Documenting historical signs, tombstones, cenotaphs, plaques, and monuments from around the world, the project seeks to draw attention to the LGBTQ events and individuals under-represented or underappreciated within history. The rubbings themselves act as an archive of historic markers, calling attention to what LGBTQ events and individuals gets recolonized or legitimized through public commemoration.
Reigns stated he “conceptualized the idea after discovering the first monument to transgender hate crime victims was near my home. I started to think about all of the markers out in the world silently educating and validating the LGBT experience.”
Steven Reigns is a Los Angeles-based poet, educator, and was appointed the first Poet Laureate of West Hollywood. Alongside over a dozen chapbooks, he has published the collections Inheritance (Sibling Rivalry, 2011) and Your Dead Body is My Welcome Mat (Burning Page Press, 2001). He holds a BA in Creative Writing from the University of South Florida, a Master of Clinical Psychology from Antioch University, and is a thirteen-time recipient of The City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs' Artist in Residence Grant.
The exhibition is currently on display at University of South Florida (USF) Centre Gallery (located on the second floor of the Marshall Student Center). Sadly, the exhibition’s close will take place today at 7 p.m.
Next year a short documentary by filmmaker Michael J. Saul will be released about The Gay Rub. For more information check out the film website.
The exhibit is sponsored by the Humanities Institute at the University of South Florida and is free and open to the public. This event is cosponsored by Centre Gallery and the USF College of Arts and Sciences.
This five-foot-high plaque names several hunger strikers in 1991 who, on two occasions, occupied the grassy triangle at Santa Monica and Crescent Heights to call for AIDS medications and gay rights legislation. This is also the site of 1991 protests precipitated by California Gov. Pete Wilson’s veto of a bill banning job discrimination against homosexuals.
Marker location: Santa Monica & Crescent Heights, West Hollywood, CA
The first Major League Baseball player to come out as gay to teammates and team owners during his professional career and the first to publicly acknowledge it. Burke is credited, along with Dodgers teammate Dusty Baker, for inventing the “high-five” when Burke ran onto the field to congratulate Baker for hitting his 30th home run. Burke raised his hand over his head as Baker jogged to home base. Not knowing what to do about the upraised hand, Baker slapped it. Though he batted .237 with two home runs, 38 RBI and 35 stolen bases, it is believed homophobia ended his career. He died from AIDS-related causes in 1995.
Notable works: Player for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland Athletics from 1976 to 1979.
Marker location: Mountain View Cemetery, Plot 76, Grave 3171, in Oakland, California.
Gay bar in New Orleans French Quarter that was subject of an arson attack on June 24, 1973. Thirty-two people were killed by fire or smoke inhalation. The press was unkind to the victims and some family members refused to claim the bodies out of shame.
Marker location: 141 Chartres Street, New Orleans, LA
Dr. Hirschfeld was a sexologist and outspoken advocate for gender and sexual minorities. In 1897 he founded the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee (WHK) in Berlin, to campaign for social recognition of gay, bisexual and transgendered people, fighting against their legal persecution by the German government. WHK was the first LGBT rights organization in history. The Committee was based at the Institute for Sexual Sciences in Berlin. It was destroyed by the Nazis in 1933.
Marker location: Otto-Suhr-Allee 93, 10585 Berlin, Germany
Lyricist of "America the Beautiful", for 25 years she lived with her long-time companion, Katharine Coman. A full professor of English literature, she helped found the educational field of American Literature by creating a new college course on the subject and writing one of the first textbooks on American Literature. Bates was a social activist interested in the struggles of women, workers, people of color, tenement residents, immigrants, and poor people. She popularized the concept of Mrs. Claus in her poem "Goody Santa Claus on a Sleigh Ride" wherein Mrs. Claus is the chief organizer of Christmas Eve.
Notable works: "America the Beautiful", Yellow Clover: A Book of Remembrance, In Sunny Spain with Pilarica and Rafael
Writer, novelist, and essayist born in England who later in life became a citizen of the United States. Isherwood associated with E.M. Forster, W.H. Auden, Truman Capote, and Aldous Huxley. His relationship with artist Don Bachardy is the subject of the documentary Chris and Don. Notable work: Single Man, Berlin Stories (filmed as Cabaret), Farewell Berlin
Marker location: Nollendorfstraße_ 17, _Schoneberg, Germany