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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Steven Reigns creates The Gay Rub, a participatory project to highlight

Steven Reigns is asking for people from around the world to make rubbings of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender markers, plaques, monuments, tombstones, and cenotaphs.

Poet & Activist Steven Reigns has created The Gay Rub, an ambitious project asking people to submit rubbings of GLBT historical markers. By gathering GLBTQ rubbings from across the globe, these public historic commemorations can be viewed at once.  GLBT history and landmarks are underrepresented and under appreciated.  The Gay Rub’s aim is to help draw more attention to the markers and the GLBT significance that prompted them. Reigns states, “I’m interested in what part of our queer history gets recognized and documented. Sadly, there are numerous markers signifying where hate crimes took place and also markers themselves that have been vandalized—such as the Natalie Clifford Barney plaque recently defaced in Ohio.”   The culmination of the project will be an installation of all of the rubbings, placed in chronological order that will travel to galleries and GLBT Centers.

A website for the project, gives more background on the project, how to’s for creating a rubbing, and a long list of location suggestions.  Reigns stresses this is not an exhaustive list. “The list on the website under Locations is there to help people locate landmarks they might not realize are nearby.  I also hope it will generate new ideas.   There is no database of GLBT markers.  I’d like to have a complete one at the close of this project,” States Reigns. The website also suggests where to find out more information on the internet.

Reigns, whose recent collection of poetry Inheritance, was published by Sibling Rivalry Press, sees the project as an artistic extension, “This is activism and educational but it’s also artistic. When doing rubbings I’m awed at the topography, the lettering, and that artisans created these plaques to be appreciated for years to come. The rubbings themselves become pieces of art.”

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