Past Events…



Anti-Heteronormative Valentine’s Day Card Making Party! @ Roanoke Diversity Center, February 6, 2017

The Southwest Virginia LGBTQ+ History Project hosted a Queer Valentines Card-Making Party at the Roanoke Diversity Center. About one dozen folks attended and made well over fifty cards, almost all of which we then mailed out to History Project donors, oral history narrators, project participants, and supporters. Thank you to everyone who has helped this project grow! We hope you love your valentines. <3


CARE Rockbridge MLK Parade @ downtown Lexington, Virginia, January 14, 2017

The Southwest Virginia LGBTQ+ History Project marched in Lexington, Virginia’s first-ever MLK Parade. The following is the History Project’s statement on the march: “We believe that queer liberation and black liberation go hand in hand. One cannot exist without the other. We, as an organization dedicated to the study of local LGBTQ history, must raise our voices against bigotry, racism, and white supremacy wherever it raises its head. Queer and trans black lives matter.”

For more photos from the march, click here!



Gay Rollerskating @ The Skate Center of Roanoke Valley, December 10, 2016

In 1978 FAIR (the Free Alliance for Individual Rights), a gay activist group in Roanoke, hosted a “Skating Party!” at the Star City Skate Center (now the Skate Center of Roanoke Valley). Afterwards, the group migrated to the Nite and Day Club (a short-lived gay bar, now Lucky) on Kirk Avenue. We decided to recreate this event. About 25 people gathered at the Skate Center for our “Gay Rollerskating” event. We distributed reproduction copies of The Virginia Gayzette (FAIR’s newspaper from 1978) and, of course, got our skate on! A few of us went to Lucky afterwards for drinks.

To see more photos from the event, click here!


Lesbian Frisbee! @ Highland Park, November 13, 2016

In 1983 the lesbian group First Friday hosted an afternoon of “Frisbee Fun!!!” in Highland Park in Roanoke. They met at the corner of Highland and 6th. We decided to recreate this event. We had hot cider and snacks, sold some reproduction Skip Two Periods t-shirts (based on a 1984 design), read  issues of Skip Two Periods (a lesbian newspaper from the 1980s), and, of course, played frisbee!

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To see more photos from the event, click here!


One-Year Anniversary Celebration & Year-Two Visioning Workshop @ Colab, Roanoke, Virginia, September 20, 2016

We celebrated our project’s one-year anniversary with a big party / workshop at the CoLab in Grandin Village in Roanoke. 22 people attended the event. During the first hour we had a potluck, socialized, and ate birthday cake. In the second hour, we heard a short presentation about the History Project’s accomplishments, then broke into five groups to brainstorm new ideas for the project’s second year.





To see more photos from the event, click here!


Launch of the Downtown Roanoke LGBTQ History Walking Tour @ Roanoke, Virginia, September 18 and 25, 2016

Nearly one year in the making, we proudly launched our new Downtown Roanoke LGBTQ History Walking Tour on two weekend days immediately following Pride in the Park. A total of 26 individuals came out for the two tours. We also raffled off two #MakeRoanokeQueerAgain hats to some lucky participants! This tour will subsequently be offered once every month.




To see more photos from the event, click here!


Pride in the Park 2016 @ Elmwood Park, Roanoke, Virginia, September 10-11, 2016

The LGBTQ+ History Project participated in our first Pride in the Park festival in Roanoke. We marched in the Pride Parade on Saturday, and we had a booth in Elmwood Park on Sunday. At our booth, folks were able to pick up literature, talk with History Project members, and explore our new exhibition in mobile format on a mounted iPad with headphones.

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To see more photos from the event, click here!


Second Annual “SWVA LGBT History Project Forum” @ The Park Dance Club, Roanoke, Virginia, September 6, 2016

Roanoke Pride, Inc. invited the LGBTQ+ History Project to collaborate once again in holding a two-hour forum on local LGBTQ history at The Park nightclub as part of “Pride Weeks.” Seven panelists spoke of their experiences coming of age (and coming out) in Southwest Virginia, and a lively discussion ensued with the audience about the importance of LGBTQ history in our local community.

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“#MakeRoanokeQueerAgain Bar Crawl” @ Roanoke, Virginia, April 29, 2016

We held a bar crawl in downtown Roanoke in which we visited the sites of six historic gay bars and talked about the history of Roanoke’s LGBTQ community. A reporter and photographer from the Roanoke Times tagged along, and you can read the story and see more photographs here.



“Test-Run of the Downtown Roanoke LGBTQ History Walking Tour” @ Roanoke, Virginia, April 10, 2016

We are planning to launch the Downtown Roanoke LGBTQ History Walking Tour in September 2016. We did a test-run of the event on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in April. 

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To see more photos from the event, click here!


“Archives Collection Event – ‘Reunion’ at The Park” @ The Park Dance Club, March 23, 2016

Roanoke Pride, Inc. hosted an Archives Collection Event for the LGBTQ+ History Project at The Park, Roanoke’s most historic gay dance club (founded in 1978). About twenty people attended the event. We collected archival donations from three new donors, and everyone participated in a story circle in which we shared our memories of what The Park used to be and brainstormed about what it can yet become!





“LGBTQ+ History Archives Kick-Off Event” @ the Roanoke Diversity Center, December 7, 2015

The Roanoke Diversity Center hosted a kick-off event for the Southwest Virginia LGBTQ+ History Project’s new physical archives initiative at the Virginia Room, Roanoke Public Library. Four donors with a few folders (and one huge box) of historical materials became the founding contributors to the Virginia Room’s new LGBTQ History Collection. Student volunteers from Roanoke College helped process the donations.

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To see more photos from the event, click here!


“Roanoke LGBT History Project: Workshop & Informational Meeting” @ the Roanoke Diversity Center, September 20, 2015

Dr. Gregory Rosenthal of Roanoke College led a workshop on LGBTQ+ history. 18 people participated and shared their ideas for what a “Roanoke LGBT History Project” might look like. Those in attendance agreed to start the Southwest Virginia LGBTQ+ History Project!

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To see more photos from the event, click here!


“Southwest Virginia LGBT History Project Forum” @ The Park, September 8, 2015

Approximately 50 people attended this event organized by Roanoke Pride, Inc. The forum featured a panel of nine members from the LGBTQ+ community talking about their life experiences, as well as answering questions from the audience.

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