A Place for Us
Queer lives and queer histories in Vermont were often kept private for good reason: the fear of losing one’s job, home, or family. The fear of violence. But it’s important to know that LGBTQ people are here, have always been here, and are part of the state’s history.
This Episode’s Featured Object:
“Proud Not Cowed” T-Shirt
Margaret Tamulonis: Any collection of LGBTQ historical material often includes Pride material because Pride is often one of the biggest festivals of the year for LGBTQ people, and the Vermont Queer Archives is no exception. For example, we have a series of buttons from different Prides in Vermont.
And then T-shirts because really, there’s no community archival collection I think without T-shirts. You see the Alison Bechdel Stonewall T-shirt…
Images: Margaret Tamulonis, volunteer curator for the Vermont Queer Archives. Margaret’s day job is serving as the Manager of Collections and Exhibitions at the Fleming Museum at the University of Vermont.
HB Lozito is the executive director of Out in the Open, which was formerly known as Green Mountain Crossroads. The organization’s mission is to connect rural LGBTQ people.
Images: Reggie Condra, producer of the Brown ‘n Out podcast, interviewing WCAX-TV reporter Connor Cyrus (right.)
After her son Ron died, Shirley Squires joined walks to raise money for the AIDS project of Southern Vermont. She has raised over $370,000. (Photo by Zachary P. Stephens/Brattleboro Reformer)
Poet Verandah Porche.
Margaret Tamulonis: I won’t be able to unfold it completely…but these banners and posters, you can see they all reflect all the different names for Pride. So let’s see…this is Vermont Lesbian and Gay Pride, 1987.
This month we’re going to do something a little different on Before Your Time. Usually we go inside the stacks at the Vermont Historical Society to look at an object. But today, we’re visiting with Margaret Tamulonis at the Pride Center in Burlington. She’s the volunteer curator for the Vermont Queer Archives.
Margaret: Certainly any collection of LGBTQ historical material often includes Pride material because Pride is often one of the biggest festivals of the year for LGBTQ people, and the Vermont Queer Archives is no exception. For example, we have a series of buttons from different Prides in Vermont. One of the treasures, I think, is this one from 1983 that says, “Water won’t run straight and neither will I,” which was the theme of that first Pride.
That first Pride parade took place in 1983 in Burlington. The banners and other objects in the Queer Archives show changes in the lives of the Vermont LGBTQ community. Such as this color postcard from the 2000s.
Margaret: Yeah, definitely after the Civil Union Law was passed. A same-sex female couple. It’s got a lovely wedding picture on it. We have a few of those.
Before Your Time is presented by Vermont Humanities and the Vermont Historical Society. This episode was produced by Ryan Newswanger, Amanda Gustin, Reggie Condra, Jonathan Butler, and Abra Clawson.
Thanks to our guests: Margaret Tamulonis, HB Lozito, Verandah Porche, and Shirley Squires. Thanks to Out in the Open for allowing us to use the oral histories they gathered about the Andrews Inn, and to the people whose stories we featured: Eva Mondon, Michael Gigante, Fletcher Proctor, and Jeremy Youst. And thanks again to Reggie’s guests: Shani Stoddard, Sasha Morrissette, Billie Miles, Mercedes Mack, Conner Cyrus, and Ita Meno.