediapolis, a website development company, introduced him to Mediapolis founder and director Carl Pritzkat. Katz asked Pritizkat if his company would create, pro bono, a website on LGBTQ history. Prtizkat suggested the name OutHistory.org and began developing the site, to which Katz began to add content.

In 2004, while Katz was teaching at Yale University, the first version of OutHistory.org went on line, featuring a detailed, original biography of a Yale major donor, the lawyer John William Sterling and his live-in companion of 40 years, James Bloss. (That biography now appears on the present OutHistory.org.)

Jonathan Ned Katz's Proposal to Develop OutHistory.org

In December, 2004, Katz submitted a proposal to Marcia Gallo, then a program officer at the Funding Exchange, that asked for support to develop OutHistory.org. (See: Jonathan Ned Katz: Proposal to Develop a Web Site on LGBTQ History, December 13, 2004.)

In 2005, a grant of $5,000 from the Zebra Fund via the Funding Exchange, through the generosity of the late Joan R. Heller and her partner, Dr. L. Diane Bernard, encouraged Katz to investigate the various commercial and non-commercial ways to go about funding a much more complex site and supporting it over the long run.

The grant also encouraged Katz to formulate an agenda to discuss the development of the site and to call a meeting of interested people. About a dozen people, mostly archivists, met at his house on February 4, 2006. Richard Wandell, founder and director of the National Museum and Archive of Lesbian and Gay History, in New York City, ended a long and useful discussion by suggesting that Katz needed to draft a complete vision statement for the website.

On March 1, 2006 Katz submitted a proposal to develop OutHistory.org to the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies, then directed by Paisely Currah.

On March 26, 2006, before the CLAGS board had met to discuss taking on the OutHistory project, Katz emailed Urvashi Vaid, then director of the Arcus Foundation, with his proposal to develop the LGBT history site. Katz met with Vaid, discussed the website proposal, and received an encouraging response.

The CLAGS board voted to support the project for two years if funding for it could be secured. Katz drafted a proposal to Arcus and Sara Ganter, then the development director of CLAGS redrafted it and submitted it to Arcus. At the end of 2006, that foundation approved a grant of $50,000 a year for two years (2007-2008) to develop the site.

CLAGS hired a first Project CoordinatorIn for the site, James Arnette, and in June 2007 an OutHistory advisors meeting was attended by about twenty women and men. Other advisors agreed to join an email advisory committee. After investigating various website development companies CLAGS hired Cidamon.com to do that work, and the present prototype is the result. After Arnett, Lynley Wheaton was hired as Project Coordinator and in June 2008 Lauren Gutterman took over the position until late in 2011.

OutHistory.org officially went on line on October 21, 2008, and was celebrated at a party at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center in New York City. A second OutHistory Advisors' Meeting was held on February 4, 2009, during the annual conference of the American Historical Association, in New York City.

The Arcus Foundation gave OutHistory a second grant to support the site and to award prizes for the five best entries in a "Since Stonewall" contest. Participants in the contest were asked to write the local LGBT histories of villages, towns, counties, and cities across the United States since 1969 and about 30 new entries were produced. This contest was announced in June 2009, in celebration of that year's 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, and the contest winners were announced in June 2010.

University of Illinois, Chicago

At the end of 2011, John D'Emilio at the University of Illinois, and Jennifer Brier, at the same university, became the new co-directors of OutHistory.org, with Jonathan Ned Katz as a collaborator. The directors are studying websites with the aim of redesigning OutHistory to make it much more user friendly for content creators and appealing to general users seeking information.

Becker, Rooney, Zhang Report

On June 10, 2010, after much research and many interviews, three students at the Yale University business school, Douglas Becker, John Rooney, and Adam Zhang, submitted to OutHistory.org an ambitious, detailed report titled "OutHistory's Strategic Planning Guidelines from Vision to Implementation." This contained numbers of excellent ideas, including an analysis of OutHistory by Teddy Goff, of Blue State Media, the company responsible for the very successful Obama website fundraising effort. (This report is available upon request.)

Lauren Gutterman's Report

In November 2010, Lauren Jae Gutterman, then the project coordinator for OutHistory, published "OutHistory.org: An Experiment in LGBTQ Community History-Making", in the Public Historian, a journal. This article describes making of this public history Web site. OutHistory.org uses MediaWiki software to compile community-created histories of LGBTQ life in the U.S. and to make the insights of LGBTQ history broadly accessible. Gutterman explains how the public history project employs digital history to collect, advance, and project LGBTQ history, and how it serves as a model for other interactive history Web sites.[1]

Rena Katz's Report

In 2011, at the suggestion of Shana Agid, CLAGS/OutHistory board member and an Assistant Professor in Art, Media and Technology at Parsons the New School of Design, Rena Katz, a Master of Fine Arts, Parsons produced a Power Point report titled "OutHistory.org: Site Survey and Update Suggestions". (This Power Point report is available upon request.)

OutHistory.org Slogans

Please suggest new slogans to communicate the vision and mission of OutHistory.org to document the LGBTQ and heterosexual past, and to engage the public in this salvage work.

  • OutHistory.org: The First Reality Show
  • OutHistory.org: History from the Community Up
  • OutHistory.org: The History of the Present
  • OutHistory.org: It's About Time!
  • OutHistory.org: It's Timely!
  • OutHistory.org: Learn Something New, Share Something Old
  • OutHistory.org: Making the Past Present
  • OutHistory.org: Preserving the Past to Understand the Present
  • OutHistory.org: The Real Reality Show
  • OutHistory.org: Recalling the Past to Understand the Present
  • OutHistory.org: The Story of LGBTQ People by LGBTQ People
  • OutHistory.org: Telling Time
  • OutHistory.org: The Time of Our Lives
  • OutHistory.org: Today's News, Tomorrow's History
  • Remember: OutHistory is Your History!


  1. Lauren Jae Gutterman, "OutHistory.org: An Experiment in LGBTQ Community History-Making", Public Historian, November 2010, volume 32, Issue 4, pages 96-109. ISSN 02723433. Call Number 57660001. DOI 10/1525/tph.2010.32.4.96. Library Catalog: EBSCOhost.