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A note on language: This site uses the terms queer and LGBTQ+ interchangeably to represent the many genders and sexualities that exist outside the cis-heteronormative power structure. Some people may feel like neither term describes them, or they may take offense to now reclaimed words that have historically been used as slurs. This is understandable. Please know that the use of the terms is not meant to be harmful; it is an academic and logistical choice. The author of this site encourages people to use the terms that individuals are most comfortable with when interacting with others on a personal level.
Sarah Calise (she/they) founded Nashville Queer History in July 2021. Calise is a professionally-trained public historian and archivist based in Murfreesboro. She moved to Tennessee in 2014 from Florida, and has spent the last five years documenting and preserving Middle Tennessee’s political, social, and cultural history as the Archivist at the Albert Gore Research Center. They built this website and researched much of its contents, including countless hours digitizing many of the photographs, newspapers, and other documents. She continues to research Nashville’s LGBTQ+ history, and they welcome additions, oral history participants, and corrections. Contact Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oral History Assistant
Philip Staffelli-Suel (he/his) is a researcher conducting oral interviews for Nashville Queer History. Staffelli-Suel is a professionally trained public historian. He is currently working on a PhD in public history at Middle Tennessee State University, where he received his master’s degree. He received his B.A. in history from UNC-Chapel Hill. Staffelli-Suel’s dissertation, under the mentorship of Dr. Carroll Van West, will expand upon his M.A. research into the LGBTQ community in Tennessee. He is particularly interested in exploring the AIDs crisis in Tennessee and how we interpret LGBTQ history for the public and grades K-12. Additionally, he works as an Educator at the Tennessee State Museum, where he attempts to expand the museum’s approach to LGBTQ history, and as an adjunct faculty member within MTSU’s history department. He has researched LGBTQ spaces, places, and community building with the city of Nashville. Throughout his career Staffelli-Suel has focused on telling the untold stories of people, to bring the truth to light. He is excited to help preserve and tell this history. He welcomes all to reach out to him to help to tell their truth.
Former Team Members
Maia Council (she/her) is a graduate student based in Murfreesboro. Her role at Nashville Queer History is one of research and discovery, delving into historical documents to bring Nashville’s queer story to light.