What it may have looked like to be gay a century ago

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Cover of "The Undead Sorceress"

OurFamilyAlbum.org launched today. It is a permanent collection of amateur photo and family portraits from people who may have been LGBT. As the album suggests on its first page, “… you decide.” And that seems to be the crux behind the on line display. Sparking a conversation about what it meant to be gay in the past.

Just one of dozens and dozens of interesting photos from the new LGBT photo collection website Our Family Album.

Just one of dozens and dozens of interesting photos from the new LGBT photo collection website Our Family Album.

The site contains more than a hundred personal photos spanning more than 120 years and its creator plans to add more album pages regularly that include pictures from people who have similar vintage pictures they wish to share.

“I wanted to create an album of my family of choice to connect to my past,” says queer filmmaker, Stu Maddux, (Gen Silent, Reel In The Closet). “The idea came from work on a new documentary about old LGBT home movies. It seemed important to share these personal still images too. But done on line instead of on screen, it’s a conversation rather than just my interpretation.”

And that seems to be a big part of www.OurFamilyAlbum.org  – it asks visitors to share their thoughts about the pictures. The website’s About page reads: “Historians will caution against labeling these people through one’s 21st century ‘gaydar’. Those who consider their gaydar infallible will push ahead anyway. And, those who dislike labels may see their viewpoint validated throughout these pages.”

Keeping the conversation and the collection growing is no small task so selected photographs are available for purchase in order to support the effort. The site has even gathered its “best of” into a 2014 calendar. “Our Family Album really needs to be opened and passed around or it’s just gathering dust in a virtual closet. My gut tells me it will affect many others like it affects me. Some of these photos are just irresistible!”

OurFamilyAlbum.org launched today. It is a permanent collection of amateur photo and family portraits from people who may have been LGBT. As the album suggests on its first page, “… you decide.” And that seems to be the crux behind the on line display. Sparking a conversation about what it meant to be gay in the past.