Queer and Trans BIPOC Bay Area Writers Pay Homage to Their Ancestors and Living Legends in the SFPL Archive


image of writers

I Still Love You: Queerness, Ancestors and the Places That Made Us features original poetry, artwork and historical treasures, some never exhibited to the public

 On view March 18–June 29, 2023 at San Francisco Main Library, James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center

SAN FRANCISCO - The James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center at San Francisco Main Library hosts a newly created, intimate exhibition titled I Still Love You: Queerness, Ancestors and the Places That Made Us curated by local queer women of color artists Tina Bartolome and Natalia M. Vigil. Opening March 18, the exhibition juxtaposes poetry and art from 16 BIPOC Bay Area artists with archival treasures and literary selections from the Hormel Center’s collections.

What makes this exhibition so unique is its evolutionary journey. In spring 2022, the Hormel Center hosted Kaleidoscope, a creative writing workshop, created by community-based arts organizations Still Here San Francisco and Queer Ancestor Project. Simple yet groundbreaking, the workshop paired queer and transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) transitional-aged youth with older queer and TGNC teaching artists to develop original work. At the workshop’s culminating performance, it became clear to Hormel Center manager and librarian Cristina Mitra that the artists’ work deserved a broader audience in the form of an exhibition. Leaning into the workshop’s themes of ancestry, love and family in all its manifestations, Bartolome and Vigil dove into the Hormel Center archives and hand-selected photographs, diaries and ephemera that overtly and subtly conversed with the young artists’ work.

“LGBTQIA+ people in the San Francisco Bay Area are not a monolith. Nor are we historical. We are young, we are elders, we are poets and we are here,” says Cristina Mitra, Program Manager for the Hormel LGBTQIA Center. “Every detail of this exhibition has been rooted in intention and community-driven at each step. Come and experience the love that binds us in an artistic conversation that suspends time and space. Feel the power of writing and the complex lineages of people and places that made us in this truly unique exhibition.”

In addition to the Kaleidoscope workshop works, more than ten different collections from the Hormel Center’s LGBTQIA archives will be on display—some never exhibited—including the sublime black-and-white portraits by photographers Robert Giard and Lynda Koolish and selections from the archives of Native American writer, photographer and political activist Barbara Cameron and Native American playwright, author and poet Jewelle Gomez and the collection on disco star Sylvester and much more.

Artists in this exhibition include: Amalia Macias-Laventure, Izaac Limón, J. Torres, JTL, Joemae Santos, Marcel Pardo Ariza, Mason J., Natalia Vigil, S.C. Smith, Shay X. Gee, tanea lunsford lynx, Tiara Mir, Tina Bartolome, Tina V. Aguirre, vero majano, Zara Jamshed, Ziggy Ann DeBerry.


I Still Love You: Queerness, Ancestors and the Places That Made Us
DATES: March 18–June 29; Opening Reception with free books and portrait photography, March 25, 4 p.m.
LOCATION: Main Library, 100 Larkin Street, Hormel LGBTQIA Center, 3rd Floor

About the Co-curators
Tina Bartolome was born and raised in San Francisco, the daughter of working-class immigrants from the Philippines and Switzerland. Somewhere between coming out, facing eviction, writing on walls and fighting racist propositions, she joined the movement and never looked back. Bartolome is a storyteller and social justice educator striving to continue the legacies of Paulo Freire, June Jordan and other freedom fighters who show us the way. Her writing can be found in Black Power Afterlives: The Enduring Significance of the Black Panther Party and Still Here: An Anthology of Queer and Trans People Raised in San Francisco.

Natalia M. Vigil is a queer Xicana writer with native heritage, a multimedia curator and big sister of six, born and raised in San Francisco. Vigil is an arts administrator passionate about community-driven creativity and cultural preservation through artist sustainability. Vigil is the co-founder of Still Here San Francisco for which she was honored as a Local Hero by the San Francisco Human Rights Commission.

This exhibit is a partnership between the James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center, Queer Ancestors Project (QAP) and Still Here San Francisco (SHSF). QAP is devoted to forging sturdy relationships between LGBTQI people and our ancestors. SHSF is an intergenerational cultural preservation project amplifying the voices and creativity of LGBTQ2S+ Black, Indigenous, and People of Color raised in San Francisco.


March 2, 2023