LGBTQ+ Exhibition

Written by: Hannah Field | News Editor

The second traveling exhibition from the Stonewall National Museum & Archives has found a temporary home in the Hamersly Library at Western.

The exhibition, titled “Transcending Gender Bodies and Lives,” illustrates the stories of many LGBTQ+ figures and a timeline of gender identity across the globe. “Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people have faced a long history of shared systematic oppression by gender and sexual norms,” said the exhibition’s description. “This exhibit examines ways that gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation intersect.”

The LGBTQ2SIA+ Student Success Grant, awarded to Western in partnership with Central School District from the Oregon Department of Education, paved the way for the exhibition’s showing. 

In the exhibition, a timeline of events spanning from the 1700s to the modern age highlights the growing understanding and acceptance of transgender people alongside many other monumental moments. According to Grant Coordinator Melody Barrett, the timeline allows for viewers to “walk from the past to the present and read about individuals and events which have shaped and impacted the LGBTQ2SIA+ community, and specifically those who are transgender in a chronological way in American history.”

One section of the exhibition, titled “The Teachable Moment,” explores the duality of increased acceptance but a continued lack of awareness. “The increased visibility of transgender people in the media has made wins in educating the public. However, beneath the stories of success and recognition, there remains an epidemic of serious issues in the lives of many trans people, including housing and job discrimination, poverty, HIV infection, drug abuse and suicide.”

“As gender expression, sexual identity and a sense of community are very important facets of LGBTQIA+ culture, the exploration of our similarities and differences can teach us how to support one another so that we may live our lives truly, and safely,” said the exhibition.

“By bringing these exhibitions to campus, our goal is to share, educate and expand understanding of gender diversity, expression and identity,” said Barrett.

The exhibition can be found in the main lobby of the Hamersly Library with a secondary LGBTQ+ exhibit found on the second floor.

Contact the author at