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Lambda Archives responds to Dr. Lillian Faderman's resignation letter

In response to Lillian Faderman’s resignation as Lambda Archives’ historian-in-residence, I would like to offer the following comments and points of clarification:

Earlier this year, the LGBTQ+ exhibit was moved to a smaller exhibit space. At that time, the majority of the items on loan to the History Center associated with the LGBTQ+ exhibit were returned to Lambda Archives as planned with the closing of the main exhibit in January. Lambda Archives and its Board of Directors later decided that the few remaining items left on loan to the History Center be returned to Lambda Archives. After listening to your concerns about returning those remaining items from the exhibit, the Lambda Archives Board of Directors revisited the issue and agreed to extend the items on loan through February of 2021.

Lambda Archives is not denying education to the San Diego Sheriff’s Department. Earlier this year, Lambda Archives decided, as a Board, that we were not comfortable with the fact that we do not have a say in when our name is used in conjunction with any programming, training, etc. associated with the exhibit. We should always have a say when and if our name is tied to programming and training.

Christine Garcia contacted us, as you’ve indicated, and we provided her with a timeline of SDPD and LGBTQ+ history that our staff spent weeks putting together. We also provided her with two oral histories from our archive and photos from the Myth California Protests. We also offered to e-introduce her to the History Center to see if they may have other items there that may be helpful to her.

As a public non-profit, Lambda takes its responsibility towards equitable, unbiased access seriously, and despite a very small staff, always finds a way to accommodate research visits. It's important to note, however, that providing public access and partnering with other organizations are not the same thing. Our responsibility towards providing unbiased access to collections means that any individual or organization is welcome to use the collections and we are happy to provide assistance in locating materials. The onus of conducting and organizing the research to support any particular message or agenda, however, is on that individual. It's inappropriate for other organizations to ask Lambda to provide advocacy as a "service," and depending on the nature of the advocacy, can constitute a conflict of interest. When Lambda partners with another organization on a mutually-agreed upon exhibit, article or project, that is different, because the voice is Lambda's. Lambda Archives is committed to upholding the core values and code of ethics developed by the Society of American Archivists, and stands firmly behind their recent statement regarding Black Lives and Archives.

It is truly unfortunate that our relationship is ending in this way, but we would like to express our gratitude for all that you’ve done for the Archives these past few years.


Nicole Verdes

Pronouns: she/they

Board President,

Lambda Archives