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Mapping the Gay Guides project plots queer spaces, launches digital map
2020-06-26

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When Eric Gonzaba travels across the United States, he often wonders about the history of the places he passes through — specifically, their queer history.

The Cal State Fullerton assistant professor of American studies is the co-primary investigator and content manager of the newly launched Mapping the Gay Guides project, which plots gay spaces listed in Bob Damron's Address Books, on a digital map www.mappingthegayguides.org/ .. The project is funded by a Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Incentive Grant from the California State University Chancellor's Office.

Damron's series of guides for gay and queer travelers dates back to the 1960s. His listings included queer friendly restaurants, bars, cocktail lounges, bookstores, bathhouses, cinemas and other businesses, many which no longer exist.

"When we think about gay history, we often think of San Francisco or New York. But there's plenty of amazing gay history outside those cities," said Gonzaba, noting that even a Waffle House in his home state of Indiana is listed as a former gay space.

The research team has mapped queer spaces in 31 states plus the District of Columbia, between the years of 1965 to 1980, with plans to map the remaining states by the fall. By plotting Damron's guides on a map, researchers can begin to see patterns over both location and time — inviting additional exploration of LGBTQ issues in America.

"It's exciting to think that queer history is everywhere," said Gonzaba.

Related stories:

Learn more about this project: news.fullerton.edu/2020sp/mapping-the-gay-guides.aspx .

Titans of Academia, Eric Gonzaba: news.fullerton.edu/titans-of-academia/eric-gonzaba .

CSUF Professor Uses T-shirts, Address Books to Explore LGBTQ History: www.ocregister.com/2019/09/19/csuf-professor-uses-t-shirts-address-books-to-explore-lgbtq-history/ .

About Cal State Fullerton: The largest university in the CSU and the only campus in Orange County, Cal State Fullerton offers 110 degree programs, and Division 1 athletics. Recognized as a national model for supporting student success, CSUF excels with innovative, high-impact educational practices, including faculty-student collaborative research, study abroad and competitive internships. Our vibrant and diverse campus is a primary driver of workforce and economic development in the region. CSUF is a top public university known for its success in supporting first-generation and underrepresented students, and preparing all students to become leaders in the global marketplace. Visit fullerton.edu .

—From a press release


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