2015 Community Pioneers Announced

The Rainbow History Project is honored to announce its 2015 Community Pioneers. These tenacious and creative individuals played vital and instrumental roles in establishing and sustaining the D.C. LGBT community. The Pioneers will be celebrated at a free and open event.

Thursday, May 14, 2015 | 6:30 PM

Thurgood Marshall Center, 1816 12th Street, NW, | Washington, DC

RSVP appreciated (events@rainbowhistory.org)


The 2015 Community Pioneers are:

  •  Jonathan Blumenthal and Eric Cohen, founders of Burgundy Crescent Volunteers
  •  Ruby Corado, transgender activist and founder of Casa Ruby
  •  Wallace Corbett, AIDS educator
  •  Kathleen DeBold, Mautner Project and Lambda Literary Awards administrator
  •  Atul Garg and Yassir Islam, founders of KhushDC
  •  Annette “Chi” Hughes, founding member of Sapphire Sapphos and AIDS educator
  •  Susan Silber, trailblazer in LGBT–friendly family law in the D.C. area
  •  Jill Strachan, leader of local LGBT arts organizations
  •  Michele Zavos, groundbreaker in LGBT-friendly family law in the D.C. area

The RHP also will recognize the work of a deceased community ally:

  •  Annie Kaylor, Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse


New volunteers joined at our annual meeting!

On Tuesday, March 31, 2015, we held our Annual Meeting at the DC Center.

We discussed our recent activities (feel free to read our 2014 annual report!) .

Several new volunteers signed up to assist with conducting oral histories, archiving documents, or public programs.  The reception was a great time to chat with friends old and new!

If you missed the opportunity to attend and are interested in getting involved, please let us know (info@rainbowhistory.org).

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Board members discuss plans for the future

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New volunteers sign up to stay involved

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One-on-one questions with volunteers and friends

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Members share stories of what they are interested in learning

Annual Meeting: Tuesday, 31 March 2015!

We’ve scheduled our annual membership meeting and it is open to all who are interested!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015 | 6:30 PM

The DC Center  2000 14th Street, NW | Washington, DC

This is an opportunity to connect with volunteers new and old, artifact donors, oral history narrators, community elders, and all those interested in LGBT community history.  Also, if you haven’t renewed your membership in a while, this is a great opportunity to fill out the membership form and pay your dues (in the column on the right!).

We’ll have refreshments and hope you can join to learn about our recent activities, our plans for the coming year, and ways you can be involved!

2014 Annual Report released

We’ve just published our 2014 Annual Report, and it was a phenomenal year to review! You can read the entire report here (2014) or download it and previous years’ reports from our “About Us” page.

Our 2014 accomplishments—an expanded volunteer corps, more efficient and effective website, growing oral history and physical document collections—leave us well positioned to provide even greater service in 2015 and beyond.  Some highlights from 2014 include:

  • New collections received, processed, and available for researchers
  • Public events, panel discussions, and walking tours for hundreds of community members
  • More oral histories have been collected to preserve vital community stories
  • We helped more researchers than ever to access materials about our history

Looking forward to 2015 and beyond, we can say our collaborative efforts are growing: board member Bonnie Morris is coordinating with Erin Hawkins and Denise Bump to present a panel on “Lost Lesbian Spaces in DC,” which will be take place during June at the Library of Congress and be co-sponsored by the Library of Congress GLOBE.  As our collections gain recognition, more community leaders have approached us about donating their papers and more and more researchers are turning to us as a source for historical DC LGBT documents.  It looks like a phenomenal year ahead!

“LGBTQ Life in DC” discussion at DC Public Library

District of Change: LGBTQ Life in D.C. Then and Now

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 | 7:00 PM

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library 901 G Street, NW | Washington, DC

RSVP to districtofchange-lgbtq.eventbrite.com or call 202.727.1183

For decades the LGBTQ community has been a vibrant and prominent part of life in the District. From Frank Kameny’s fight against the lavender scare of the 1950s to marriage equality and the #TransRespect campaign in the new millennium, LGBTQ life in D.C. has changed dramatically. Just how different is LGBTQ D.C. from its historic roots and where is today’s LGBTQ community going?

Join us for a discussion on the past, present, and future of LGBTQ life in the District with moderator Mark Joseph Stern, writer on LGBTQ issues for Slate, in discussion with panelists:
Andrew Sullivan, founder and editor, The Daily Dish.
Philip Pannell, spokesperson and community activist for the gay community, citizens of Ward 8, and civil libertarians across the District.
Loraine Hutchins, bisexual and feminist author, activist, and sex educator.


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Northern Virginia Pride Festival

On Sunday, October 5, 2014, the inaugural Northern Virginia Pride Festival was held at the Bull Run Special Events Center in Centreville, VA.

Rainbow History Project board members staffed a booth and presented information about NOVA related materials in our collections, our efforts collecting histories for the entire metropolitan area, and our excitement to be at the first NOVA Pride!

A special highlight was the appearance of Senator Mark Warner who posed with our booth encouraged us to keep up the project!

Check out the website of NOVA Pride to learn more.

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Oral History Training Documents Online

In July and September Rainbow History Project have trained 12 new volunteers to record oral history interviews with members of the community. We also had interest from many people who will attend future sessions (TBD). If you are interested in becoming a volunteer interviewer, please let us know!

Training documents for conducting oral history interviews are posted online:

Oral History Training Packet

Oral History Narrator Permissions

Oral History Volunteer Release

If you would like to have your story included in the archives of the Rainbow History Project, please get in touch with us (info@rainbowhistory.org)

Archiving Session: Newsletters and Fliers

On Saturday, 23 August 2014, a group of volunteers met at the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. to work on the “Newsletters and Fliers o the LGBT Community” collection. Valuable community materials collected by the former Gay Community Center of Washington DC, this collection has hundreds of newsletters from over 50 different community organizations.

We are still in the process of organizing the material, describing it, and placing it in archival containers. Some of the newsletters have also been scanned and posted online in our catalog. View those items from “Newsletters and Fliers of the LGBT Community.”






Redesigned Website Launches!

Welcome to the new rainbowhistory.org!  We have re-launched our site with an entirely new architecture that will help us more easily update pages, announce new developments, and share artifacts and documents–everything you loved before is still here, too! It’s just living in a new home.

This new site is going to help us grow in a few ways:

  • The new site is a blog with information and posts about our activities, current events, or research projects.
  • The collections catalog contains descriptions of documents, images, and recordings we’ve collected over the years–including any digitized historic material!
  • New exhibitions galleries contain online presentations of artifacts alongside expert analysis–a virtual museum!

Welcome to the new site!  Please take a tour and feel free to share any feedback!



Rainbow History at 2014 Capital Pride Street Festival

The Rainbow History Project team participated in the 2014 Capital Pride Street Festival. We shared a booth with our archival partner, The Historical Society of Washington, D.C., which covered the enrollment costs. Dozens of people signed up to participate in our oral history program, and countless more took an LGBT DC History Quiz, reviewed artifacts on display, and received brochures of our historic walking tours.  

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Above right, Rainbow History Project board member Bonnie Morris (seated) and Historical Society of Washington staff member Adam Lewis (facing camera) welcome visitors at the Capital Pride Street Festival. Above right, memorabilia on display inside the booth. Photos by Richard Haight.