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I’m Lauren Gulbrandsen and I’m from Brooklyn, New York, originally.
I never really felt like being gay was so political until I went to the Archives — the Lesbian HerStory Archives — for the first time. It’s just like a magical kind of place. It’s an archive, it’s like a library of all lesbian-specific books and articles and pictures and videos and just going through all that stuff and realizing the shoulders that I’m standing on, and all the work that people did so I can be where I am and gay youth can be where they are.
When I first went there, I walked in and I was like, first of all, how did I not know this existed and secondly I didn’t even know where to begin because you walk in and it’s like books, and you’re like, “Okay, books…” and you don’t really realize that there’s so much more than just books there.
The first box that I opened was probably the Lesbian Avengers box, which is like this fierce, radical dyke activist group. And being able to actually touch their banners and listen to the tape from the answering machine — like hateful shit on the answering machine. So I’d just read an article, I mean, that’s cool too, reading an article about an organization but actually being able to hold the stuff they held, you know, feel the shirts that they wore, things like that I really like. And you’re able to do that there, so it’s just really inspiring to keep that momentum going and keep fighting the good fight for gay rights and lesbian rights and queer rights in general. And through that I kind of got involved with the Dyke March, also which happens every year which happens the last Saturday every June. And being part of the Dyke March is also how I keep in touch with my political queer side and marching with all those women down 5th Avenue is just the most amazing feeling to me.
I think there was this moment, actually, there was this moment at the Dyke March, I was standing on this rock right near my favorite building in New York which is the Flatiron Building and I was just watching this sea of women and I was helping to lead this sea of women that were just fierce and screaming and rambunctious and all that good stuff, just leading them in just trying to find where all the marshals were and taking care of everyone there who was involved. It was just really rewarding to me to start and finish with this amazing march.
I’m From Clear Lake, TX – Featured Artist. “I’ll think about how much has changed through all those summers, how I can barely recognize the kid still living for others. For the first time I’ll fully realize that I’m living right inside history, this coming change; that I get to be a part of the generation that made it happen and it’s worth all the temporary anger in the world. But right now it’s summer in New York and I’m watching the parade go by with my friends and thousands more, people who will be right there with me when we make it happen, people with clingy sweaty t-shirts and soaked hair, people for whom I have a fierce pride in my heart; and it’s wet and sticky and gross outside but all I see is sunshine, sunshine, sunshine.”
I’m From New York, NY. – Video Story “In the early 70s it was against the law for same-sex couples to dance in any establishment that had a cabaret license. So we went to–six of us–went to the Rainbow Room, top of Rockefeller Center and we went as man-woman, man-woman, man-woman and we were dancing, while a woman was singing a rather slow song, and midway through we switched partners and I was dancing with this guy. And management came over and they didn’t know what to do because we had alerted the press.”
I’m From West Palm Beach, FL. “My best friend and I become President and Vice President of our Equality Alliance club and our main goal was to make our campus more of a GLBT friendly place. We got support from a lot of our faculty members; however, we rarely had any student participation at our events. It didn’t matter to us though because we still had a core group of members who always helped us get our message across to the campus. We hosted everything from National Coming Out Day events to movie night to guest speakers to Day of Silence events in April. Our main goal was to make the campus aware of what was going on, even if they did not want to participate in these events.”