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Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People - Archives Dept.

This guide suggests how to use the Archives Department and Special Collections to study local LGBTQ+ history. It provides recommendations for search paths and search tools, and lists some pertinent collections.

Liberation and Activism

Archives Collections:

Ben-Shalom, Miriam. Papers. UWM Manuscript Collection 237. Archives Department.
The collection contains personal papers and other documentation collected by Miriam Ben-Shalom, the first gay or lesbian member of the United States military service to be reinstated after being discharged for her sexual orientation. The collection documents Ben-Shalom's legal battles with the military, as well as the general topic of homosexuals and the military. Other materials pertain to the gay and lesbian veterans movement, feminism, and related social justice issues. View finding aid.

Gay Peoples Union. Records. UWM Manuscript Collection 240. Archives Department.
Collection consists of the records of the Gay Peoples Union (GPU), the first gay rights organization in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and one of the earliest such groups in the state. Collection documents the history of GPU from its beginnings as a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee student organization to its development as the most important gay and lesbian rights organization in Milwaukee in the 1970s. The collection also includes audio recordings of Gay Perspective, a radio program produced by GPU and broadcast on local radio stations from 1971 to 1972, and other public presentations given by GPU members as part the organization's educational mission. View finding aid.

Murray, Eldon. Papers. UWM Manuscript Collection 256. Archives Department.
Eldon Murray's papers include correspondence, photographs, writings, and files that document his pioneering role in the national gay rights movement. Collection also includes extensive clippings files compiled by Murray dating from 1947 to 1974 on the topic of homosexuality. View finding aid. View finding aid.

Shall Not Be Recognized Exhibition Records, 2007.  UWM Manuscript Collection 263. Archives Department.
In the November 2006 general election, Wisconsin voters passed a resolution to amend the state constitution to make it unconstitutional for the state to recognize or perform same-sex marriages and civil unions. In response, Will Fellows collaborated with photographer Jeff Pearcy to create Shall Not Be Recognized, an exhibit of photographic and verbal portraits of thirty same-sex couples in long-term, committed relationships. The name of the exhibit was taken from the amendment itself. Fellows conducted interviews with the couples, all residents of the Milwaukee area, and created the text for the exhibit. Pearcy conducted photo sessions with the couples and created the images for the exhibit. View finding aid.

"Some Call Them Gay." Sept. 24-28, 1973. Newsfilm. Milwaukee Journal Stations Records. Milw Mss 203. Archives Department.
A five-part series examining the gay and lesbian community in Milwaukee. Part one provides an overview of employment discrimination faced by gay men and lesbians; part two focuses on entertainment and recreation, such as dance clubs and bars, drag shows, and cruising; part three describes local efforts to organize for legal reform and oppose police entrapment; part four focuses on the "double life" of homosexuals of this period; and part five describes how gay men and lesbians are organizing for their civil rights. This footage is available for viewing in the Archives.View online.

Utke, Donna. Papers. UWM Manuscript Collection 233. Archives Department.
Collection contains works written or presented by Donna Utke, a prominent figure in Milwaukee's feminist and gay/lesbian communities, mainly during the 1970s. It includes book reviews, essays, and public and radio presentations on topics such as sexual inequality, the relationship of feminism and lesbianism, the gay and lesbian rights movement, and literature. View finding aid.

Lambda Rights Network Records, 1987-1993. UWM Manuscript Collection 208. Archives Department.
Founded in 1987, the Lambda Rights Network (LRN) was a non-profit, non-partisan corporation that advocated on behalf of lesbian and gay issues with government officials and the general public. Formed with the immediate goal of opposing state legislation that eroded the protections guaranteed to lesbians and gays under Wisconsin's Fair Employment Law, the group later dedicated itself to promoting equality in many areas: alternative families, criminal justice, health care, housing, political participation, and public accommodations. LRN sponsored "Community Speak Outs" that brought together public officials and members of the gay and lesbian community; held candidate forums for federal, state, and local races; met with public officials; gathered information about local hate crimes; and networked with other local gay and lesbian organizations. View finding aid.

Human Rights League for Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transgendered Records, 1991-1999. UWM Manuscript Collection 2010. Archives Department.
Formed in 1993, the Human Rights League (HRL) strove "to advance the political interests of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgendered in the metropolitan Milwaukee area by influencing local, state, and national politics, legislation, and public policy." HRL carried out its work through four standing committees: Public Information, Membership and Funding, National Coming Out Day, and Legislative and Public Policy. HRL surveyed electoral candidates for their positions on LGBT issues; recommended and endorsed candidates for local, state, and national elections; held annual receptions at which members of the LGBT community met with public officials; and distributed political information. In 1997, HRL formed a political action committee to raise and distribute funds in support of pro-LGBT candidates. HRL worked with the Milwaukee Police Department to train police recruits on LGBT issues. It also held two annual award programs--the Cream City Brick Awards and the National Coming Out Day Awards--that recognized the contributions of LGBT and pro-LGBT individuals, businesses, and organizations to the community. View finding aid.

Equality Wisconsin Records, 2001-2013. UWM Manuscript Collection 331. Archives Department.
Equality Wisconsin was a nonprofit, social welfare organization dedicated to securing equal rights under the law for Wisconsin's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. The organization was founded in 2001 as LGBT Center Advocates, consolidating elements of the Domestic Partnership Task Force, the Human Rights League, and the LGBT Alliance for Equality. From 2004 to 2006, it partnered with Action Wisconsin to oppose the state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions. Following the campaign, Center Advocates worked to establish domestic partner benefits for Milwaukee city employees and non-discrimination protections for transgender people.  View finding aid

Publications held by UWM Special Collections:

Call Number: (SPL Folio+) PS1 .K3x
View catalog record or view index of gay lib articles

Kaleidoscope is also available online in its entirety via the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Digital Collections.

GPU News.
Call Number: (SPL) HQ76.8.W6 G6x
View catalog record

GPU News is also available online in its entirety via the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections.

Milwaukee Calendar.
Call Number: (SPL) HQ75 .M54x
View catalog record