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Photo: Jean-Marcus Strole

Explore #ObjectsOfPride!

#ObjectsOfPride brings together community and personal stories of LGBTQ+ memories, weaving together a collective regional history.

View stories from MOHAI’s collections and enjoy the histories shared in our past program recordings. Join us by sharing your own LGBTQ+ story using #ObjectsOfPride, and make sure to tag MOHAI and the King County Library System (KCLS)!

Sharing Your Stories

Objects of Pride: Sharing Your Stories

Saturday, June 12, 4 pm

Celebrate and connect this Pride Month through personal LGBTQ+ histories!

Open to all community members who identify as LGBTQ+, this online gathering is a chance to a share a short story about a photo, garment, or artifact that illuminates your LGBTQ+ history and to hear from others. Small, facilitated break-out rooms will allow an intimate opportunity to connect and learn about the unique individual tales of LGBTQ+ life in our region.

Co-presented by King County Library System (KCLS) and MOHAI.

Share Your #ObjectsOfPride!

Help us expand the story—what objects of pride are in your own collections? What objects, ephemera, and photos have you kept that reflect an important part of your LGBTQ+ identity or experiences as part of the LGBTQ+ community? Share with us on social media using the directions below.

Share a photo or make a video story:

  • Start your response with “My Object of Pride is…”
  • Describe your object and tell people why you chose it!
  • What is this object’s origin story? What does it make you think about? Why is it important to you?
  • Upload your photo or video to social media, tag MOHAI and KCLS, and use the hashtag #ObjectsOfPride to share it with others!

Read on to learn more about objects and photos from our collection that tell LGBTQ+ histories—historic moments, cultural touchstones, and personal mementos. Together these artifacts provide snapshots of a vibrant community.

Current LGBTQ+ Rights Are The Result Of A Long History Of LGBTQ+ Activism Against Police Harassment.

Gay Liberation Front Protesting Police Harassment (May 6, 1973)

Members of Seattle’s chapter of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) picket in front of Police Chief George Tielsch’s condominium on Sand Point Way. The man in the center is holding a picket sign reading, “Are Homosexuals Revolting? You bet your sweet ass we are!” The group peacefully paraded for about four hours, drawing attention to Chief Tielsch’s refusal to discuss accusations of uniformed police harassing LGBTQ+ people, particularly in the Pioneer Square area, where most of Seattle’s gay night spots were concentrated. (2000.107.073.36.01, Brownell, Tom, Seattle P-I Collection, MOHAI)

Gay Liberation Front Protesting Police Harassment (May 6, 1973)

Members of Seattle’s chapter of the Gay Liberation Front picket in front of Police Chief George Tielsch’s condominium. Some of the demonstrators carry signs, reading “Gay For Good,” “Now is Our Time, Gay is Good,” “War Over A Word: Gay,” “I Have a Right  to Love My Way,” and “Stop Harassment of Drag Queens, Transvestites, & Transgenders.” (2000.107.073.36.02, Brownell, Tom, Seattle P-I Collection, MOHAI)

Poster Protesting Initiative 13 (Overturning Nondiscrimination Clause For Sexual Minorities) And Initiative 15 (Allows Police Use Of Deadly Force) (1978)

This poster urges voters in Seattle to reject Initiative 13, which proposed to overturn Seattle’s nondiscrimination clauses covering sexual minorities, and Initiative 15, which would allow the use of deadly force to apprehend an unarmed suspect. The movement against Initiative 13 coalesced into three major local organizations: Seattle Committee Against Thirteen (SCAT), Women Against Thirteen (later Women Acting Together), and Citizens to Retain Fair Employment (CRFE). (2002.23.8.6.1, Don Paulson Collection of Political and Social Ephemera, MOHAI)

Six Eleven Tavern ⁠— Gay Bars Had To Pay Off Police To Avoid Raids (1962)

In the mid-twentieth century, the only public place gay people could gather and feel relatively safe from discrimination and harassment, were gay bars. Bars became a safe second home for this community. This sign hung outside of the Six Eleven Tavern located at 611 Second Avenue in Pioneer Square, the center of gay life in Seattle until the 1970s. Like most bars in Seattle in the 1960s, the Six Eleven was subject to “blue laws” which were nearly impossible to obey without going out of business. Police officers demanded payoffs from bar owners of about $50-$70 per week in return for overlooking violations of blue laws. Because of the “immoral” nature and their mostly closeted clientele, gay and lesbian bars were particularly vulnerable to this kind of extortion. (2000.41.1, Northwest Lesbian and Gay History Museum Project, MOHAI)

Union of Sexual Minorites Protesting Police Harassment (October 14, 1975)

The flier pictured here gives detailed information to participants about a planned picket line organized by the Union of Sexual Minorities to “Stop Police Harassment,” “End Assault on Gays” and for “Community Control of the Police.” The Union of Sexual Minorities was an organization dedicated to raising awareness around issues related to a racist and sexist society. (2002.23.3.53.1, Don Paulson Collection of Political and Social Ephemera, MOHAI)

What Items Do You Display In Your Home To Show Your Pride?

