New Project Collects Pandemic Stories from LGBT Community

Written by on May 12, 2020

New Project Collects Pandemic Stories from LGBT Community

By Stephen Jiwanmall

May 12, 2020

Photo | Stephen Jiwanmall / WLVR

As the Lehigh Valley endures a history-changing pandemic, an Allentown LGBT center is collecting coronavirus stories as part of a new public health project. WLVR’s Stephen Jiwanmall has the story.

Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center has launched a new initiative designed to weave together stories from the local LGBT community from the past 40 years. It’s funded by a grant from the Lehigh Valley Engaged Humanities Consortium.

The project’s focus right now is the COVID-19 pandemic. It also includes the HIV/AIDS crisis and other prominent historical touchpoints for the community. 

Center director Adrian Shanker says it’s important to document stories happening now as part of the Lehigh Valley LGBT Community Archives. 

“Understanding how the LGBT community experiences times of crisis helps us to respond better in the next crisis,” said Shanker.

 Gerald Simcoe is an artist who lives in Northampton Borough. He says the HIV/AIDS crisis was a scary time when the LGBT community felt separated.

“It is now the whole community isolated. So, I think everybody’s getting a taste of feeling what it’s like to be a minority in a way,” said Simcoe.

For the new project, people can answer questions online, and submit pictures and videos — with the option of staying anonymous. The goal is to collect stories through the end of July and put together some form of public presentation in the fall.

Watch Stephen’s PBS39 News Tonight report.


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