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Paris Homo Archive Flap

Christopher Miles: Petition is "biased and misinformed"

JANUARY 2, 2003. THE GULLY asked Christopher Miles, co-founder of the Paris Archive of Homosexuality, what he thought about the charges of exclusion of lesbians and transgender people made in a widely circulated petition activists are planning to give Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë later this month.

CHRISTOPHER MILES: The petition sent to list members against the current project for a Centre of Archives and Documentation for gays and lesbians in Paris has been making the rounds and collecting many signatures. It is biased and misinformed.

I will simply quote from the outline of the archives project as published. It clearly shows that the project is intended to include ALL sexual minorities; I know for a fact that the organizers are making an effort to recruit more women into the project (there are currently about twenty lesbians involved out of a total of about sixty people).

This is my hasty translation of an excerpt from the project description:

"The creation of this place raises the question of the presence of lesbian, bisexual and transexual documentation at the heart of the archives. The solution should, in our opinion, be the following:

-As far as the centre of documentary resources is concerned, it should offer the widest possible documentation on sexual minorities.

-There already exist lesbian and feminist archives [in Paris] that are closed to men, for various reasons. (...) The centre should establish links with these institutions (which moreover ought to be better financed), for mutual enrichment, putting on-line and possibly numerising the holdings. The centre should also collect all holdings that will be given it, whether from homosexuals or lesbians, bisexuals or transexuals because of its wish to be as open as possible. But it is likely that in the short term the holdings will in the majority concern male homosexuality for historical reasons. [My note: this simply refers to the fact that there are more sources available about male homosexuality and that there is already a functioning lesbian archive in Paris; the operative phrase here, however, is "short term".]

-Major feminist holdings should also be constituted, because the history of homosexual and lesbian liberation is inseparable from the feminist movement of the 1970s.

-Finally, the functioning of the centre and particularly that of its scientific committee should tend toward parity [of men and women] and associate all the components of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transexual community."

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