Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Archivist talks documenting leather, S&M and fetishism history
by Charlsie Dewey
2016-04-19

This article shared 5204 times since Tue Apr 19, 2016
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


For more than four decades, Gayle Rubin has been uncovering documents and artifacts pertaining to leather, S&M and fetishism culture, ensuring this important piece of history isn't lost to time.

Rubin—who is an archivist and associate professor of anthropology and women's studies at the University of Michigan—didn't set out to become one of the country's top archivists of these materials. Instead, her work led her down that path.

In 1978, while working on her dissertation on gay male leather subculture in San Francisco she found the source material necessary for her work substantially lacking.

"The research institutions that normally would collect archival materials on which scholars could base their research just didn't collect this material," Rubin said.

She noted that was the case for most LGBTQ materials.

"I got involved doing research first on lesbian history in the early 1970s, then on gay history more generally, and then on leather history toward the late 1970s, and at that time, there were very few collections of primary source material in any of these areas," she said.

"When I first went to San Francisco to do research there, the major research libraries in the Bay Area didn't even have copies of the major gay newspapers. They just didn't collect those types of materials."

As a result, Rubin and others doing similar work began accumulating source materials themselves.

Rubin said that accumulation proved challenging.

First, she noted, as with any attempt to document history, many of the documents and artifacts were naturally lost to time.

"Any kind of documentary material that is produced in almost any situation on this planet only survives partly by accident and partly because there are resources available to preserve it," Rubin said.

"Even where materials are durable or there is an institution to take care of them, there are the problems of wars and fires. The library of Alexandria burned and a lot of material is lost every time there is a war."

Rubin said when it comes to sexual histories or other stigmatized histories there are additional challenges that come into play as well.

"A lot of people didn't save material because they thought it wasn't important or they were embarrassed by it," she said.

She also noted the impact of the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s on material preservation.

"A lot of the people who were dying were too young to have thought about making a will or appointing someone to have legal authority to manage their estate," Rubin said. "A lot of families came in and either didn't know what the stuff was or were embarrassed by it, so a lot of it got thrown away.

"One organization with which I was involved at the time was called the San Francisco Lesbian and Gay History Project. We were out doing salvage operations, trying to save what we could from this wave of loss and destruction that was happening, not just to the individuals, but to the histories of the communities in which they'd been a part."

Rubin said it is particularly important for minority communities to preserve their histories.

"If you don't have that ability to produce, preserve and make accessible the documentary and artifactual remains of any human project, it tends to vanish very quickly and then people don't know it ever happened.

"With gay history, a lot has been lost. A lot of young gay people were under the impression they were the first individuals on the planet to ever have these feelings or to try to articulate and express them, because the histories had not been adequately preserved."

By preserving the histories of the LGBTQ community and its many subcultures over time, Rubin said, "We could situate ourselves better historically, intellectually and socially, and have some understanding of who we were and where we were in the world."

That knowledge also provides a source of power for present-day movements.

"Knowledge is a form of power and without it, one is lacking some really key tools for functioning in the world and certainly for certain social and political and moral agendas," Rubin said.

Rubin will share her knowledge as an archivist and anthropologist on Saturday, April 23, in Chicago at the Leather Archives & Museum, 6418 N. Greenview Ave.

Rubin said she will talk about the challenges early scholars faced in locating and assembling source materials related to LGBTQ history as well as about her specific collection of leather, S&M and fetishism, which she has accumulated through her projects.

The presentation, "Archival Fetishism: Decades of Documenting Leather History," will begin at 3 p.m. n Saturday, April 23, at the Leather Archives & Museum, 6418 N. Greenview Ave. Doors will open at 2:30 p.m. Member admission is free; general admission is $10. Tickets will be available at the door or at www.leatherarchives.org/adminticket.html .


This article shared 5204 times since Tue Apr 19, 2016
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Few LGBTQ nods from the Emmys even as RuPaul makes TV history
2021-09-21
Netflix's The Crown and Apple TV+'s Ted Lasso were among the big winners as the Television Academy presented its 2021 Emmy Awards on Sept. 19 in Los Angeles. While the Academy had drawn praise for the ...


