Thank you for visiting Rainbopedia’s Storytellers project. These videos about the LGBTQ+ experience were created by people from all over the world. Users everywhere can watch curated videos submitted to the Storytellers project, as well as selections from the StoryCorps, Sip of History, and Book of Queer playlists. More videos will be added soon.
If you would like to watch these videos with subtitles in your own language… when playing a video, click on the “Settings” icon, select “Subtitles/CC,” then click “Auto Translate.” A dropdown menu of languages will be displayed. Select your preferred language.
Then sit back, relax, and enjoy!
When one partner is more “out”
Amber and her girlfriend Ava discuss Ava’s experience entering into a same-sex relationship for the first time, and the ways Amber’s self-assurance in her identity and community gave Ava courage.
The Door She Opened
In 2018, at the age of 63, Dee Westenhauser came out as a transgender woman. But growing up in El Paso, Texas in the 1950s she remembers having a hard time fitting in. One weekend, her parents decided to take her to her aunt Yaya’s house. Aunt Yaya saw a kindred spirit in Dee, and gave her an opportunity that no one else would: a safe, loving space to be herself.
Stefan Lynch was raised by gay parents in the early eighties. He was cared for and loved by a group of adults, largely gay men, who he called his “aunties.” Stefan remembers the succession of AIDS-related illnesses in his family, including the death of his father in ‘91. Even in the face of terrible sickness and loss, his aunties showed him how to survive and care for one another.
The Love Season
John Banvard and Jerry Nadeau are military veterans who served in World War II and Vietnam, respectively. When they met in 1993, they were “sort of in the closet.” But the two hit it off and soon became inseparable. John, 100, and Jerry, 72, sat down at the veterans home where they live to reflect on nearly 25 years together.
The Saint of Dry Creek
Patrick Haggerty grew up the son of a dairy farmer in rural Dry Creek, Washington, during the 1950s. As a teenager, Pat began to understand he was gay—something he thought he was hiding well. But one day, after performing at a school assembly, Pat learned that his father could see him much more clearly than he realized.
A Life Worth Living
MJ Seide never thought that she would live a happy, fulfilling life. Then she met her future partner, who at the time had been married to a man and raising children. The two fell in love and MJ got to know her new extended family — including her granddaughter, Genna Alperin.
Mom and Son Talk About His Future As A Transgender
Gabe remembers when things really changed for him as a transgender kid. With his mother and friends by his side, knowing he wasn’t alone went a long way.
A Good Man
Bryan Wilmoth and his seven younger siblings were raised in a strict, religious home. At StoryCorps, Bryan talks with his brother Mike about what it was like to reconnect years after their dad kicked Bryan out for being gay.
Me & You
On May 25, 1971, Jackie Miller and her husband brought home their son, Scott, whom they adopted. 37 years later, they shared a conversation about Jackie’s decision to adopt him, their profound love for one another, and Scott’s trepidation at what the future holds.
Love Lost, And Found
Sue McConnell and Kristyn Weed are best friends and Vietnam-era veterans. Although they didn’t serve in the war together, they share a story of courage — on and off the battlefield. They met at a transgender veterans’ support group, and after hours of talking over coffee, they became inseparable. Since coming out, both Sue and Kristyn have lost contact with family members, but they’ve formed a powerful, enduring sisterhood.
A Certain Kind of Love
Glenda fell for Lauree at a time when both women felt societal pressure to pursue traditional paths. Though fate interfered with their plans to enjoy a late-in-life reunion, Glenda never forgot what it felt like to be loved by Lauree.
A Trans Grandmother Talks To Her Daughter
In the 1960s, while growing up in a housing project on Chicago’s South Side, Alexis Martinez had to hide who she was. 40 years later, she spoke with her daughter, Lesley, about her life as a transgender woman.
First Kiss on Lake Pontchartrain
It was the spring of 1981 in Louisiana. Liz Barnez was 16 and Lori Daigle was 17. They met while playing on competing high school sports teams. When they joined the all-star softball team that summer, their friendship blossomed into something more.
I Love Leslye
Leslye Huff and her partner, Mary Ostendorf, met in 1983. Leslye was open about her feelings for Mary and wasn’t shy about publicly showing her affection—even on their first date. Mary felt less comfortable with public displays of affection and had not told many people in her life about her sexuality, including her family. When Mary introduced Leslye to her mother, Agnes, they did not immediately reveal to her the nature of their relationship, but during that meeting Leslye felt a connection with Agnes. “I liked her. She was short like me, and pretty vivacious. She and I sat and talked and I thought the makings of a pretty good friendship was beginning.” Later that year, days before they gathered for Thanksgiving, Leslye picked up the phone and told Agnes the truth about her relationship with Mary.
It Shouldn’t Be Scary To Be Who You Are
12-year-old Kaysen Ford shares the most important moments in his life with his mother, Jennifer Sumner.
Remembering the Loss from AIDS that Brought Them Together
Larry Dearmon and Stephen Mills met in 1992, during the height of the AIDS epidemic in Little Rock, Arkansas. Together for 26 years, the two remember the loss that eventually brought them together.
