IN AND OUT: Being LGBTQ on Vashon Island

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On Friday June 7 from 6 to 9 p.m. Vashon Heritage Museum invites you to join us for the opening of its largest exhibit ever: IN AND OUT: Being LGBTQ on Vashon Island.

More than a year in the making, the exhibit explores the long, quiet history of LGBTQ people on Vashon Island – their challenges, contributions and visions.

To create the exhibit, co-curators Ellen Kritzman and Stephen Silha interviewed over a dozen people, spoke with old-time Islanders, issued a questionnaire asking about LGBTQ life, assembled a multi-generational advisory committee, and held a “story circle.”  They researched articles and family histories, put out the word for photos and artifacts, and searched for film and videos.

Even though Vashon has the highest per capita population of LGBTQ people in Washington state (and one of the highest in the country), there is no cohesive queer community here today.

Yet the Island hosts a rich assortment of families, individuals, artists, entrepreneurs, gardeners, chefs, organizers and public servants who consider themselves LGBTQ.
“It has been an enormous privilege to have folks be willing to be fully OUT of the closet, and open up their lives to us, and to you.  We hope we have made the exhibit interesting and impactful for everyone, gay and straight and everywhere on the spectrum,” Kritzman and Silha wrote in their curators’ statement.

The exhibit includes a timeline of LGBTQ history, a honeycomb of stories about Island queer history, an AIDS memorial garden curated by Terry Welch and Peter Serko, and a corner by Vashon High School’s largest student organization, the Queer Spectrum Alliance (QSA).
The exhibit runs through March, 2020.  The Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m.