We associate the early internet with the screech of a dial-up modem, the soft glow of a boxy monitor, or piles of free AOL CDs. But a lesser-known story is how, for LGBTQ folks, the experience of connecting online held revolutionary possibilities for not just building community but political organizing.
This talk will explore how members of early digital LGBTQ communities—particularly ones based in Washington State—used computers for everything from exploring their identity and finding love, to getting needed resources to people living with AIDS. By the end, we’ll consider the ways these histories could inspire us to rethink how and why we connect online.
Avery Dame-Griff (he/him) is a lecturer in women’s and gender studies at Gonzaga University specializing in LGBTQ studies, political organizing, and the history of technology. He founded and serves as primary curator of the Queer Digital History Project, an independent community history project cataloging and archiving pre-2010 LGBTQ spaces online. His book, The Two Revolutions: A History of the Transgender Internet, tracks how the Internet transformed transgender political organizing from the 1980s to the contemporary moment.
Dame-Griff lives in Spokane.