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Contributor Guidelines

Thanks for contributing content to OutHistory, the major, educational, public history website documenting the LGBTQ+ US past. OutHistory receives non-profit status and donations through The Fund for the City of New York and our work is supported by those donations. Our content is provided by volunteers.

AUDIENCES: One audience for OutHistory is the general public. So OutHistory features should start with a one-or-two-page introduction that sums up the most pertinent information about your subject. Another quite different OutHistory audience are teachers, scholars, and community-based researchers of all kinds. So feel free to take as much space as you need to detail the facts about your subject, and (if you can) provide full citations to the sources of your evidence. Here is an example:

LANGUAGE: We ask contributors to this site to strive to present written texts in language clear, lively, and engaging, and to include visual and aural content of kinds appealing to a wide range of diverse users.

EVIDENCE: We ask that all contributors to OutHistory.org aspire to a high standard of reliability as to all factual claims. We request that, contributors provide complete source citations, and that these sources be scholarly, not popular, if possible. If there are conflicting information and views about your subject, contributors should include those different and sometimes opposed interpretations of data.

TIME: OutHistory is specifically a history website so time is of the essence. The basic aim of this site is to provide a specifically temporal, historical perspective on the LGTBQ+ US experience. Contributors to the site should strive to develop creative, innovative ways of representing history and time, change and stasis in the social life and environments of LGBTQ+ people -- the “who, where, what, how,” and especially the “when” of their history. To realize this focus on time and history, contributors should when possible include dates and time references that will allow users to search for time-coded content and create timelines on specific topics.


PRESENT/PAST: Present concerns inform research on the past, and we appreciate anything contributors can do to provide illuminating historical perspectives on subjects of current topical interest. Documenting and analyzing the past can help us all better understand the present. If you can make an explicit connection between past and present that will interest our readers.


CONTEXT: We welcome your attempt to place the history of particular LGTBQ people and their society within the larger histories of sexuality and intimacy, sex and gender, femininity and masculinity, the polity and economy.


DIFFERENCES: We particularly welcome contributions that try to situate the history of LGTBQ people in the context of distinctions in age, bodily and mental differences, class, ethnicity, geography, ideology, power, race, religion, and other historically and socially influential divisions.


LESS KNOWN HISTORIES: Contributions are especially welcome on the lesser-known aspects of LGBTQ+ US history: the history of LGBTQ+ African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinx Americans, and US transgender and working-class people.


CONTENT TYPES: The site publishes content of a wide variety of types: documentary evidence, original discoveries and texts, republished articles and books and parts thereof, materials about individual lives and group experiences, oral histories, bibliographic sources, static photographs, audio recordings, motion pictures, videos, fine art and popular culture representations, etc.


ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS: The publication of original documents not elsewhere or readily available may turn out to be one of the most valuable services that OutHistory.org can provide. We ask that contributors will provide us with copies of such difficult to find court records, diaries, letters, rare printed accounts, ephemera, photographs, movies, TV, audio recordings, etc. Such documents will be most valuable to the site if provided in searchable, digital formats.


DUAL HISTORIES: We think that the history of homosexuals can’t be understood without knowing the history of heterosexuality, and vice versa. We think that transgender history cannot be fully understood without understanding cis-gender history (the history of feminine and masculine behaviors and norms). So anything you can do to reference both parts of these dualistic histories is appreciated.


COLLABORATION: OutHistory looks forward to collaborating with other current and future efforts to make LGTBQ+ US history freely available on the web and elsewhere. OutHistory is a collaborative effort to which many people contribute work of different kinds: administrative, copy editing, editorial, fact-checking, financial planning and fundraising, interpretation of evidence, research, secretarial help, site critiques, technical assistance, theoretical analysis, and writing.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: Because volunteer contributors to this site can play a major role in providing it with user-created content, we encourage such participation. We welcome contributions from teachers and students, institutionally affiliated and independent scholars, and members of the interested public.

EDITING: In order to maintain OutHistory’s credibility, interest, and variety, its editorial directors and administrators may sometimes need to correct factual inaccuracies, as well as edit, shorten, expand, or eliminate factual and interpretive statements. We will always try to discuss such changes with authors before we make them.