This project began under the auspices of Odyssey Youth Center. Then director Ramon Alvarez and Maureen “Mo” Nickerson, who worked at Odyssey in various capacities, thought that community elders could serve as helpful role models for Odyssey youth. Ms. Nickerson led a team that conducted and transcribed the initial set of interviews in 2006-07. That collection, known as “The Queer History Project,” is housed at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture in Spokane, Washington.
In 2012, Laura S. Hodgman, professor of history at Eastern Washington University, became interested in continuing the project and Ms. Nickerson assisted her in taking up where “The Queer History Project” left off. Initially, Hodgman transcribed and edited materials from “The Queer History Project” that remained available only in audio format. She then went on to interview additional members of the community during 2012-14, using the title “Spokane’s Pride: An LGBT Oral History.” The title is intended to hold a dual meaning, implying both that Spokane has not always seemed proud of its LGBT citizens, and also that there is much to be proud of. Eventually, full transcripts of the interviews from 2012-14 will be made available to other researchers through the Washington State Digital Archives.
On this website, we present material from both sets of interviews. The interviewers’ questions have been omitted to better provide fuller, flowing narrations that focus on the stories being told. When necessary, we protect the identity of specific individuals by using pseudonyms or masking relationships (substituting “relative” for a more specific relationship, for example). Narrators were given an opportunity to review written transcripts of their interviews and make needed corrections. At times, some negotiation was required to ensure the integrity of both the narrators’ intentions and the historical record. The text as it appears here sometimes has been lightly rearranged, or blended from more than one interview. However, with the exception of clarifying text that appears in brackets, the words are the narrators’ own.
This is a website in progress. More than 35 individuals have been interviewed, but they don’t all appear here yet. Please check back now and then to see what is new.
Our heartfelt thanks to:
Our Narrators—for taking the time and having the courage to share your experiences with the public; you have been wonderful life teachers; thank you for trusting us with your stories.
Anonymous Individuals—who talked off the record, but who nonetheless provided context and understanding.
Marvo Reguindin, Karena Kliefoth, Sierra VanderHoogt and Thinking Cap Communications & Design—for website development and design.
The History Department at Eastern Washington University—for providing funding for transcription. For another interesting local history project produced by our department, please see Spokane Historical.
The Northwest Institute for Advanced Study—for providing funding for transcription.
J. Zander—for being a terrific transcriptionist.
The following individuals for sharing their photograph collections: Marvo Reguindin, Steve Rodenbough, Deena Romoff, Dawn Spellman, Katie Urbanek, and Peter Williams.