Gay News

Equality Illinois 'deeply troubled' by investigation into pro-LGBTQ teacher
2021-09-20
Equality Illinois issued a press release stating it is "deeply troubled" after a DuPage County teacher is being investigated for posts about LGBTQ history and racial justice. The videos, which were reposted to Twitter in early ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Carl Bean dies, LGBT History Month, military events, Dykes on Bikes
2021-09-19
Archbishop Carl Bean—an openly gay former Motown singer, longtime AIDS activist and leader in the LGBTQ church movement—died at age 77, The New York Daily News reported. In a statement entitled "The Giant Sleeps," the Unity ...


Gay News

Affirming Powerhouse Church establishes permanent home in Chicago
2021-09-18
Powerhouse Church has come a long way in a decade. Out Pastor Keith McQueen recently told Windy City Times about the church's history. "We actually started in Indianapolis in 2012, and after a series of supernatural ...


Gay News

Polis marriage marks first same-sex wedding of sitting governor
2021-09-17
On Sept. 15, Colorado Democratic Gov. Jared Polis wed longtime partner Marlon Reis—marking the first same-sex marriage of a sitting U.S. governor, NPR reported. Polis keeps making history. In 2018, Polis became the first openly gay ...


Gay News

Chicago Dance History Project moving to Ruth Page Center
2021-09-17
Chicago Dance History Project (CDHP)—which investigates, documents and presents the individual and institutional past of Chicago dance—plans to move into The Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St., as an artist in residence. ...


Gay News

WNBA names 25 greatest players in history
2021-09-06
On Sept. 5, the WNBA commemorated its landmark 25th season by announcing the selection of "The W25"—a collection of the 25 greatest and most influential players in WNBA history, according to a press release. The unveiling ...


Gay News

Filmmakers debut Latinx-centered pandemic documentary
2021-08-06
Community members gathered at Chicago History Museum (CHM) July 22 for the debut of the locally produced documentary Seguimos Aqui: Pride, Pandemic and Perseverance as well as a conversation with that film's primary collaborators. Seguimos Aqu ...


Gay News

NBC Sports apologizes for misgendering Olympian; GLAAD responds
2021-07-27
GLAAD responded to media coverage of the first several days of the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo, including the misgendering of Team USA skateboarder Alana Smith. Smith made Olympic history July 25 as the first ...


Gay News

Plaque added to childhood home of Emmett Till
2021-07-26
On what would have been Civil Rights icon Emmett Till's 80th birthday on July 25, his childhood home in Chicago's West Woodlawn neighborhood received a historic landmark plaque, CBS Chicago reported. The plaque recognizes Till and ...


Gay News

Gina Ortiz Jones, Shawn Skelly confirmed by U.S. Senate; both make LGBTQ history
2021-07-22
--From a press release - Washington, DC — The United States Senate today confirmed two historic LGBTQ presidential nominees by unanimous consent. Gina Ortiz Jones, confirmed for Under Secretary of the Air Force, will be the first out lesbian to serve ...


Gay News

Hockey prospect makes history by coming out
2021-07-20
Just weeks after the first active pro-football came out as gay, a professional hockey prospect has done the same. Nashville Predators prospect Luke Prokop has come out as gay, becoming the first active player under contract ...


Gay News

Trans model makes history with SI Swimsuit cover
2021-07-19
On July 19, Sports Illustrated (SI) Swimsuit announced this year's cover models: rapper Megan Thee Stallion, tennis player Naomi Osaka and model/actress Leyna Bloom—each making history in her own way. A press release sent to Windy ...


Gay News

'Pose' makes history with Emmy nominations
2021-07-13
On July 13, the Emmy-winning father-daughter duo Ron Cephas Jones (This Is Us) and Jasmine Cephas Jones (#FreeRayshawn) unveiled the nominations for the 73rd Emmy Awards—and the FX show Pose made history. Not only is Pose ...


Gay News

Local film about Latinx community and COVID to screen July 22
2021-07-12
On Thursday, July 22, at 6 p.m., the Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark St., will host a screening of the film Seguimos Aqui. This documentary tells four unique stories of the impact of COVID on ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.