Seattle Pride Sticker from the MOHAI Collection (2016, 2018.31.1, MOHAI)

Seattle Pride is a trademark of Seattle Out & Proud, an organization that coordinates the Seattle Pride Parade each June and also supports nonprofit organizations in the local LGBTQ+ community. This rainbow Seattle Pride sticker from 2016 was the first decorative item placed on the refrigerator at the new home of Kimberly Jacobsen and her partner. The two married six months later, and the sticker continued to represent a “sense of hope, change, hard work, victory, and love” for the couple.

What Have Your Experiences Been As Part Of A LGBTQ+ Sports League?

Greater Northwest International Rodeo Poster (1988, 2016.10.11, MOHAI)

This poster advertises the NWGRA’s Greater Northwest International Rodeo in August of 1995. Held at the King County Fairgrounds in the more rural town of Enumclaw, Washington, the rodeo faced some anti-gay backlash from the community during its inaugural 1993 season. The rodeo featured a range of events including barrel racing, bronco riding, steer wrestling, goat dressing and dancing. The Northwest Gay Rodeo Association (NWGRA) was founded in 1990, originally representing Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, and two years later expanding to include Nevada and British Columbia. Later called the Pacific Northwest Gay Rodeo Association, it dissolved in 2011.

What Cultural Organizations Help You Connect To Others In The LGBTQ+ Community?

Dennis Coleman Conducting Seattle Men’s Chorus Rehearsal (November 26, 1990, 2000.107.177.01.01, MOHAI)

In 2016, Dennis Coleman (b. 1948) retired from the Seattle Men’s Chorus, having served 35 years as artistic director of the organization, one of the largest gay men’s choruses in the world. The chorus continues to be a treasured part of Seattle culture, touring widely, recording often, and performing with the Seattle Symphony. In this image, singers watch director Dennis Colman during a rehearsal of the SMC’s “Sleighride” concerts series, performed throughout December 1990. This 1990 photo shows Dennis Colman directing a rehearsal of the Seattle Men’ Chorus, one of the largest gay men’s choruses in the world.

How Does Your LGBTQ+ Identity Impact Your Relationship To Healthcare?

Northwest AIDS Walk In Myrtle Edwards Park (September 22, 1991, 2000.107.001.06.18, MOHAI)

In this photo Eiric Ovrid, a member of the gay pride group Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, offers vitamin C tablets to participants in Myrtle Edwards Park during the 10-kilometer Northwest AIDS Walk. An estimated 13,000 walkers and runners participated, raising $1.1 million for 30 AIDS service and education organizations in the state. First held in 1986, annual Seattle AIDS Walks raise money for HIV prevention and care services for people living with HIV and AIDS.

What Makes You Feel Ready For A Special Night Out?

Suede Platform Shoes (1974, 2014.34.1, MOHAI)

Donor Mike Kerr purchased these platform shoes in 1974 at “Blue Beards” retail clothing store on the Ave in the University District in Seattle. He needed a pair of dressy shoes for when he went dancing at Shelly’s Leg, Seattle’s first openly gay bar and upscale dance club. According to Mr. Kerr, you needed to be dressed appropriately to go to Shelly’s Leg, which meant fashionable attire. The iconic sign proclaiming Shelly’s Leg unequivocally a gay bar can be viewed in MOHAI’s True Northwest exhibit. Learn more about Shelly’s Leg in Episode 5 of Rainy Day History, a podcast by the MOHAI Youth Advisors.

What LGBTQ+ Rights Still Need To Be Fought For?

Gay Schoolteachers Wearing Masks At Parade (1986, 2000.107.073.36.05, MOHAI)

In this image, Seattle schoolteachers participating in the Gay Freedom Day parade through the Capitol Hill neighborhood hold a banner reading “Teachers with Pride Still Have to Hide,” and wear masks to protest the discrimination they have felt. An estimated 10,000 people participated in the event, which is part of Seattle’s annual Gay Pride Week. The Pride Parade continues to be held annually on the last Sunday in June to commemorate the Stonewall riots, the 1969 event that increased visibility of the gay rights movement in the United States.

