Past Events…


Pride in the Park 2018/First Friday Meet & Greet @ Elmwood Park, Roanoke, Virginia, April 14-15, 2018

Members of the project hosted a table on Saturday and Sunday for the 2018 Pride in the Park festival. The booth offered reproductions of local LGBTQ newsletters, queer history zines, and more, and project members were available to answer questions and guide visitors through our new online exhibition, “Finding Each Other: Gay and Lesbian Community Organizing in Southwest Virginia, 1980-1985.” Sunday afternoon, some of the founding members of First Friday, a Roanoke-based lesbian organization founded in 1980, joined us for an intergenerational dialogue on lesbian herstory!

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To see more photos from Pride in the Park, click here!

All-Gender Gay Bowling Date Night! @ Lee Hi Lanes, Salem, Virginia, February 12, 2018

We invited community members to “queer” Lee Hi Lanes on the Monday before Valentine’s Day, on the same date & time and in the same place that Roanoke’s historic gay bowling team once met. 

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LGBT Library Grand Re-Opening! @ the Roanoke Diversity Center, January 11, 2018

After 14 months and 2700 volumes of cataloguing, the LGBTQ Memorial Library was digitized! We celebrated with a grand re-opening bash including an introduction to the new digital catalog, copies of our newest Zine fresh of the presses, and readings from local LGBTQ writers!

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To see more photos from this event, click here!



History of AIDS in Southwest Virginia: A Discussion @the Park Dance Club, Roanoke, Virginia, December 13, 2017

In honor of AIDS Awareness Month, we facilitated a discussion and story circle – we provided a handout and overview of our research on the history of the AIDS crisis in Southwest Virginia, and community members were invited to share how it affected their lives.

Community Curation Workshops @ the Roanoke Diversity Center & the Lynchburg Diversity Center, November 20 & 21, 2017

We invited LGBTQ people who lived in Roanoke, Lynchburg, & throughout Western Virginia in the early 1980s to provide feedback on a draft of our exhibition-in-progress: “Finding Each Other: Gay and Lesbian Community Organizing in Southwest Virginia, 1980-1985.”

Launch of the Old Southwest Gayborhood Walking Tour @ Roanoke, Virginia, September 17, 2017

Nearly one year in the making, we proudly launched our new Old Southwest Gayborhood Walking Tour on Sunday, September 17, 2017. A total of 16 individuals came out for the tour launch. And we raffled off a #MakeRoanokeQueerAgain hat to a lucky participant! This tour will be offered once every two months, alternating each month with the Downtown Roanoke LGBTQ History Walking Tour.

To see more photos from the walking tour, click here!


LGBTQ Picnic in the Park @ Wasena Park, September 10, 2017

When we found out that the annual Pride festival would not be held in September, as it has been since its founding in 1990, we decided to put on a re-creation of the original Pride in the Park event, a picnic at Wasena Park. The event featured distribution of reproduction 1990 Pride in the Park materials, as well as general merriment. Approximately 100 people attended the event over the course of the evening.

To see more photos from the picnic, click here!


Second Annual #MakeRoanokeQueerAgain Bar Crawl @ Roanoke, Virginia, April 28, 2017

We made Roanoke queer again with our second annual queer history bar crawl! About fifteen of us marched through the streets of downtown Roanoke from 7pm to midnight talking about forgotten queer historical sites and revisiting former-gay-bars-now-straight-bars to make them queer again!


Blacksburg LGBTQ History Workshop @ Blacksburg Public Library, April 20, 2017

Southwest Virginia LGBTQ+ History Project members presented a workshop on regional queer history in Blacksburg, using copies of Skip Two Periods (1983-1988), a lesbian newspaper from our archives.


African American LGBTQ Story Circle @ Gainsboro Branch, Roanoke Public Library, April 8, 2017

As part of our effort to expand community outreach to African American LGBTQ persons and to conduct collaborative research on queer and trans Black histories, the Southwest Virginia LGBTQ+ History Project held an African American LGBTQ Story Circle event at the Gainsboro branch library.


Librarathon! @ Roanoke LGBT Memorial Library, Roanoke Diversity Center, March 11, 2017

Southwest Virginia LGBTQ+ History Project members have continued to assist the Roanoke Diversity Center with the preservation and digitization of the nearly twenty-year-old Roanoke LGBT Memorial Library. To that end, we held a ten-hour marathon cataloging session—a Librarathon! This event included dramatic readings and performances of materials in the library’s collections.


Lynchburg LGBTQ History Workshop @ Lynchburg Diversity Center, March 7, 2017

Southwest Virginia LGBTQ+ History Project members presented a workshop on regional queer history in Lynchburg, using PALS Newsletters (1980-1983) from our archives. PALS was one of Lynchburg’s first gay support organizations.

To see more photos from the event, click here!


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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