Queerolina is part of The Story of Us, an initiative to document and preserve the history of members of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill community who identify as LGBTQIA+. The Carolina Pride Alum Network (CPAN) envisioned this initiative, led fundraising efforts, and developed the program in close collaboration with the University Archives in Wilson Special Collections Library and the Southern Oral History Program.
The Story of Us uplifts these important experiences through oral histories and digitized materials provided by the contributors. The Southern Oral History Program began collecting detailed long-form oral histories for The Story of Us in August 2020 and the UNC Story Archive began collecting conversational recordings from contributors in November 2020.
The Story of Us, Queerolina, the Southern Oral History Program, and the UNC Story Archive are, by nature, constantly growing and seeking to give space to more voices. If you, or someone you know, is interested in contributing please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Queerolina is Not
Queerolina is not an exhibit of the LGBTQIA+ experience at UNC-Chapel Hill, nor is it an exhibit of the experience of any group or community that people may identify with. There can be no monolithic universal experience. Similarly, this project, based on oral histories with living community members, does not stretch to the university's founding in a society that embraced slavery, nor does it claim to examine the sexual or gender practices of the pre-contact indigenous tribes on whose ancestral land the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill now stands.
What Queerolina Is
Queerolina is a miniscule slice of the lived experiences of some members of the Carolina community. It is a space intended to facilitate engagement, spark curiosity, and assist with research.
This exhibit presents some of the stories gathered during the first phase of The Story of Us in support of its mission to collect and preserve these important histories. Since this project occurred during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic -- a time of much uncertainty, fear, loss, and struggle that compounded institutional and structural inequalities -- there are invariably holes. The Story of Us, the UNC Story Archive, the Southern Oral History Program are ongoing projects that will continue to grow and deepen with the addition of more voices.