We created the LGBTQ Storytelling and Social Change Timeline propelled by our own curiosity. We knew that storytelling—both personal and pop culture—had contributed to progress in the LGBTQ rights movement, as it has in other movements. We wanted to explore this connection and visualize the impact—including policy, social milestones, and pop culture.
Utilizing a tool created by the Knight Lab at Northwestern University we built an interactive timeline sharing photos, videos, and history. You’ll find stories about Stonewall, Dear Abby, the Gayest Place on Earth, The Wire, boy bands, the AIDS epidemic, and the murders of at least 22 transgender women (on-record) in 2015 — the year we created the timeline.
We took special care in highlighting diverse stories—in their source and content—and being reflective of the past while remaining attuned to where the national conversation is going. We know achieving social change takes time. It requires a cumulative effect of stories from pop culture amplified by a story from the news, or by the story told by your friend or neighbor. The LGBTQ Storytelling and Social Change Timeline helped us visualize the connections of these stories not only to each other but through the passage of years and decades, and reinforce the idea that a single story cannot change the world, but storytelling can.