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Finding Aid to the Tom Mertz Collection on Queer Nation, 1990-2000

Finding aid prepared by Loni Shibuyama, (c) 2014

Processing this collection has been funded by a generous grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Summary Information

Repository
ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
Creator - Creator
Mertz, Tom
Title
Tom Mertz collection on Queer Nation
Collection no.
Coll2014.025
Date [inclusive]
1990-2000
Extent
0.4 linear foot., 1 archive carton + 1 mapcase drawer.
Language
English
Abstract
Press material, flyers, clippings, correspondence, notes, protest signs, audiocassettes, and a VHS videocassette from Tom Mertz documenting the activities of the Los Angeles chapter of Queer Nation, 1990-2000. The collection documents the actions Queer Nation/LA organized and the media attention it received, including a zap on the Arsenio Hall Show in 1991.

Preferred Citation

[Box/folder #, or item name] Tom Mertz Collection on Queer Nation, Coll2014-025, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California.

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Historical Note

Queer Nation was an action-oriented movement formed in New York City in April 1990 in response to a sharp increase in violence against LGBT people. The group sought to increase LGBT visibility and fight "oppression, homophobia, racism, misogyny, the bigotry of religious hypocrites and our own self-hatred" through direct actions. By the next year, 60 chapters of Queer Nation sprung up in cities throughout North America. Queer Nation/Los Angeles formed in 1990 and engaged in actions such as protesting Governor Pete Wilson's veto of AB 101 anti-discrimination bill; picketting during the Academy Awards and encouraging Hollywood actors to come out; and organizing a zap on the Arsenio Hall Show to confront the host on his lack of LGBT guests.

Source: Freeman, Elizabeth. "Queer Nation." Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History in America. 3 vols. Marc Stein, Ed. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons: Thomson Gale, 2003. 478-481.

"Queer Nation (organization)," ONE Subject File collection, Coll2012-001, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California

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Scope and Contents

The collection comprises press material, flyers, clippings, correspondence, notes, protest signs, audiocassettes, and a VHS videocassette from activist Tom Mertz documenting the activities of the Los Angeles chapter of Queer Nation, 1990-2000. The bulk of the materials documents the actions Queer Nation/LA organized and the media attention it received, including actions against the Arsenio Hall Show, Barney's Beanery, and Dr. Laura Schlesinger. Also included is material for a radio documentary on the 20th anniversary of the Los Angeles Gay Community Services Center, produced by Mertz for the IMRU radio program on KPFK.

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Arrangement

This collection is arranged chronologically.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
(c) 2014
909 West Adams Boulevard
Los Angeles, California, 90007
(213) 821-2771
askone@usc.edu

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to researchers. There are no access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the ONE Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives at USC Libraries as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Acquisition

Gift of Tom Mertz, December 14, 2006.

Processing Information

Formerly box #102-A135. Collection processed by Loni Shibuyama, May 2014.

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Related Materials

Separated Materials

Queer Nation News (December 1990-February 1991) has been separated to the periodicals.

The following items have been separated to the ONE Archives garments collection:

"ACT UP" circa 1990 (1 sweatshirt).

"Make Queer Film" circa 1991 (1 t-shirt).

"Queer Defense Squad; Queer Nation/LA" 1991 (1 t-shirt).

"Stop Dr. Laura: are you a biological error?" 2000 (1 t-shirt).

"We'll Have a Gay Old Time" circa 1992 (1 t-shirt).

The following items have been separated to the ONE Archives posters collection:

"Every 10th Jesus is a Queer" 1991.

"Who is the Most Important Man in the World?" 2000.

The following art works have been separated to the Jaime Green Collection (unprocessed):

"Easter Eggs XII" 1996.

"How to Use a Condom" 1996.

"Sister X" 1993.

"The Essence of Men" 1994.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center.
  • Queer Nation (Organization).

Personal Name(s)

  • Hall, Arsenio
  • Schlessinger, Laura

Subject(s)

  • Demonstrations--California--Los Angeles
  • Gay activists--California--Los Angeles
  • Homophobia
  • Mass media and gays--United States

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Collection Inventory

Series 1:  Tom Mertz collection 

Box Folder

 Actions and protests; clippings (miscellaneous) 1990-1992 

1 1

 Flyers 1990-1992 

1 2

 Media committee records 1990-1992 

1 3

 March on Hollywood, Hollywood actions records 1990-1991 

1 4

 Barney's Beanery November 1990-February 1991 

1 5

 Arsenio Hall Show December 1990 

1 6
Item

 Arsenio Hall Show [video recording] December 14, 1990   1 videocassette (VHS).

VV3098
Box Folder

 Queer Bashing December 1990-January 1991 

1 7
Map-case

 "Come Out of the Celluloid Closet" picket sign 1991 

3.2

 "It's Okay to be Gay" picket sign 1991 

3.2

 "Queer Hollywood, Come Out" picket sign 1991 

3.2

 "Queer Stars Shine Brighter" picket sign 1991 

3.2
Box Folder

 Gay Rodeo March 1991 

1 8

 IMRU on KPFK; L.A. Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center April-July 1991 

1 9
Item

 "20 Years of LA Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center" [sound recording] July 1991   1 audiocassette.

AC2613

 "20 Years of LA Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center" raw interviews [sound recording] 1991   1 audiocassette.

AC2614
Box Folder

 Queer Pink, Dodger Blue July 1991 

1 10

 KCET and PBS, Stop the Church August 1991 

1 11

 Academy Awards, Hollywood Homophobia January-March 1992 

1 12

 Dr. Laura (Schlesinger) March 2000 

1 13
Map-case

 "Hate the Sinner, Love the Sin" Dr. Laura picket sign 2000 

3.2

 "No More Dr. Laura" picket sign 2000 

3.2

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