Marshall Shore shares some of the LGBT+ history in Arizona

Lifestyle | 4 Dec, 2021 |

Marshall Shore, The Hip Historian, hosted an event with AZ Humanities going over LGBT+ history in Arizona.

The event was an online presentation starting from the beginning of LGBT+ history in Arizona to where it is now. The Emmy-nominated host, Shore, discusses Arizona History through images, videos and tell-tale stories.

The AZ Humanities organization says that Shore “ has developed an almost cult-like following for sharing history.”

In his presentation he started by talking about his personal history and how he got to where he is today. Shore moved to Phoenix 22 years ago and has become a local celebrity in all parts of Arizona. The historian works with groups like The AZ Humanities organization to spread the history of diverse groups.


READ ALSOThe 15 best LGBTQ+ inclusive companies in Arizona


In the beginning of his timeline tonight he talked about the 307 bar in Downtown Phoenix which was a major LGBT+ hangout in the 70’s when it became a drag bar. This bar turned into a drag bar after the riots at the Stonewall Inn in New York, 1969. Police stormed the Stonewall Inn creating riots all over the country, including Phoenix. The Stonewall Inn has became a gay monument since 1969.

A major movement that the Hip Historian was a part of was when he told the story of Nicolai De Raylan. Raylan came to Arizona in the early 1900’s, but died almost immediately from tuberculosis. When his body was discovered doctors realized he was actually a woman, which caused major shock waves all over the country. After he died his story was on most of the front pages in every state.

Shore said that, “he was quite the center of discussion for the whole planet.” He was buried in The Greenwood Memory Lawn Mortuary and Cemetery, but without a headstone due to the doctors’ findings. Shore was able to raise 3,000 dollars so Raylan could be buried under a headstone. Shore’s friend Erica Keppler picked the quote for his headstone.

Keppler’s quote she picked said: “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment”- Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Shore said that the goal was not to out him, but to show people who he really was. The story about Raylan is what earned the historian an Emmy.

Tucson and Phoenix are where there is the most LGBT+ history out of the whole state. The West Valley has not seen much growth or support of diverse groups except for Glendale. In 2014 a survey went out to nine cities asking how they feel about gay rights. Glendale and Peoria ranked the lowest on the list, but Glendale leaders responded to it.

The Glendale City Manager, Kevin Phelps, said in a 2017 press release that, “A diverse community allows everyone to experience a perspective beyond their own backyard.”

After the survey came out in 2014, an ordinance was created to provide protection and support for LGBT+ community members. A few years later, the ordinance was accepted unanimously which formed The Human Relations Committee to create a safe environment for all diverse community members, not just people in the LGBT+ community.

The mayor of Glendale, Jerry Weiers, was happy with this decision and said, “I believe this is a positive step forward that will continue to unify our city and encourage mutual respect and understanding among all people.

In 2021, Glendale became the third Metro Phoenix city to add protection for diverse groups. Weiers hopes that other cities will follow since the largest Eastern and Western Valley cities in Arizona have the same legislation for diverse groups. More and more cities seem to be following them by adding smaller rules, but still have not followed suit since they do not have the ordinance in place.

The Hip Historian finished his presentation off by saying that he sees, “much more of a diverse history that is documented,” to come forward while talking about the future of LGBT+ history.

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