The Gift of History: A Reflection on Dragon Fruit Transcribing Day *Special Edition*

by Reynaldo Culannay, Jr. | July 22, 2014

DFP Special Edition group picAs I was walking to API Equality – Northern California’s Dragon Fruit Transcribing Day (Special Edition), I was thinking in my head “Why am I doing this on my birthday?” I could have gone shopping, met up with some friends, or stayed home playing videogames. But after spending a few hours listening to an audio recording of a person discussing their LGBTQ API life, I began to realize why I came to the event. I did not sacrifice my time to party or go binge shopping with friends. Instead, I got the opportunity to listen to interesting, empowering LGBTQ API stories.

Before the event started, I was a bit nervous about what I was about to experience because of how it will be my first time seeing the community of the organization. As it was time for the event to begin, I saw numerous bright faces with open arms coming in. It eased my nervousness as I was greeted with smiles and hugs.

After introductions of the event, I began doing what I was there for: transcribing. Listening to the person’s story unlocked a whole new world and perspective I would never think of. I felt as if I entered a time machine and immersed myself under the shoes of the interviewee.

DFP Special Edition Trikone

Traveling back in time continued after lunch when there was a fish bowl of three guest speakers: Steve, Willy, and Joyce who shared their stories and experiences in front of me. Being overwhelmed by the amount of information I was absorbing, I felt so empowered to continue learning more stories and someday share mine. Though I could have been getting cute, new clothes or the latest, bestselling videogames that could give me temporary happiness, I was gifted something better and long lasting: knowledge from the stories I heard and love from API Equality – Northern California’s community.

Being part of the event and transcribing showed me the importance of the organization’s Dragon Fruit Project. Doing work on the intergerational oral history project helped me realize the importance of history and how much people’s stories can help us learn about what it meant to be an LGBTQ API back in time. Also, I learned that the project can be used to teach future generations the hardships and achievements of those who were LGBTQ API. Discovering that there are few archived LGBTQ API stories out there in the world and that later generations are dying with their stories untold, I realized how crucial and valuable the stories can be.

I am glad I participated in an amazing event where we all learned something new, grew as individuals and a community, and shared our stories to create a new, better history for the future.

Interested in getting involved? Email dragonfruit@apiequalitync.org!