Northwest Lesbian and Gay History Project            

"We need to know
that we are not accidental,
that our culture has grown and changed
with the currents of time, that we,
like others, have a social history
composed of individual lives,
community struggles and customs
of language, dress and behaviour
--in short, that we have the story
of a people to tell...."
- Joan Nestle -

Queer history in the Seattle area and the Pacific Northwest

MOHAI History Café:
Revisiting Initiative 13 And LGBT Activism In The 70s

This MOHAI event of June 16, 2021 is now available onlne.
You can watch it here:


Initiative 13, sponsored by Save Our Moral Ethics, sought to repeal Seattle’s ordinances protecting gay and lesbian employment and housing rights and to abolish the Office of Women’s Rights.

In 1978, a broad coalition of organizations employed varied media strategies to convince voters to reject the measure. The story of grassroots organizations Seattle Committee Against Thirteen (SCAT) and Women Against Thirteen (WAT) and their outreach gives a view into the creative tensions inherent in organizing. Join organizers from the campaign to learn and see lessons that can be applied today.

Co-presented by MOHAI and the Northwest Lesbian and Gay History Project. History Café is produced as a partnership between MOHAI and HistoryLink.

Shelly's Leg sign

Do you remember ...

-- the Third Name Society
-- the police payoffs in the 60s
-- the United Ebony Council
-- Madame Peabody's
-- the Lesbians of Color Caucus
-- the Index campground
-- Jewish-Lesbian potlucks
-- the Gay Community Center
-- the Elwha land trust
-- Jamma Phi &
   the High Heel Races
-- living in a collective house
-- the Coffee Coven
   or . . .
-- the Berdache Society


Tell us your stories.

Add your voice to The Northwest Lesbian and Gay History Museum Project's oral history collection.


At this site you can find:

FAQ -- what to expect in an oral history interview
     and the wording of our release form
Questionnaire -- useful topics when interviewing LGBT elders
Guidelines for transcribing oral history interviews
Reading lists about LGBT history and culture
Links to LGBT history sites around the world
Links to oral history resources
Links to community history resources in Washington state

Mission statement:

The Northwest Lesbian and Gay History Museum Project (NWGLHMP, or The History Project), founded in 1994, is an organization which researches, interprets and communicates the history of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the Pacific Northwest for the purposes of study, education and enjoyment. Recognizing that the history of this vibrant community has been sparsely and inaccurately recorded, the History Project seeks to:

collect oral histories; locate photographs, ephemera, objects and documents; and work with archives to insure the preservation of these materials; and

create public programs such as exhibits, publications and presentations to communicate the collective experience we have uncovered.

To contact us:

1122 E. Pike St., PMB#797
Seattle, WA 98122

email (new, as of July 2019):

Oral History
on this site:

Added July 2021

Lesbian and Gay Black Lives, Mattering

Creating community while bending the arc -- stories of commitment and compassion.


Added June 2021

Initiative 13 Stories

Images and oral history stories from the landmark 1978 Seattle campaign that preserved our human rights, illustrating the different approaches the community took.

Citizens to Retain
Fair Employment

Winning over the powers that be

Seattle Committee Against 13
Going for Liberation

Women Against 13
Working in creative coalition

People of Faith Against 13
Confronting religious biases

"Blood on S.O.M.E."
An independent action of conscience

Peter Wichern:
The Man on the Cover


In 1967 Peter was on the cover of a local magazine as an out gay businessman. In 1973 he left town. Read what happened next.

Excerpts from Mosaic 1

Aunties, fish out of water, and the most gorgeous thing in the Klondike


NWLGHP's Oral Histories Are Now Accessible to the Public

June 19, 2023 The History Project is pleased to report that our collection of oral history transcripts and audio tapes now resides in the University of Washington Special Collections archive. On-site access to them is available by contacting the staff there, and special arrangements can be made for remote access to digital texts. (Fees for access or copying may be involved.)

To see the catalog listing of the transcripts and other materials available,
use this link.

To contact UW-Special Collections,
use this link.

The next phase for the History Project will include creating digital audio files from the original audiocassette tapes, cataloging the memorabilia people have donated to the Project over the years, and creating topical finding aids to help researchers locate specific materials in NWLGHP's expanding inventory.

About our slight
name change:

When the History Project was founded in 1994, several of the organizers were pursuing degrees in the Museum Studies field. As time went by, those members moved on to jobs in actual museums around the country. The remaining volunteers focused on oral history collecting, linking people having LGBT memorabilia with interested repositories, and tracing the geographical distribution of LGBT-related venues and living spaces. That work is ongoing today.

Publications available:

Claiming Space

Claiming Space: Seattle's Lesbian & Gay Historical Geography

graphical depiction of the growth of Seattle's gay and lesbian community in the 20th Century

Mosaic1: Life Stories

Mosaic 1: Life Stories
from isolation to community

stories from NWLGHMP's oral history collection; 260 pages


Mail-in order form

Many thanks to Richard Isaac
for hosting our former site.

© 2002 NWLGHMP