HomeAbout OutHistory

About OutHistory

OutHistory was founded in October 2008 by Jonathan Ned Katz, author of Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A. (1976), Gay/Lesbian Almanac: A New Documentary (1983), The Invention of Heterosexuality (1995), Love Stories: Sex Between Men Before Heterosexuality (2001), The Daring Life and Dangerous Times of Eve Adams (2021), and other works on the history of sexuality and gender.


When the Internet became part of everyday life in the 21st century, Katz understood that the work of documenting, archiving, and presenting new material on LGBTQ history should continue on a freely accessible public history website. Katz's long history as a community-based scholar and activist historian led him to imagine this site as a place of active community participation in the process of discovering and writing LGBTQ histories. Reflecting the importance of "history from below" to the civil rights and liberation movements of the 1960s, Katz welcomed the participation of amateur and professional historians, including independent researchers and those based in colleges, universities, archives, libraries, and museums. The result is the site you are exploring, where all of us have a forum to learn, contribute, publish, and share our research with others.

OutHistory has had important benefactors in its journey. An initial grant in 2005 from the Zebra Fund at the Funding Exchange allowed Katz to begin the work. A two-year, $100,000 grant by the Arcus Foundation to design the first site using open-source MediaWiki software and to hire a part-time site director was made possible through collaboration with the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS) at the City University of New York. Lauren Gutterman joined OutHistory for several years as Chief Administrator. A second Arcus grant supported content creation through the “Since Stonewall Local Histories Contest,” an effort to encourage community history research. Many of those submissions are now featured on this site.

In the fall of 2011, OutHistory director John D'Emilio, Professor of History at the University of Illinois, Chicago, oversaw a redesign of the site using the Omeka archiving platform. This new version of OutHistory launched in September 2013. In 2013, Claire Bond Potter, Professor of History at The New School, joined Katz and D'Emilio as a director. D'Emilio and Potter continued serving as OutHistory directors until 2019.

In May 2016, OutHistory celebrated the 40th anniversary of Gay American History with a conference co-chaired by Potter and Daniel Marshall, Senior Lecturer in Writing and Literature, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia, and managed by Kevin Ewing. The 2016 conference, co-sponsored by Arcus, CLAGS, and The New School, brought together hundreds of LGBTQ historians and activists to celebrate the state of our field and learn from one another.

In 2017, OutHistory added two new directors, Randall Sell and Kimon Keramidas. They served until 2020, when new Associate Directors joined OutHistory's leadership. Channing Gerard Joseph, an award-winning journalist, has taught at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Joseph Plaster is Curator in Public Humanities for the Sheridan Libraries and University Museums and Assistant Research Scholar at the Alexander Grass Humanities Institute at Johns Hopkins University.


On January 1, 2023, Marc Stein became the Director of OutHistory and Katz became an Advisory Board Member. Marc Stein is the Jamie and Phyllis Pasker Professor of History at San Francisco State University; he previously was a professor of history and gender, sexuality, and women’s studies at York University in Toronto, where he helped found the Sexuality Studies Program. He earned his B.A. in History at Wesleyan University (1985) and his Ph.D. in History at the University of Pennsylvania (1994). He also has taught at Bryn Mawr and Colby Colleges.

Stein is the author of:

--City of Sisterly and Brotherly Loves: Lesbian and Gay Philadelphia, 1945-1972 (University of Chicago Press, 2000; Temple University Press, 2004);

--Sexual Injustice: Supreme Court Decisions from Griswold to Roe (University of North Carolina Press, 2010);

--Rethinking the Gay and Lesbian Movement (Routledge, 2012 and 2023);

--The Stonewall Riots: A Documentary History (NYU Press, 2019); and

--Queer Public History: Essays on Scholarly Activism (University of California Press, 2022).

He also served as editor-in-chief of the award-winning Encyclopedia of LGBT History in America (Scribners, 2003) and guest editor of "U.S. Homophile Internationalism," a special issue of the Journal of Homosexuality (2017). He is the co-editor of Queer Pasts, a digital history platform published by Alexander Street/ProQuest, and in the past he has chaired the Committee on LGBT History (an affiliated society of the American Historical Association) and the Organization of American Historians Committee on the Status of LGBTQ Historians and History.  A former coordinating editor of Gay Community News in Boston; former member of MASS ACT OUT, ACT UP Philadelphia, and Queer Action Philadelphia; and former member of the board of directors of the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco, he is a longtime contributor to OutHistory.

OutHistory has been featured in several publications on LGBTQ history. These include:

--Lauren Jay Gutterman, "OutHistory.org: An Experiment in LGBTQ Community History-Making," Public Historian 32, no. 4 (2010): 96-109.

--Lauren Jae Gutterman, "Hyperlinking LGBTQ History: Teaching with OutHistory.org," Transformations: The Journal of Inclusive Scholarship and Pedagogy 22, no. 1 (July 2011): 114-118.

--Catherine O. Jacquet, "Queer History Goes Digital," Using Outhistory.org in the Classroom," in Understanding and Teaching U.S. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History, ed. Leila J. Rupp and Susan K. Freedman (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2014), 352-363.

--Marc Stein, Queer Public History: Essays on Scholarly Activism (Oakland: University of California Press, 2022), 224-227, 293-297.

OutHistory receives non-profit status as a project of the Fund for the City of New York. We are funded by donations from users like you. To donate, see https://outhistory.org/donate.