Celebrating Pride Month

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It’s Pride Month, and we’re excited to celebrate with Ivan Allen College’s LGBTQ students, faculty, and staff! There are plenty of events planned this month across campus, so check out the list and get involved. In the meantime, we figured this would be a great time to take another look at the research project by Digital Media Ph.D. student Alexandra Teixeira Riggs, which examines the history of queer Atlanta through interactive wearable buttons. We also asked Riggs to answer a few questions about Pride and how it is reflected in this work:

What does Pride Month mean to you?

To me, Pride is important in the sense that we both recognize the histories of protest, resistance, and the tireless work of our queer ancestors, while also honoring queer joy, expression, and celebration. Though we have come far in our fight for equality, and we have many reasons to celebrate today, we recognize the ongoing spirit of resistance that will always characterize Pride. And in that resistance, we acknowledge this history, emphasized in “Button Portraits”— that queer and trans people have always existed. We continue building community, and we celebrate each other outwardly and openly.

How do you think Pride Month connects to your project?

“Button Portraits” explores queer history using artifacts from the Gender and Sexuality Collections at Georgia State University. The experience centers on queer activists, Lorraine Fontana and Maria Helena Dolan, and uses replicas of their own buttons as vehicles through which to experience their stories. Listeners wear an audio guide and pin a button to their chest, which plays a corresponding fragment of either Fontana’s or Dolan’s oral history. These snippets range from descriptions of Atlanta queer landmarks, such as Charis Books & More and Piedmont Park to early Pride marches, protests, and social causes. As a direct link to Southern queer history, “Button Portraits” asks us not only to learn about these events and causes, but to embody them by wearing their symbols and participating in ongoing queer movements today.

Read the full story about Riggs’ work.


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