ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
It is vitally important that researchers in the present and the future hear firsthand what life is and was like for women who love and build their lives with other women. What was daily life like back then? What’s it like now? What are the challenges? What are the joys? No one can tell a life story better than the person who lives it. The documentation of the everyday life of lesbians is a goldmine not only for academic researchers, but for writers of historical fiction who need to ground their characters in the lived experience of the times.
Just as importantly, our current society needs these stories. Lesbian activists envisioned and often experimented with different forms of living such as collective households and businesses. They analyzed the hierarchal society structures that underpin racism, classism and sexism and worked to dismantle these structures. Lesbians also played softball, went clubbing, made music and art and wrote plays, novels and poetry that reflected their desires and passions. Their stories are a vital addition to the histories of freedom and social justice movements worldwide.
Lesbians in particular continue to be marginalized and made invisible, our stories erased or rewritten. BALA is committed to making sure that lesbian stories are recorded and preserved.
The Oral History Project of the Bay Area Lesbian Archives is collecting the stories of lesbians who have lived in the Bay Area. The interviews are generally one and a half to two hours in length, usually recorded at the home of the interviewee, either on video or audiotape.