LGBT Religious Archives Network News

Newsletter #103: June 13, 2013

This month's news:

  1. Sky Anderson Interview on Web Site
  2. 40th Anniversary of Tragic Upstairs Lounge Fire
  3. Record Your Remembrance
  4. Scholarly Opportunities

1.  Sky Anderson Interview on Web Site

The newest addition to the LGBT-RAN web site is an oral history interview with the Rev. Sky Anderson, the first (in 1979) openly transgender clergy ordained in the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC). The interview dramatically records Anderson's long and excruciating journey to come to grips with his gender identity as well as to live out his faith. After finally embracing being transgender and an MCC clergy, Anderson breaks new ground in ministry and becomes an advocate for--and creates family with--persons with developmental disabilities. You can read or listen to this fascinating interview here.

Recently added to the Profiles Gallery is a biography of Wayne Bradley, long-time MCC clergy and leader in Chicago.

2.  40th Anniversary of Tragic Upstairs Lounge Fire

June 24th is the 40th anniversary of the 1973 arson fire that killed 32 persons, many of whom were members of the MCC congregation, at the Upstairs Lounge in New Orleans. The official response to investigate the fire and to identify and memorialize the victims was tepid--indicative of the marginal value of LGBT persons in that time and place. This was one of a number of hate crimes, suspicious fires and threats against LGBT communities and MCC congregations in that era.

This catastrophic event has recently been chronicled by: Johnny Townsend in a 2011 book Let the Faggots Burn; Wayne Self in Upstairs, an original dramatic musical; the Jimani web site, the New Orleans bar at the same location; and a Wikipedia entry.

Historical activist Lynn Jordan has collected a vast array of artifacts documenting the Upstairs Lounge Fire that he developed into an exhibition at MCC San Francisco. Jordan has digitized these artifacts and is now collaborating with LGBT-RAN to place this exhibition online.

Other persons with artifacts about or direct experience with the Upstairs Lounge Fire are encouraged to contact us to assist with this exhibition.

3.  Record Your Remembrance

You can assist LGBT-RAN's mission to preserve the history of LGBT religious movements by submitting a "remembrance" of someone in the Profiles Gallery whom you have known. These recollections that detail particular experiences with or observations about an LGBT religious leader from a friend or colleague are most valuable additions to the historical record. Here is a remembrance of John Gill submitted recently. This is a new remembrance of Howard Warren. Take a few moments to peruse the 350+ Profiles Gallery entries and identify any persons whom you have known well. Then take some time to write and submit remembrances of those persons.

4.  Scholarly Opportunities

The Committee on LGBT History maintains an online collection of syllabi as a resource for faculty and grad students planning courses related to LGBT history. The Committee encourages colleagues to submit syllabi for courses on the history of sexuality, gender, women, men, feminism, gender nonconformity, trans people and experiences, heterosexuality, and more; both grad and undergrad courses; and history courses as well as courses that are interdisciplinary or taught in other departments. For more info or to submit a syllabi, contact David Palmer at

The Center for Lesbian & Gay Studies offers a a variey of fellowships and awards for research and scholarship on LGBT studies. June 15th is the submissions deadline for a number of these fellowships and awards.

The LGBT Religious Archives Network News is an occasional email newsletter for persons interested in supporting the preservation of the history of LGBT religious movements. Subscribe now.