The Central Coast Queer Archive Project (CCQAP) is a collaborative, community-based, volunteer effort tasked with documenting LGBTQ+ individuals’ experiences of the California central coast region.
The CCQAP values diversity, inclusivity, and intersectionality as important methodological principles; while our project explicitly focuses on the lives of queer and trans people, we recognize that desires, intimacies, and kinship networks often take unpredictable forms. In addition, we recognize that notions of identity as static and self-contained often fail to account for the multiple and complex power relations that shape both individual and collective existence. Therefore, we seek to include not only the lives of queer and trans people, but also those of other gender non-conforming people and sexual minorities who may not immediately recognize themselves amongst other LGBTQ+ identities.
Central Coast Queer Archive Project
Celebrating CCQAP at SLO Pride in the Plaza 2017 with (from left) City Councilor Aaron Gomez, Joan Gellert-Sargen, Mayor Heidi Harmon, co-founder Steven Ruszczycky.
The CCQAP serves as a resource for faculty and students associated with any of the local educational institutions to conduct research on various aspects of queer and trans central coast history of and culture. However, as a community-based project, we also wish to encourage and support the efforts of independent scholars who may lack the support offered through traditional research and teaching institutions but whose work aligns with the mission statement of the CCQAP.
The CCQAP aims to preserve documents, artifacts, and other materials related to LGBTQ+ culture and history of the central coast region. These materials will be deposited with one of a number of our archive sites, where they will be available to researchers, educators, artists, and others interested in utilizing the materials for non-commercial purposes that support the overall aims of the CCQAP. The CCQAP is also willing to work with potential donors to find suitable archives for materials for which no local archive can function as a repository.
The CCQAP is committed to utilizing research, archived materials, and other work produced in conjunction with the project for the purposes of promoting awareness of queer history and culture of the central coast region. In addition, the CCQAP aims to build a network of contacts and resources with other archives dedicated to LGBTQ+ materials located in California and beyond.
The CCQAP is currently developing training protocols and administrative procedures to conduct oral histories with LGBTQ+ identified persons currently living or who have lived in the central coast region.
Queer and Trans Elders
We have identified local trans and queer elders as (for lack of a better term) a “scarce resource.” We believe not only that they can provide invaluable insights into the history and culture of trans and queer life on the central coast, but also that their lives deserve to be recognized, valued, and celebrated. We are interested in establishing contact with local queer and trans elders who may be willing to donate personal materials, to serve as potential oral history subjects, or to provide leads on topics for further research.
Queer and Trans “Families”
In ways that complement our first thematic area, our second theme concerns the kinds of kinship networks that queer and trans people have formed, both currently and historically, in the area. While such networks may entail traditional forms of family, we are also interested in the ways that queer and trans people cast out by their families have formed their own kin networks of “chosen families” with other queer and trans people.
Queer and Trans Rusticity
Traditional narratives have it that LGBTQ+ individuals in rural areas flee the hostile climates of small towns for the welcoming communities of large urban areas. We are interested in research, materials, and experience that help paint a more complex and nuanced picture of queer and trans life in rural areas, and especially that which helps us better understand the various ways that LGBTQ+ people have made use of public spaces in rural areas to seek out community and intimacy with others.
Location, Identification, and Evaluation of personal and/or organizational archives for preservation
In order to gain perspective on what materials currently exist in the area, the CCQAP is building an index of local individuals and organizations who may have materials suitable for preservation and/or research purposes. Such materials include anything from personal correspondence and family photographs to administrative records, meeting minutes, and organizational publications.
If you or your organization believe you have relevant materials that you may be interested in donating to one of our archives, then please contact us! Please note, that notifying us about materials in your possession neither entails a commitment on your part nor guarantees that the materials will be archived. We are currently most interested in materials relevant to one or more of our current thematic foci. However, we would like to know about other materials as well for when our foci inevitably shift an expand to include additional areas.