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Our Own flag

Our Own began publishing in 1976 when thoughts of liberty were in the air. In August of that year, a handful of gays and lesbians created a social and political group at the Unitarian-Universalist church in Norfolk, called the Unitarian-Universalist Gay Caucus (UUGC). Before long, the group needed a newsletter to keep members informed of activities. The first issue of Our Own featured an article about a spaghetti dinner being held to raise funds for a gay helpline.

 

The first few issues of Our Own primarily detailed the sparse gathering opportunities for gays and lesbians in Norfolk, and expounded upon the UUGC's dreams of establishing the helpline, a venereal disease clinic, telephone counseling, a public library of gay material, and a free legal aid clinic.

 

By the end of its second year of publication, the newsletter had grown in circulation and size. Our Own became a nucleus for the community. The people who started new gay organizations either met while working at Our Own or were brought together through our articles or news stories. But mainstream Virginia didn't feel as fondly toward the newspaper. Our Own found itself fighting to keep its issues in public libraries, which suddenly became unwilling to stock a gay newspaper. 

 

In August of 1998, the paper declared bankruptcy. Low revenues from advertising, increased rent costs, and chronic staffing problems hit a crisis point. At the time, it was one of the country's oldest gay and lesbian newspapers.

 

Of historical note are articles on anti-gay campaigns by Anita Bryant, Jerry Falwell, and Pat Robertson; the murder of San Francisco city supervisor and gay rights activist, Harvey Milk; same-sex marriage; gays and religion; gays in the military; gays in the media; the AIDS epidemic; and news, organizations, and events related to gay and lesbian people on local, state, and national levels.

 

See the Finding Aid for more information.

 

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Photo is of Alicia Herr and her partner Lois

 
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