It’s Pride season, which means we are just four days into one whole entire month of uncreative, limited-edition rainbow products, big time brands capitalizing on the marginalization of LGBTQ+ people, and pretty much nothing for us the other eleven months of the year.
And when it comes to brands, there are kind of really none bigger than Google, the omnipotent internet behemoth that honestly controls our digital livelihood and well-being. Tuesday, the global technology company launched its own Pride campaign — an interactive, digital monument dedicated to documenting the past 50 years of queer and trans history, as well as archiving current stories.
The campaign, Stonewall Forever, is an augmented reality experience useable near New York’s queer monumental sites such as Christopher Park and The Stonewall Inn. Users can step inside the “living monument” dedicated to stories of queer joy, life, love, resistance, and history in a community-generated digital hub. This included contributions from activists like Sean Saifa Wall, Chella Man, Alok Vaid-Menon, Adam Eli, Aaron Philip and Achebe Powell, as well as celebrities like Tyler Oakley, Lance Bass, Lea DeLaria, Trace Lysette, Cynthia Nixon, Lily Tomlin, Lena Waithe, and Naomi Campbell. (!!!!) Google Arts and Culture has also curated over 100 hours of oral histories from the National Park Services's Stonewall Oral History Project.
The immersive experience will be companied by a digital hub, a Doodle explaining the history of queer rights, and a free documentary by Ro Haber telling an inter-generational portrait of activism from the time of Stonewall up to today interviewing living participants of the Stonewall Riots. The Center created Stonewall Forever with a $1.5 million grant from Google.org — Google essentially donated its own Pride campaign to New York’s largest LGBTQ+ resource, and let them take the reigns.
"Creating Stonewall Forever with support from Google presented the rare opportunity to broaden the story of the Stonewall Riots and provide a richer, more diverse narrative about one of the most influential events in the fight for LGBTQ equality," said Glennda Testone, executive director of The Center, in a press release. "We were proud to serve as the conduit to the community to bring a wide variety of voices to the narrative, particularly from people of color, young people and the trans community, and are honored to be part of preserving LGBTQ history."
The project was also created with the Stonewall National Monument via the National Park Service. The monument is meant to not just make conclusive ideas of history, but to ensure that the fight for queer rights is long from over, and that history is not a monolith, but an oral documentation with multiplicity of perspective.