Queer heroes celebrated

Hamline University’s Spectrum recently held a collaborative exhibit that showcased Black and queer activists, some historical icons and others modern day heroes.

Robin Doyscher, Senior Reporter

Within the main lobby of Drew Fine Arts stood large displays with a diverse range of faces. Their backgrounds were all unique and varied, and yet the commonalities of their identities and hardships were communicated through thoroughly crafted information boards. The exhibit was a collaborative effort between Hamline QTIBIPOC (queer, trans, Black, indigenous people of color) and Love Boldly, an initiative campaign for LGBTQ+ inclusivity that is being hosted by Hamline’s Wesley Center.

Aidan Stromdahl
While at Spectrum’s Black and Queer’ exhibit, visitors could pick up a free copy of ‘All Boys Aren’t Blue’: A memoir written by activist George M. Johnson. The book, a series of personal essays written in 2020, explores childhood and the unique struggles of growing up Black and queer.

Starting with Angelina Weld Grimké (1880-1958), the exhibit discusses several periods in queer history where the fight for liberation was spearheaded by further marginalized communities in showings of intersectionality. Other figures such as Bayard Rustin, Marsha P. Johnson and Audre Lorde advanced feminist and pro-Black causes despite facing intense societal opposition.

Other featured activists were Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, Dominique Morgan, Andrea Jenkins, Phillipe Cunningham, Janaya “Future” Khan, Patrisse Cullors and Dezjorn Gauthier. All names have notably founded organizations, contributed financially and protested to instill protections for the queer community. 

Several of the activists have also contributed art with prominence that has lasted for decades. Angelina Weld Grimké is noted for her status as an acclaimed playwright. Andrea Jenkins is an award-winning poet with a few collections of poems published.

Aidan Stromdahl
The exhibit is located in the Drew Fine Arts lobby and contains information on notable activists such as Phillipe Cunningham; the first openly transgender man to be elected to public office in the United States and councilperson for Minneapolis Ward 4.

One of the featured activists is even a prominent figure in Minnesota. Phillipe Cunningham is the first openly transgender man to be elected to public office in the United States, and the city councilperson for Minneapolis Ward 4.

The exhibit also gave free copies of ‘All Boys Aren’t Blue’ by George M. Johnson; this book is a memoir written by the award-winning author and journalist who reflects on his life as he grows into his queer identity. The book explores topics of bullying, societal expectations, relationships between men and the effects of the environment on personal development.

If you missed the exhibit, the displays are still available to view in Drew Fine Arts lobby.