The Archives of Lesbian Oral Testimony (ALOT): Special Collections and Rare Books

 

Lesbians and queer women have been excluded from the official historical record, but their experiences tell a great deal about the past. 

They reveal what it meant for a woman to desire and love other women, and to survive and resist against a culture that treated them as sinful and deviant. 

Their stories open a window onto a world that once was, and help us imagine a world that might yet be.

Archives of Lesbian Oral Testimony

 About ALOT

The Archives of Lesbian Oral Testimony presents online oral histories and testimony from same-sex and same-gender attracted women, inclusive of Two Spirit, queer, bisexual, and lesbian women, transmen, and others.

ALOT was founded in 2010 by Professor El Chenier, Project Director and Associate Professor, Department of History, Simon Fraser University. With help from students and research assistants, assistance from staff at the SFU Library, and funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the ALOT website grew to house a vast array of revealing, insightful, and sometimes humorous interview recordings plus a well-received podcast and contributions from members of the public.

The ALOT website includes a sister website called An Army of Lovers (AOL)The Army of Lovers was an exhibit of large banners that featured the stories of lesbian, bisexual, Two Spirit, and queer women in the 1970s and 80s. The AOL website features a virtual gallery of the exhibit banners plus brief biographical information and audio interviews.

 Access the ALOT and Army of Lovers websites

As of 2020 the ALOT and Army of Lovers projects are complete, and no new content is being added. 

To ensure continuing access to the sites over the long term, we have created faithful archival reproductions of the original websites, hosted by the Wayback Machine: 

Notes for researchers

Using the sites:

  • Please be patient as pages on these sites will take time to load.
  • The search box on the ALOT site does not work, however you can browse, including by collection, topic, and tag.
  • These archival captures of the websites are snapshots of the content at the time of the capture. We have made our best efforts to ensure that information about interviewees is represented in a manner that is acceptable to them; we are constrained, however, by the software we use for the snapshots.

Private interviews:

  • Some interviews cited on the ALOT website are protected, and they are not available via the site. For access, contact staff in Special Collections and Rare Books.

 Contact info and help

Special Collections and Rare Books (SCRB) is honoured to take on stewardship of these important sites. For help with the websites, contact SCRB.

ALOT website founder El Chenier is no longer directly responsible for the ALOT and the Army of Lovers websites.