Oral History with Peter Edwards


Part 1-
In this transcript, Peter Edwards shares his experiences of living as a member of the LGBTQ+ community in Washington DC. He discusses his journey of coming out as a gay man and finding a sense of community and acceptance in DC, while conversely sharing his experiences as an insecure gay teenager struggling with his sexuality in the 1980s. Despite the challenges, Edwards found community in the now-defunct gay rodeo, country western dancing, and the Lesbian and Gay chorus of Washington. The conversation also touches upon dating in DC. Overall, the transcript highlights the challenges and joys of living as a member of the LGBTQ+ community in Washington DC and the importance of finding a sense of community and acceptance.

Part 2-
In this transcript, Peter Edwards discusses his involvement with Dignity DC, an organization for Catholic LGBTQ+ individuals. Edwards talks about the history of Dignity, including its origins and its move from Georgetown University to St. Margaret Episcopal Church. He shares his personal experiences attending Dignity, emphasizing the sense of belonging he felt and the importance of the organization for LGBTQ+ individuals who may feel alone or isolated. Edwards also discusses the activities and outreach efforts of Dignity, such as participating in local Pride events, organizing community dinners, and providing support during times of tragedy. Additionally, Edwards expresses commitment to the organization through his role as a leader within the community. Finally, Edwards mentions the challenges faced by Dignity in attracting younger members and diversifying the congregation, and emphasizes the ongoing need for a safe and welcoming space for LGBTQ+ individuals within the Catholic faith.

Part 3-
In this transcript, Peter Edwards discusses his involvement with the gay switchboard in the 1980s. The gay switchboard provided information and support to the LGBTQ+ community at a time when resources like the internet and smartphones did not exist. They operated a phone line, offering information on bars, social opportunities, and roommate connections. The switchboard also focused on peer counseling, providing a safe space for people to talk about their feelings and struggles. Peter reflects on the importance of the switchboard in helping individuals who felt lost or isolated, as well as the impact it had on his own life as a gay man in Washington, D.C. Overall, the conversation highlights the vital role the gay switchboard played in the LGBTQ+ community during a time of limited resources and social acceptance. It provided a supportive and anonymous outlet for people to seek information, connection, and guidance. The transcript also underscores the shift in communication and support with the advent of the internet, while acknowledging the continued need for human connection and understanding in today's digital age.


Access Rights

Oral History interview belongs to the Rainbow History Project


Jeff Donahue




Original Format

3 Audio Files, (01:09:11, 00:56:30, --- ), 34 MB, 27.8 MB, 16.9 MB


Edwards, Peter Pt 1 Abstract +Transcript.pdf
Edwards, Peter Pt. 2 Abstract + Transcript.pdf
Edwards, Peter Pt 3 Abstract + Transcript.pdf


“Oral History with Peter Edwards,” Rainbow History Project Digital Collections, accessed April 19, 2024, https://archives.rainbowhistory.org/items/show/1827.

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