A Life of Honor: A Gay Veteran Recalls Serving in Silence
When Joseph Patton joined the Navy in 1955, he recalls serving in silence, as the LGBTQIA+ community could not be open while in the military. Despite being the “perfect sailor,” Joseph was kicked out of the Navy for being friends with gay service members, under the assumption that he was homosexual. Due to the status of his “undesirable discharge,” Joseph was unable to receive any benefits for his service in the Navy. Joseph reflects on his journey and shares his resilience, as he fought and successfully changed his status to “honorable discharge.”
Remembering Faygele, Gay Rights Trailblazer
Patrick Haggerty and Ronni Gilboa remember their friend Faygele as a gay rights trailblazer who fought against workplace discrimination. Faygele ben Miriam often challenged his friends and colleagues to think of freedom, from how they dressed to whom they stood up for and at what cost. He was willing to put everything on the line — even his safety — if it meant making the world a better place to live.
A trans man on being a son-in-law
Aydian has documented his journey as a trans man for subscribers to the YouTube channel ALionsFears. His wife, Jennilee, recalls the ways her husband supported her through the death of her father, while Aydian reflects on what his father-in-law’s acceptance meant to him.
Finally being his true self
“I feel like my entire life I was in uniform.” Ken describes for his friend Nicola the ways he felt inhibited from expressing his sexuality until he moved to the U.S.
An Honest Life
When Jeffrey Perri was nine years old, his grandfather, Tony Perri, came out to him as gay. Grandfather and grandson share memories of their respective coming out journeys and reflect on how much they mean to each other.
The Joys of Having Kids
Daniel Schmeder talks about how perceptions have changed around same-sex couples raising children, and how amazing it feels to raise a daughter of his own.
Christopher remembers the early days of the AIDS epidemic
Christopher Harris recorded his memories from the early days of the AIDS epidemic. In the early 80s, his marriage fell apart after he came out as gay. He was diagnosed with HIV in 1988. At the time, there was only one drug approved to treat the disease, and a diagnosis often meant a death sentence. Harris remembers how he came to work with the Atlanta Buyers Club, which distributed medications from the black market to people with HIV before the drugs had been approved by the FDA.
A Couple Determined to Marry
Jack Baker and Michael McConnell married in 1971, decades before same-sex marriage was legalized in the United States. The couple share the perseverance that made their love possible.
Coming-out stories: mother, then son
Kingsley grew up with two moms, but there was a time when he didn’t understand the woman in his biological mother’s life was her partner. Kingsley shares with his friend Raymond how he arrived at that understanding, and how it shaped his own coming-out experience.
Share your story
We all have stories to tell. Rainbopedia wants you to be a Storyteller by creating a video about any part of the global LGBTQ+ experience. It can be about yourself, someone you know, or a historical person, place, or event. Videos will be shared here and on Rainbopedia’s YouTube channel.
Share your story with the world. All you need are your memories and your voice.
Suggestions to Help You Tell an LGBTQ+ Story
- Tell us about what the LGBTQ+ world is like where you live
- Talk about someone who helped you come out
- Describe your happiest or most difficult memory
- Tell us about someone who had a big influence on you
- Talk about what you are most grateful for
- Describe what the LGBTQ+ world was like when you were younger
- Tell us about obstacles you have overcome
- Talk about how your family responded when you came out
- Describe how your life has been different from the one you first imagined
- Tell us about a historical LGBTQ+ person, place, or event
- Assist an elder you know to recount or share their LGBTQ+ story
Submissions must follow YouTube’s Content Guidelines, including:
- Submissions will be curated and a selection will be featured on this site and Rainbopedia’s YouTube channel
- No copyrighted material such as licensed music playing in the background or over the video
- No nudity or overt sexual content
- No excessively sexual or vulgar speech
- Videos can be submitted in any language
- Videos must be a minimum of 30 secs and a maximum of 3 minutes
- Videos must be no larger than 1GB
- Video quality is preferably 720p or 1080p
- Preferred aspect ratio is 16:9 to avoid letterboxing
- Storytellers prefers the MP4 format but the following are also acceptable: .MOV, .MPEG4, .MP4, .AVI, .WMV, .MPEGPS, .FLV, 3GPP, WebM, DNxHR, ProRes, CineForm, HEVC (h265)
- Audio-only stories must be converted to still-image video before submitting
- Audio-only submissions should include a single still image as your video thumbnail
Performers and artists talk about Storytellers
Celebrated artists talk about important LGBTQ+ milestones and historic personalities in their own, inimitable way, and how you can make a difference by sharing your unique story.
John Fleck for Rainbopedia
John discovers “The Lavender Song” on Rainbopedia.
Odious Ari for Rainbopedia
Odious Ari reminisces about their time spent with Ma Rainey.
Ian MacKinnon for Rainbopedia
Ian MacKinnon tells us about Karl-Heinrich Ulrichs.