Shoulders to Stand On
A Community Program

The GAGV Shoulders To Stand On Program of the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley focuses on documenting and preserving the history of the LGBT Community in the Rochester region and its impact on New York state and the nation in advancing the cause for justice and equal rights. This project gives credibility to our community and culture, and will be available to teach and inspire future generations.

Shoulders To Stand On Program has 7 initiatives:

1. Roots Chronology – Completed

2. Empty Closet Newspaper digitized, Completed 9/2010 University of Rochester

3. Volunteer project to identify headlines, people, groups, events and gay friendly establishments
through the Empty Closet Newspaper. Completed 1/2011

4. New Women’s Times Newspaper, 1978 – 1984 digitized. Completed: May, 2013

5. Each year the next 11 issues of the EC are digitized and uploaded to the U of R site. Every 5 years
The digitized copies will be microfilmed by the University of Rochester for preservation.

6. GAGV NYS Archives Documentation Project – Completed & Ongoing
Completed: Grants Awarded from the NYS Archives for 2009-2010, 2010-2011, and 2011-2012.
This initiative documented the history of the LGBT community in Rochester, New York and its influence locally and nationally. Program identified, surveyed and placed in permanent repositories 19 record collections from over 260+ gay organizations, agencies, groups and individuals who made history happen from 1969 – 2012 in Rochester, NY.
Ongoing: Since 2012, community members and organizations continue to give records to the Gay Alliance. These are surveyed, preserved, and placed in permanent repositories.

7. Writing and Publishing the History of the Rochester LGBT Community.
The successful completion of the Roots Chronology and the Documentation Project will allow the research necessary to write and publish the history of the Rochester LGBT Community to be conducted in an organized and efficient way. A rough outline for the book is in place.
Documentary Film – Shoulders To Stand On – Completed: October, 2013
Shoulders To Stand On Documentary: The History of the LGBT Rochester Community had a
Producer’s Premier and Gala on September 29, 2013 at the Dryden theatre at the George
Eastman House. The World Premier was on Saturday, October 3, 2013 at the Dryden
Theatre. WXXI Public Broadcasting aired the Documentary on Tuesday, June 3, 2014 as a
part of their member/pledge drive.
Oral Histories – Ongoing
The oral histories collected for the documentary will be shared on line through the Interactive Website Educational Kit/Resource Guide. Oral histories will continue to be collected.
Website Educational Kit/Resource Guide – Ongoing
In conjunction with the archival and documentation project, a website has been launched to engage the community in conversations about Rochester’s LGBT history. The website offers comprehensive information about the project, promotes opportunities to get involved in research and most importantly, allows people to submit their stories and/or materials that represent their own LGBT history. Upon completion of the Documentary the website will be redesigned and transformed into an educational/resource/media toolkit that will provide educators, researchers, and the general public resources for the 19 chapters of the documentary.
To be included in the Educational Resource Guide will be: a brief description of each chapter; a vocabulary list of terms, names, places; an outline of topics by chapter with resource links; links to Empty Closet issues and articles; links to oral histories with access to audio and video tapes; links to archived materials at Cornell University, Archives at University of Rochester, Leather Archives in Chicago, and the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.
Public Library initiative – Ongoing
Provides free screenings of the documentary film, “Shoulders to Stand On” in Monroe County Library and the Pioneer Library Systems of NY. The mission of this Initiative is to raise awareness, increase visibility, and inform the general public about an underserved and undocumented population in our community. By building upon the longstanding natural alliances with the local library system, the STSO Public Library Initiative will connect diverse sections of the general population, broaden our geographic reach, and strengthen partnerships between urban and suburban public libraries in the Monroe County and Pioneer Library Systems and hopefully with the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley. for the next 2 years, as a part of this initiative libraries have the opportunity to display the Forging Alliance Exhibit which documents the 40+ year history of the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley, and some of the AIDS posters from the 6,200 AIDS posters from 124 countries in 68 languages and dialects, donated to the University’s Department of Rare Books, Special Collections and Preservation by retired physician Dr. Edward C. Atwater, M.D., ’50, an emeritus professor of medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center.
These initiatives will be reviewed and updated every 2 years.

STSO: 7 initiatives

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