Museum brings first LGTBQ exhibit in El Paso

The+%E2%80%9CEngendering+Community%E2%80%9D+Exhibit+will+be+held+at+the+UTEP+Centennial+Museum+until+Sept.+19

Sergio Zamora

The “Engendering Community” Exhibit will be held at the UTEP Centennial Museum until Sept. 19

Fernanda Leon, Conributor

The first exhibit in El Paso to highlight the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community is now open to the public. This is a progressive move toward recognition among the LGBTQ community in the Sun City as their artistic endeavors are presented to the rest of the El Paso community.

The UTEP Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens will be displaying the  “Engendering Community” exhibit from June 2 to Sept. 19, showcasing the artisan work that depicts the struggles, triumphs and lifestyle of El Paso’s LGBTQ demographic, covering topics from same-sex marriage to gender identity.

Jose Galeano, junior art major, said it is very important to have an exhibit of this nature in the city.

“This could help many people to comprehend more about the topic and that way they can represent and support the LGBTQ community without judging or offending,” said Galeano.

The items in the exhibit are objects that the LGBTQ community from El Paso and Cd. Juárez have donated. These items mark their experiences.

“We have photographs, a drag queen’s gown, a trans person’s chest binder, journals, among other items,” said Joshua Lopez, English and American literature graduate student.

Lopez is also a researcher and participant with the “Engendering Community” exhibit.

Among the other things that the public will find in the exhibit are newspaper articles from El Paso Times that relate to LGBTQ activities. There are also items that feature the LGBT organizations on campus.    The history of the LGBTQ community is an important aspect that the exhibit wants to portray.

“Telling and hearing stories is important,” Lopez said. “They allow us to give voice to those who were voiceless, make that which was invisible visible, and we gain new perspectives.”

The LGBTQ community has gone through many struggles and it can still be a marginalized community for many people.

“The LGBTQ community in El Paso is a topic that is still very closed–in where people are judgmental without really knowing,” said Galeano. “Nowadays, the majority of us have someone on our side that is part of the LGBTQ community.”

According to Lopez, the exhibit challenges the public to see things from a different perspective and to stand from a new and different place.

Depicted on one of the exhibit’s walls is a quote from a UTEP alumni and former lecturer Victor Macias-Gonzalez that reads: “I was aware that a community does not exist if it doesn’t have history. The important thing, I told myself, is to collect history…you are not a current social problem but…belong to a community with a long trajectory and presence. You can’t be erased if you’re in history.”

For Lopez, this quote sums up the meaning of the exhibit.

“It all starts through by listening and engaging with our stories,” Lopez said.

Lopez also said the exhibit will bring awareness to UTEP students and the community in general of the presence that the LGBTQ community has in history and their efforts to have the same rights as everyone.

“We have broken many schemes in different social problems and it’s already time to break the scheme of keeping the LGBTQ community hidden,” Galeano said.

The Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens at UTEP are open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday through Saturday. The exhibit is free of charge for the general public.

For more information about the exhibit “Engendering Community,” visit museum.utep.edu or call (915) 747-5565.

Fernanda Leon may be reached at [email protected]