On Tuesday, December 5, 2017 the Ozarks Lesbian and Gay Archive (OLGA)received a $4,720 grant award from Springfield Black Tie. Thanks to ongoing support from Springfield Black Tie, OLGA will be able to better preserve this area’s LGBTQ history and culture. Part of the grant will be used to transfer “This Gay Life” to digital format. This television program was produced by local activist Cruz Devon for community access television in 1994 and 1995, and covered a myriad of topics relevant to LGBTQ life during that time. Topics include “Show-Me Equality,” “Gay Parenting,” “Becoming Visible,” “Human Rights Project,” “Gays in the Classroom,” and similar subject matter. After the VHS and ¾” tapes are transferred to digital files, the collection will be uploaded to the University Libraries’ YouTube channel. Other funds from the grant will enable the archives to better care for the collection and improve accessibility.
Springfield Black Tie is southwest Missouri’s premier fund raising event benefiting local and state-wide charities which serve the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT+) community. In the past fourteen years, Black Tie has raised almost $650,000 for its beneficiaries. Black Tie’s November 2017 gala earned over $117,000 in donations. Past support from Springfield Black Tie has enabled OLGA to establish an endowment, purchase archival supplies, and underwrite the cost of transcribing the oral histories in the collection. To learn more about OLGA, contact Anne Baker, Head of Special Collections, at AnneBaker@missouristate.edu or 417.836.4299.