A local group of volunteers has begun a project to preserve the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer (GLBTQ+) history of the Quad Cities. This project began shortly after Joyce Wiley, a local social activist in the GLBTQ+ community passed away in June of 2020. Joyce’s long-time friend Kathy Bowman was talking with Joyce’s husband Jack and the conversation turned to how much GLBTQ+ history disappeared with Joyce and how it would be great to preserve it for the benefit of future generations.

Local group working to preserve GLBTQ+ history of the Quad-CitiesThe project is currently holding interviews of current and former GLBTQ residents of the Quad Cities area to collect their stories of growing up, coming out and living in the QCA. Allies, volunteers, community activists and religious and spiritual leaders who have been active in the GLBTQ community are also being interviewed.

In addition, the group is seeking documents, articles, pictures, videos, memorabilia, etc. related to the GLBTQ+ history. Examples are pictures from important events, newspaper articles, TV interviews, pictures of the gay bars that have come and gone, etc. Of particular interest to the group is any items that help show a side of GLBTQ+ life in the Quad Cities that otherwise may be forgotten.

The interviews and memorabilia will be archived by the Putnam Museum and the Davenport Library. It is hoped that once the work of collecting is complete, that some of the collection will be exhibited for the public and made available on-line.

If you are interested in being interviewed or have documents, pictures or memorabilia that you would like to contribute, please contact Pastor Rich Hendricks at the Metropolitan Community Church in Davenport at 563-324-8281 or Mike Hetrick at QCAD at 309-786-2580. All items donated or interviews conducted will become property of the Putnam Museum.

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Local group working to preserve GLBTQ+ history of the Quad-Cities
Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.