In 2019, Jana and Natalie worked with young LGBTQ+ people from X-Plore Youth and the Exeter College LGBTQ+ group to start to queer the RAMM. Over several months, we met with the young people and asked them whether they felt that their histories and identities were represented in the museum. We also discussed what it would mean to queer the RAMM and why this might be important to them and to others. Based on these conversations, we selected a number of objects that are on permanent display at the RAMM to raise questions and concerns that matters to the young people. This is how the Rainbow Trail was developed!
We first launched the Trail at a RAMM Lates event and then at Exeter Pride 2019! Check out the video below to see Natalie and Jana talk about the Rainbow Trail at the Lates event and read this article in the Exeter Observer to find out more about the project. We updated the Rainbow Trail in 2022 in response to new findings from the project.
Here is some feedback from the young LGBTQ+ people themselves:
“My favourite object is the gown, and I liked that Pepper LaBeija was mentioned. It’s great that the trail includes black queer culture, since it is often excluded from white queer culture.”
“I really liked it. It’s important to have the trail and build on it in the future. Our histories should be even more visible.”
“I absolutely loved the trail – it’s fun.”
“It’s important to draw attention to Native American cultures and two-spirit people, because we often tend to forget about non-Western gender identities.”