What Type Of Clothing Makes You Feel Most Confident In Your Gender Identity?

Soft Bra And Briefs From TomboyX (2018, 2018.65.1-2, MOHAI)

TomboyX makes underwear that is inclusive for many body sizes and gender identities. Founders Fran Dunaway and Naomi Gonzalez originally aimed to create button-down shirts but shifted direction after hearing from many customers looking for gender-neutral underwear. The “Essential Soft Bra” and “4.5″ Trunks” with rainbow elastic bands are two of Seattle-based company TomboyX’s most iconic products. Underwear is not usually seen publicly, but it can be just as important as outerwear for creating and projecting confidence. TomboyX is woman and queer owned, and works to create inclusive and empowering products.

What Rites Of Passage Have You Recreated And Made Your Own?

Pennant from “The Prom You Never Went To” (1988, 2016.10.11, MOHAI)

This pennant is a souvenir from a high school themed dance party for Seattle’s LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender and Queer) community organized by the nonprofit Tacky Tourist Clubs of America. Founded in Seattle in the early 1980s, the organization sponsored annual parties and events to raise money for other nonprofits, mostly those benefiting the local LGBTQ+ community. “The Prom You Never Went To” was first held in 1983 and became an institution in the local gay and lesbian community until 1997. The annual party at “Lavender Valley High School, Home of the Fighting Poodles” gave queer people an opportunity to take the dates of their choice to a recreated high-school prom.

What LGBTQ+ Wedding Traditions Have You Seen That Are Meaningful To You?

Wedding Veil (1972 and 2012, 2019.61.1, MOHAI)

Julie Fein and Cynthia Wallace were neighbors of the donor and borrowed this 1972 veil for their 2012 wedding—one of the first legal same sex unions in Washington state which legalized same sex marriage December 6, 2012. A photo of the couple was featured in the Washington Post.

MOHAI Community Stories

Hear from the MOHAI community about objects of pride in their personal collections.

High School GSA Sweatshirt

by Rachel Spence, Public Programs Developer.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

by Emily Turner, Education.

ACT UP Cap

by Tom Wolfe, MOHAI Volunteer.

My #ObjectOfPride is a cap that I wore with great pride in several  ACT UP protest actions and events both in New York and Washington D.C. during the years of 1989 and 1990. I feel that it is especially important at times like these to revisit some of the lessons learned from an action group called by many as “Rash, Rude, and Effective” but held close the motto of Silence=Death.

Activism can in fact save lives and history now tells us that the ACT UP movement did save thousands by moving awareness into the headlines and conscience of middle class America. As we all hopefully move towards another better moment in our history I reflect back on a quote from an ACT UP founder Maxine Wolfe, “Government doesn’t always listen to us because we are smart. They listen because we are smart and we can threaten them.”

Wedding Cake Topper

by Roger J. Bass, MOHAI Board of Trustees

This is a hand carved topper for our wedding cake. It was carved by our friend and artist Steve Pappas. Ours was one of the early gay weddings in Seattle, held on April 26, 2013. Roger J Bass and Richard B Nelson. 

Ribbon

by James Brock, MOHAI Community

My object of pride is this ribbon, worn in remembrance of those lost to AIDS.  Protests, marches, memorials and endless fundraisers this small strip of cloth was there, a blood red reminder of our community losses.

MOHAI Resources

Explore, Watch, and Listen

Photo: Barbie Hull

Explore Revealing Queer

MOHAI’s community-driven Revealing Queer exhibit surveyed how the Puget Sound lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community has grown, changed, become more visible, and worked towards equality.

Informed throughout by the experiences of this incredibly diverse population, the exhibit traced LGBTQ history from an emerging underground group in the years before the Stonewall Riots of 1969, to the large and politically active community that helped make marriage equality law in Washington State in 2012.

Explore Revealing Queer

Explore the MOHAI Collection

Explore additional related items from MOHAI’s online collection, including historic photos, posters, campaign buttons, and more!

Watch MOHAI Minute: Shelly's Leg

Learn about one of Seattle’s most influential gay bars, Shelly’s Leg, in this MOHAI Minute video. MOHAI Minutes offer short time-traveling journeys to some of Seattle’s most fascinating historic spots.

Please note that Shelly’s partner was Pat Nesser, not Pete as is stated in the video.

Listen on SoundCloud

Listen to related History Café recordings and episodes of the MOHAI Youth Advisor’s popular Rainy Day History podcast with this #ObjectsOfPride SoundCloud playlist.

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