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Instagram Launches Huge Murals Honoring New York’s Queer History

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To greet the millions of visitors heading to New York City for North America’s first-ever WorldPride, Instagram has unveiled #UntoldPride — 10 large-scale installations that shine a light on historic LGBTQ+ pioneers, places, and movements that have paved the way for today’s queer community.

The city is hosting WorldPride this year to mark the 50th anniversary of riots at the Stonewall Riot, where queer and trans people fought back against police brutality and catalyzed the queer civil rights movement. The tech brand has partnered with Matthew Riemer and Leighton Brown, of @lgbt_history and authors of We Are Everywhere, who work to archive their collection of over 100,000 images documenting the lives of queer and trans people. Working with Riemer and Brown, the campaign features 10 narratives from queer history at sites around the city like the Christopher Street Pier to the Lesbian Herstory Archives.

“We hope that our work … always serves as just one step on a long path toward understanding how queer history can inform the queer present and shape a liberated future,” Riemer told Out. “We hope the walls illustrate just how much we all have left to learn about and from our queer foreparents.  Marsha and Sylvia’s impact is constant, and it must always be a living, breathing, radical, militant, disruptive, queer force. We cannot forget that those we deify in death were the most marginalized in life.”

The campaign, as well as the work of Riemer and Brown, reminds us that there is so much undocumented history of queer and trans people that long preceded the Stonewall Riots. “The riots didn’t start at Stonewall and the riots never ended,” Riemer said. “There is so much work to be done. Yes, the queer community has much to celebrate, all of which we’ve earned — the dominant culture hasn’t given us anything, and we have no obligation to thank them or make our spaces more palatable to their tastes. The struggle continues and none of us have the right to be apathetic.”

Alongside these stories are portraits of LGBTQ+ New Yorkers shot by Out’s own Nicolas Bloise, featuring quotes about how queer trailblazers impact the next generation. There will also be new wall installations each week of June and visitors can learn more about each site by scanning the nametag on the wall itself, which drives back to the @lgbt_history account as a way to educate beyond the pretty murals.

“So,” explains Riemer, “if you enjoy these stunning images of the brave and brilliant trans women of color who helped create our queer world, perhaps you should get involved with the lives of the brave and brilliant trans women of color who are still working to create queer space.”

 

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