Introduction

Jungle Lust 2003 (33)

Building Communities and Making Connections

Welcome to our Dalton DeHart Photographs Exhibit. As you peruse the collection, we invite you to consider a few questions:

  • How do people find each other and form groups when “being out” has major, life-altering repercussions?
  • What kind of dynamic does it create when people are willing to socialize in private, but not in public?
  • How do communities perpetuate themselves? How much contact does there need to be for a community to exist?
  • What is the role of social events in establishing and preserving a community?
  • Are private spaces always places for expression, and are public spaces always places for repression? Has this changed over time?
  • The experiences of the older members of the GLBT community are very different from the experiences of younger members—how can we bridge this gap that has formed from a lack of shared history and understanding?
Follyball Fest 1993 (24)

Dalton DeHart photographed the GLBT community during a time when it was much harder to be out of the closet. He didn’t just attend the big events on the street, but as part of the community, he had access to private events, gatherings of individuals out of sight of the glaring public eye.

We hope that these slice-of-life photos and the events that they depict will serve as a reminder or a lesson about where the GLBT community came from and how it has changed to where it is today, and help bridge the divide of knowledge and misunderstanding that separates the older members from the younger.

Halloween Magic Sunday Encore (3)

A Note about Privacy:

Many of the pictures in this collection are explicit in some way, and may represent a sensitive time or situation in someone’s life. We are committed to telling a story about how communities form and change over the years through the vibrant and genuine moments that Dalton DeHart captured in his photography—but not at the expense of those who may be adversely affected by their digitization and publication. We ask that all viewers respect the privacy of those depicted and use this display for its intended purpose: to learn more about the narrative of the GLBT community and the ways members interacted with and expressed themselves to others. If contacted, we will gladly remove any images that hold personal significance for the viewer.

Montrose softball 1993 (7)

Acknowledgements:

Though the written portion of this display comes from many sources, many of the personal quotes are from an interview of Judy Reeves, who first inspired us to tell this narrative. We would like to thank Judy for supporting us in this endeavor as we trekked through the gloriously mysterious vaults of the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum of GLBT History, Inc.

Thank you to J.D. Doyle for his archive houstonlgbthistory.org, which contained thousands of searchable PDFs, primary sources, and information that fully fleshed out our narrative and perfectly supplemented Dalton's photos.

We would also like to thank Dr. Brian Riedel for laying the groundwork for this project, and the lovely volunteers at Rice University’s Digital Media Center and Woodson Research Center for helping us learn our way around the equipment and Omeka platform necessary to create the display.

Lastly, we would like to thank Dalton DeHart himself, for providing us with the brilliantly candid images that started it all.  The images represented here come from the collections of the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum of GLBT History, Inc.

Introduction