GLBT Center to Display Student Coming Out Narratives

Talley Student Union view from elevator

Students walk on campus by the Talley Student Union. Photo by Marc Hall

Queer ZinesThe GLBT Center is gearing up for a very busy month in October in celebration of GLBT History Month. On Tuesday, October 6, the GLBT Center will welcome Josh Burford to campus. Burford works at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where he has a split appointment as both the assistant director for sexual and gender diversity in the Multicultural Resource Center and a faculty affiliate in the Women’s and Gender Studies Program. Part of Burford’s professional training is in library science, and he does a great deal of archiving both in his professional role at UNCC and in his personal time. Last year, Burford compiled the first-ever museum exhibit of GLBT history in the south, a display entitled “LGBTQ Perspectives on Equality” that was showcased at Charlotte’s Levine Museum and that chronicled the history of Charlotte’s GLBT community.

Tomorrow, Burford will bring his expertise to NC State to provide a Forgotten Queer History lecture from 4:00-5:00 p.m. in Talley 3285, co-hosted by the Public History Program at NC State, and to facilitate a Queer Zine workshop for students from 7:00-9:00 p.m. in Talley 3285. Zines, which are small, independent and often self-published magazines, have historically served as an alternative publishing route for various communities including members of the GLBT community. According to Burford, “Zines have been a part of Queer culture for decades and have remained important because they allow underrepresented groups to have a space to voice their experiences and opinions without having to have them moderated by the majority.”

The focus of the Queer Zine workshop is to help GLBT students understand the history of zines within the GLBT community and to show students how to create their own zines. Students will be given materials and asked to turn their “coming out narratives” into zines. For some students, this might be the first time they have shared their stories with others. As Burford notes, “Zines are such an important tool for the preservation of our history because the stories captured there might only exist in that one space.  Giving young people a voice is more important now than ever.”

The GLBT Center is working with the Special Collections department at D.H. Hill Library to gather both historical and contemporary items for a new archive documenting the GLBT community at NC State. The zines that students create tomorrow will be on display in the GLBT Center throughout the month of October as part of the GLBT History Month celebration. Afterwards, the zines will be archived within Special Collections. Make sure to stop by the GLBT Center in Talley to check out the zines while they are on display.

Renee Wells is director of the NC State GLBT Center.