Office of Public Affairs

USM events to share voices of Maine’s LGBTQ community as historic anniversary approaches

Pride Parade

In advance of the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots, the University of Southern Maine is hosting several events this fall which share the stories and voices of the local LGBTQ community through visual and oral storytelling.

The USM Women and Gender Studies Program is collaborating with the USM Art Galleries and the Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine on events starting in September in Portland which shine a light on the institution of the gay bar. The events are all connected to the "Querying the Past: LGBTQ Maine Oral History Project,” which aims to preserve the voices and stories of Maine's LGBTQ community.

Under the guidance of USM Professor Wendy Chapkis (Faculty Scholar for the Sampson Center LGBTQ+ Collection), the project offers training to USM student researchers in oral history and matches them with a community member for a recorded life story. The oral interviews, in both audio and transcript form, are available to the public and to scholars at the USM Digital Commons.

Bar Stories eventThursday, September 27
“Bar Stories”
Portland Museum of Art
6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

USM Professor Wendy Chapkis presents an evening of short films including a 10 minute film focused on Macon Reed’s NYC event for her “Eulogy For The Dyke Bar” installation, and "Bar Stories," a 45 minute film made in collaboration with local filmmaker Betsy Carson and USM students (Alanna Larrivee (2017), Emma Wynne Hill (2017), and Johnna Ossie) as part of the "The Querying the Past LGBTQ Oral History Project."  The film is composed of short accounts by local LGBTQ people talking about the role that rapidly disappearing gay bars have played in their lives and in the community.

Moser photo exhibitThursday, October 25
"Going the Distance: LGBTQ Life 1974 to 2015"
Talbot Hall, USM Portland Campus
7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The Jean Byers Sampson Center's LGBTQ+ Collection (USM Special Collections) and Department of Women & Gender Studies present a digital retrospective of the work of Maine lesbian photographer W. Jo Moser.

Macon Reed
Thursday, November 15
"Eulogy for the Dyke Bar" Artist reception and storytelling event
USM Area Gallery, Woodbury Campus Center, Portland Campus
5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Meet Visiting Artist Macon Reed “at the bar” (art installation) for remarks followed by local storytelling from across generations, reflecting nuanced experiences in and around queer bars. This event is organized in conjunction with Querying the Past: Maine LGBTQ Oral History Project (Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine, LGBTQ Collection).


Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine

USM's Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine collects material documenting the ongoing histories of diverse communities. Current collections represent the African American, Jewish, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer+ communities. The Center promotes diversity and civil rights through research, education, and outreach.