Arizona LGBTQ Storytelling Project

Arizona LGBTQ Storytelling Project was the first identified LGBTQ archives in the state of Arizona. As an oral history digital archival project, the Storytelling Project engaged the principles of social justice media to not only collect everyday stories of LGBTQ individuals but also offered hands-on video production training so that communities had the skills, expertise, and access to digital technologies to collect their everyday stories on their own. The Storytelling Project and its commitment to social justice media, and as a gesture of solidarity with non-dominant communities, continues to be foundation for the Arizona Queer Archives.

Select Interviews

Alison Davison Interview
Les Krambeal Interview
Thomas Waddelow Interview
Eve Rifkin Interview

Alison Davison Oral History

The coordinator of the Southern Arizona Gender Alliance (SAGA) at the time of the interview, Davison identifies as a transsexual lesbian woman and began her transition in the late 1990s. Much detail is offered on her journey, from serving in a free clinic in Seattle during the Vietnam War to moving to Tucson. Read more on this interview here: Alison Davison Interview.

Les Krambeal Oral History

Born and raised in Ashland, Oregon, Les Krambeal was drawn to Arizona by the annual horse shows and moved to Tucson in 2005. In this personal interview, he recalled his experiences coming out, participating in gay rodeos, and running country western-themed gay bars in the 1980s in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Reno, Nevada, and Long Beach, California. A gay man who was brought up in a republican household, Krambeal was politically active throughout his life. Read more here: Les Krambeal Interview.

Thomas Waddelow Oral History

Thomas Waddelow, an artist residing in Tucson, talks about his education, his military service, and his experiences as a gay man living in Arizona. A World War II veteran who served as one of General Patton’s tankers, he recounts his in combat as well as in his personal life. He recalls telling his lover Don that he was gay during a stint working for the Red Cross in Japan in 1959, and about how they set up an art shop together in Venice, California. Read more here: Thomas Waddelow Interview.

Eve Rifkin

In this long series of brief video clips, Eve Rifkin discusses a broad range of topics, including the nature of her relationship, the challenges involved in starting a family with her partner, and the process she went through in establishing a school. A lesbian living in Tucson, Rifkin is the academic director of City High School in addition to one of its founding faculty members. Read more and watch the full interviews here: Eve Rifkin Interview.

Special thanks go out to many people and organizations that made this project possible and continue to make our LGBTQ oral histories an important part of Arizona’s historical record:

Arizona LGBTQ Storytelling Project gives thanks to:
• Pan Left Productions for their fiscal sponsorship and ongoing technical support since the very first Alliance Fund grant in January 2008;
• Elizabeth Burden for initial connections within the community to better understand the multimodal ways to disseminate digital video oral histories;
• Eithne Luibheid and Adela C. Licona, former Directors of the Institute for LGBT Studies, for long conversations about how the oral histories might be streamed and accessed through the University of Arizona’s iTunes University account;
• Gregory Anderson for help to develop a computerized workflow to efficiently and effectively compress and upload oral histories to iTunes University;
• Alliance Fund of Southern Arizona, Arizona Humanities Council, Tucson Pima Arts Council (TPAC), Kresge Art in P.L.A.C.E. fund through TPAC, Institute for LGBT Studies, Pan Left Productions, Southwest Feminists Reunite, and many individual donors along the way;
• Susan Stryker, former Director of the Institute for LGBT Studies, and the Institute for LGBT Studies for moving the project forward in significant ways, for supporting the project into its next vibrant phase, and for archival wisdom and institutional support; and
• all participants who are willing to tell their stories in front of the camera and those who are willing to learn the video production skills to carry the work into the community.