Rainbow History Project has hired Diedre Gray (she/her) as director of its Trans History Initiative (THI) to document the history of Trans people in the Washington area. RHP’s initiative is funded by a grant from the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs. Gray began her appointment in March.
In this contract position, over the next several months, Gray, a Trans community member, will lead a team of RHP volunteers to engage LGBTQ community members and allies to memorialize the people, places and important moments in the area’s Trans community history. Gray will collect oral histories, document places of historical significance, collect and preserve artifacts for the RHP archives, and promote greater knowledge of Trans history through community outreach and awareness.
“I believe that THI will help bring to light the amazing people from this community that otherwise may only exist at kitchen-table talks and memorial services,” Gray says.
A Black Trans woman, Gray brings several years of community experience including serving as DMV Transgender Health Coordinator for the D.C. Health Department; Digital Crisis Supervisor for The Trevor Project; and 11:00 a.m. Music Worship Director at Metropolitan Community Church, D.C. “I believe that it is important for the contributions of this community to be held close to our hearts,” Gray says. “The people, places and moments of our history have to live far beyond our time here.”
Vincent E. Slatt, RHP’s director of archiving, adds that RHP has long done trans history by honoring Trans Community Pioneers, recording oral histories, and collecting archival documents, yet the THI came about because RHP “decided we wanted to do even more of the ‘T’ in local LGBTQ history.” The grant from the Mayor’s Office allowed RHP to hire a contractor whose sole focus is recording Trans history. “After talking with Ms. Gray, we knew that she brings the right voice to share the stories of the trans community,” Slatt adds.
Gray’s leadership will be an opportunity for RHP and community volunteers to build relationships with the trans community that will outlast the FY23 grant period. When THI is complete, area residents will be able to learn about and celebrate the amazing contributions of the transgender community.
Gray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Funding for RHP’s Trans History Initiative was provided by the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs.