"Living Queer History: Remembrance and Belonging in a Southern City" by Gregory Samantha Rosenthal
Host: Alice Whiteside
Queer history is a living practice. Talk to any group of LGBTQ people today, and they will not agree on what story should be told. Many people desire to celebrate the past by erecting plaques and painting rainbow crosswalks, but queer and trans people in the 21st century need more than just symbols—they need access to power, justice for marginalized people, spaces of belonging. Approaching the past through a lens of queer and trans survival and world-building transforms history itself into a tool for imagining and realizing a better future.
“Living Queer History: Remembrance and Belonging in a Southern City” tells the story of an LGBTQ community in Roanoke, Virginia, a small city on the edge of Appalachia. Interweaving historical analysis, theory and memoir, Gregory Samantha Rosenthal tells the story of their own journey—coming out and transitioning as a transgender woman—in the midst of working on a community-based history project that documented a multigenerational southern LGBTQ community. Based on over forty interviews with LGBTQ elders, “Living Queer History” explores how queer people today think about the past and how history lives on in the present.
Gregory Samantha Rosenthal is associate professor of history at Roanoke College and co-founder of the Southwest Virginia LGBTQ+ History Project.
This virtual event will be hosted by Alice Whiteside, head of the Sloane Art Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill University Libraries.
This talk is part of Off the Shelf, a collaboration between the University Libraries and the UNC Press to present new works on racial and social justice in our history and our world.