Come join us for EMU’s inaugural LGBTQ+ History Month Lecture featuring author, activist, and public historian Dr. Gregory Samantha Rosenthal. Dr. Rosenthal will be speaking about their forthcoming book Living Queer History: Remembrance and Belonging in a Southern City.
Living Queer History tells the story of an LGBTQ community in Roanoke, Virginia, a small city on the edge of Appalachia. Interweaving historical analysis, theory, and memoir, Gregory Samantha Rosenthal tells the story of their own journey—coming out and transitioning as a transgender woman—in the midst of working on a community-based history project that documented a multigenerational southern LGBTQ community.
Why are we gathering?
In many communities, people learn about their history through oral tradition from elders in their family and the broader community. Often, LGBTQ+ people do not have access to intergenerational LGBTQ+ spaces. This is in part due to how an entire generation of LGBTQ+ wisdom was lost to the AIDS epidemic and other forms of systemic violence. LGBTQ+ history is not taught in schools and rarely addressed in historical curriculum. Since 1994, October marks LGBTQ+ History Month in the United States as a time to celebrate the traces of Queer history. We are honored to invite Dr. Gregory Samantha Rosenthal to share about how they believe Queer history is a living practice. They describe how LGBTQ+ people today will not agree on what story should be told. Many people desire to celebrate the past by erecting plaques and painting rainbow crosswalks, but queer and trans people in the twenty-first century need more than just symbols—they need access to power, justice for marginalized people, spaces of belonging. Dr. Rosenthal believes in approaching the past through a lens of queer and trans survival and world-building transforms history itself into a tool for imagining and realizing a better future.
At Eastern Mennonite University, we are on our own journey given our painful