The discrimination facing the LGBTQ community for centuries from governments, religions, community groups, families, and individuals has forced LGBTQ people to form their own networks of allies and resources as a means of social, emotional, and financial support. Manifesting first as secret clubs or societies that shared information amongst members, as visibility grew these networks and clubs became outspoken organizations for LGBTQ rights with self-published newsletters that addressed many of the issues early LGBTQ groups faced. Many of these grassroots publications went on to become nationally recognized and professionally published resources for the LGBTQ community. They covered political activism efforts and the AIDS epidemic, ran ads for LGBTQ-friendly businesses, and created a social network that helped promote the visibility and ensure the safety of members of the community.
Publications in the exhibit such as the Lesbian Connection, the Gayellow Pages, and the Lesbian Herstory Archives Newsletter represent nationally distributed resources. Others, like Sunset People, the Lambda, Inc. newsletter, and The Hericane newsletter, represent the LGBTQ community in the southeastern United States, a region where people’s acceptance of the LGBTQ community falls behind the national average. The Alabama Forum, published from 1977-2002 in Birmingham under editor June Holloway, was one of the longest-running news sources for the LBGTQ community in the state of Alabama. These resources reveal the determination of southern LGBTQ communities in the face of adversity and their continuing efforts to advocate for equal rights and establish a vibrant and safe community.