Friday, September 05, 2014

Save The Sexual Minorities Archives House

As you long time readers of TransGriot are aware of, one of the missions of this blog is to talk about our history as transpeople.

One of the people I met back in 2008 when I spoke at a trans rally in Northampton, MA was transman Bet Power, who is the curator of the Sexual Minorities Archives in that city. 

The Sexual Minorities Archives was founded in 1974 with the name New Alexandria Library for Lesbian Women and houses one of the oldest and largest collections of LGBTQI literature, history, and art in the United States.  

When Bet Power inherited the archive in 1992, he expanded its scope to LGBTQI, and changed the name.

Since then Bet as the curator for the SMA has been adding to the collection.  He is now working to add the Leslie Feinberg Library to it.   The Leslie Feinberg Library contains 1000 books, photos, and a transcript of interview with Sylvia Rivera, the mother of the trans rights movement

The Archives House is home to nearly 10,000 books, over 900 periodicals sets, comprehensive subject file materials on LGBTQ life, multimedia, art works, and rare LGBTQ historic materials. Each year, 300 to 500 people visit the SMA to browse, conduct research, volunteer their time, work as student interns, or attend support group meetings.    The SMA received a grant from UMass this summer to digitize the collection..

It also serves as Bet's home, and Bet was recently informed that the landlord wants to sell it.   The landlord did give Bet the first option to buy it, but because he has a rare medical condition, he is on SSDI and can't afford to purchase the house on his own despite qualifying for a NACA mortgage.

Unless he can raise the $20,000 needed by November 15, the home will be sold to another buyer and the SMA (and Bet) will be forced to move.

Bet has raised $12,384 so far, but still needs your help to reach the goal.  So if you can, please help toward saving the SMA archive and our LGBT history.  Only $7,616 is needed to hit the target, and any amount you can give is deeply appreciated and will get Bet closer to being able to purchase the home to house the archives there.

If you need further information:

July 31 interview on New England Public Radio.

Sexual Minorities Archives
Sexual Minorities Educational Foundation, Inc. 
Northampton, MA 

Sexual Minorities Educational Foundation, Inc.
P.O. Box 1023
Northampton, MA 01061-1023
Phone: 413-584-7616

The Sexual Minorities Education Foundation, Inc as August 11, 2014 has
received its 501c3 non-profit status from the IRS, so that means any donations to SMEF are tax deductible.

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