Outdoor Adventures of Sacramento

Hi!  It’s Monica again!  I wanted to share one of our earliest discoveries in the archival storage. Chris, our volunteer coordinator, and I were bringing boxes from the archives.  There’s a few boxes unmarked, which meant we had to go through dusty boxes to see what we could work on. We found a box full of newsletters and random t-shirts—how could we make sense of this?  As we dug deeper in there, we found a file of newsletters advertising gays in the outdoors. Interesting! I don’t remember if I walked out of the storage and asked questions later, but we added this box to my workload.

Since these boxes are over twenty years old, we had to transfer the cruddy boxes into nice, archival boxes to protect our precious queer treasures. As we transferred, I went through some of the items. The first one I found was a patch with a rainbow and what looked like the Sierras.

First of all, how cute is this patch? My archival detective skills hinted that G.L.S. most likely meant Gay Lesbian, but what did the “S” stand for?  I know of the Sierra Club, but did that mean the Sierra Club that was inspired by the complicated-environmental-movement -influential-John-Muir?   Was this a chapter? A new club? Maybe fabulous folx rebelliously took the name and started their own club. There were more files to go through, so I randomly pulled out some loose newsletters:

This group was thorough!  In their newsletter, Outdoor Adventures of Sacramento stated they formed by a guy “frustrated with trying to meet other Gay people who liked to meet other Gay people who liked to get outdoors (beyond the patios of Faces.)” I personally can relate to this scenario: I’m not into clubs and bars, but I’m into hiking, camping, bicycling, and being around likeminded (queer) people, so I understood where the founder was coming from. From these items I found, here’s what I gathered:

Outdoor Adventures of Sacramento was active from 1985-2001.  They were a group of gay men and lesbian women who went on almost weekly outings in the Sacramento area to nature trails, river floats, campouts, backpacking trips and the occasional wine tasting.  They explored most of the Sierra Nevadas and California Coastal range with the maps to prove it. When they finished a trip, they would publish a field report and mail it out to their adventure buddies.  These newsletters would also announce the next outing and any other important news. What I found inspiring was if they weren’t hiking, they would organize a potluck and enjoy each other’s company.

This find was so inspiring.  This was before social media, texting, and accessible internet. This was before Google maps. This group found community with each other, and gay couples in their hiking gear and backpack flannel are beaming back at me with their arms lovingly around their partners on trailheads and campouts. The interracial couple resonated with me, as my partner is white and I am Latinx; I felt a sense that we could maybe belong here, too.  I sense that this would resonate with fellow LLACE community members, too.

As someone who follows and reads outdoor enthusiast print magazines and shops at recreational co-ops, the scene is very white, cis-gender, and heteronormative.  I don’t see myself in many of the ad campaigns and unless I’m hiking with my own crew or Latino Outdoors, I don’t often see people who look like me. I think if I were in my 30s, and I just moved to Sacramento in the late 1980s, there would be a place for me explore with other queer community.  I wouldn’t be limited to just Faces or the Lavender Bars of Sacramento, but had the option of going to the river with some fun lesbians. I’m looking forward to accessioning this box of archives and learning more about the people who lived, and lived out loud on the nature trail. Also, I hope to find the co-founder who created the logo seen above.

Hello From the Archives Intern!

Hi everyone!  I’m Monica, and I’m one of the volunteers here at LLACE.  I’m currently a graduate student working on my MLIS (Masters in Library Information Science) degree, so my world is mostly library work.  I am currently taking an Archives and Manuscripts class, so when an opportunity came up at LLACE to create finding aids and accession are collection, I enthusiastically asked if I could be an intern.

Putting the “A” in Archives

We are putting the “A” in archives here at LLACE.  Many of our older LGBTQ community members have graciously donated their items to us; sometimes these items are personal papers, and sometimes these items are from local Sacramento events.  We house these collections in storage nearby, which we are currently accessioning (a fancy word archival word for organizing) and creating finding aids for.  A finding aid for archivists and historians is extremely important; this document allows people who want to do research to look at this aid so they have an idea of what we house in our archives.

As an archival intern, I’m here twice a week to accession, process, and create a finding aid for a few collections.  I’m very ambitious, and plan on working on up to three collections: Sacramento Valley Vets, Open Book, and Outdoor Adventures of Sacramento. I genuinely enjoy learning social history—there is so much to learn from our past, and as a queer person, I recognize that us LGBTQIA+ folx don’t see ourselves in history.  LLACE matters because we don’t just house materials for public use, we house materials that document queer history. LLACE is the home of queer narratives and stories so folx can see themselves represented in history through our archival project. As being a part of the Sacramento community for over twenty years, if the walls here could talk they would have so much to say about the fabulous culture here in Northern California.

You might hear, “In order to understand the present, you must first understand the past,” or “In order to prevent mistakes now, you must learn from the past.” As someone who is handing archives, this is an opportunity to see firsthand the documents that helped shape the narrative today.  These are letters, posters, newsletters, documents that shaped the gay Sacramento community. Sometimes, these documents show a world where queer community was creating change; sometimes they show the challenges they faced at the time. From the looks of some of the photos and fliers, these folx knew how to have a fun time, too. [Read: so many drag events and skinny-dipping!] As I’m looking through items, I look for signs of intersectionality and points of pivotal change; the type of change that you look back on and go, “Wow, that really happened, our lives are so different because of this.”

So if you’re at LLACE and see someone at a table, with a box and a giant stack of papers and laptop, that’s me.  I’m most likely deep in my process, but a gentle “Hello! Are you Monica?” is welcome.  I could probably use a break at that point.

Souvenir sing-a-long from the June 25, 1978 San Francisco Gay Freedom Day 

LLACE Creates August Art Show

photo of artists creating stencils at the art event
Artists and show attendees create stencils at the July art show.

LLACE Creates is an art series that showcases local queer and trans artists. The July show was a great success. Thirteen artists were showcased, including works of a variety of mediums: paintings, drawings, collages, crafts, performances, poetry, sculptures, and more! And 80 people came through to view and interact with the works and the artists!

The August show will showcase 11 artists’ work across a variety of mediums. There will be snacks, refreshments, and plenty of opportunities to connect with community members. Come on out and meet us! The event happens on Sunday, August 13 1-5PM at the Lavender Library. 

Street parking is available on Sundays for free.

For up-to-date information about the event, check out the Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1885996404998376/

Visit Us at Sac Pride and ArtMix!

Sacramento Pride is Saturday June 3, and we’ll be there! Find our table and come say hello. We’ll have books for sale (for suggested donation of $1 for paperbacks and $2 for hardbacks), a craft activity, and we’ll be selling memberships.

Because we’re all at Pride, the Library will be closed on Saturday.

We’ll also be at ArtMix at the Crocker Art Museum on THURSDAY, JUNE 8, 6-9:30PM. For information visit: https://tickets.crockerart.org/Info.aspx?EventID=18.