As LGBT people, most of us know about the large pivotal moments that have defined our history—the Stonewall riots; the early Pride marches that brought light to gay liberation, as well as the disease that ravaged our community; the fight for marriage equality: and the greater recognition of the diversity of sexual and gender identity worldwide.
But, what is often left out of the history books are the small moments that have also given color and form to our community—stories about how we brought ourselves out of the shadows; and stories about our families which were most often bound, not by blood, but by camaraderie, friendship and love. From Greenwich Village and the Castro, to Fire Island and Provincetown, and a thousand places in between, we have created loving homes, safe havens, and cultural crucibles for LGBT people and their friends.
It is so easy to let these memories about LGBT life that have made being open possible fade away. They only re-emerge when we reminisce about the past with friends, but they are never written down and will never be known by younger generations of LGBT people.
Now, more than ever, as we see a rise in bigotry, discrimination and hate across the world, we need to remind ourselves of our journey and teach those too young to remember our struggles, our celebrations, and our achievements; and to ensure that our place in today’s society is neither taken for granted, denied or diminished.
It is our hope that, through Capturing the Rainbow, we can collect and share—in pictures and words—the LGBT experience over the past few decades—before these memories slip away—to create a tapestry of stories that will become an indelible chapter in all history books. And perhaps along the way, we can reconnect with old acquaintances, and make a few new friends.
—Mike Balaban and Tom Walker