Impact Stories

An oral history project gathering stories from the California LGBT community

About Us

Impact Stories started in October 2007 as an oral history project and has been traveling the state of California ever since, networking and building the foundation of a major statewide history project.
There are five major components of Impact Stories:

  • Scholarly Oral Histories: (audio only) for researchers and academics, many generations to come
  • Multi-Media Presentation: (focus: California, 1966 to 1981) to Colleges, Historical Societies, Conferences, Youth Groups, Community Centers.
  • Website: build Impact Stories and information about California LGBT History using the Impact Stories Website
  • Webisodes: visually film the participants for online platforms and documentaries
  • Documentary Films: travel the state, filming documentaries about various geographic regions or subjects of LGBT history.

Current Project Status and Completion Plan

Timeline for Calendar Years 2007-2013

  • Phase I: Building the project
  • Phase II: Interviewing and filming
  • Phase III: Public exposure, evaluation and planning for 2009 and beyond

Accomplishments to Date – Phase I

  • 10/2007 Attended Oral History Association Conference in Oakland, CA.
  • Networked with many oral historians nationwide
  • 10/2007 Met with statewide LGBT historical archivists/archives and started collaborating with them on historical research and potential narrators
  • 10/2007 Toured the state, meeting with academics, historians, libraries, historical societies and researchers. Visited oral history repositories throughout California
  • 11/2007 Continued building the project, networking and gathering names of narrators
  • 11/2007 Started formation of the project structure
  • 01/2008 Began presentations throughout the state with LGBT organizations
  • 01/2008 Began meetings with UCLA's COHR at the Young Research Library for archiving and preserving of Impact Stories oral histories
  • 02/2008 Training continued with classes at UC Davis and Stanford Universities

Phase II

  • 04/2008 Oral History interviews start throughout California
  • 04/2008 Continue presentations and meetings with LGBT elders and community
  • 05/2008 Proposals go out for 501c3 Status/Fiscal Sponsorship
  • 05/2008 Continue meetings for donation of project into COHR at UCLA archive
  • 07/2008 Multi-media project writing and researching begins
  • 07/2008 Continue interviewing with narrators
  • 08/2008 Initial set of narrators chosen for filming through pre-interviews
  • 09/2008 Filming begins for video vignettes of narrators in Los Angeles, CA.
  • 10/2008 Attend and present, OHA Conference Pittsburgh, PA.
  • 12/2008 Ending of interviews/filming for 2008. Start of third phase.

Phase III

  • 11/2008 Begin editing video vignettes for Impact Stories Documentary Film
  • 12/2008 Network with filmmakers/historians for Impact Stories Documentary
  • 12/2008 Evaluate first year accomplishments
  • 01/2009 Start 2009 and beyond strategic planning meetings


  • 01/2009 Meet film festival programmers regarding Impact Stories Documentary Film
  • 01/2009 Consult various Legal & Professional advisors
  • 02/2009 Determine film festival strategies for Documentary Film
  • 03/2009 Finish Impact Stories Documentary and submit to festivals
  • 04/2009 Network with LGBT youth organizations statewide
  • 05/2009 Upload vignettes to Impact Stories Website/YouTube/social networking sites
  • 05/2009 Continue Oral Histories throughout state
  • 07/2009 Launch multimedia presentation touring the state
  • 07/2009 Attend and Present Impact Stories at conferences through end of year
  • 08/2009 Further interviewing, filming and marketing for Impact Stories
  • 11/2009 Accession of processed oral histories into COHR at UCLA Library
  • 12/2009 Evaluate, critique, review Impact Stories success and accomplishments

2010 and Beyond

  • 2010 Continue interviewing and filming for Impact Stories
  • 2010 Upload vignettes to Website, YouTube and social networking sites
  • 2010 Tour state with multimedia presentation
  • 2011/2013 Additional oral histories, documentary films and presentations

Impact Stories is an oral history/ video project conceived by LGBT community activist Glenne McElhinney. Impact Stories will capture traditional, scholarly oral histories, documented first in audio interviews and written transcripts and then through follow-up filming of participants’ video biographies and vignettes. The project will feature historically significant members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, supportive allies, and the media personalities who covered this historic period. Impact Stories seeks to tell visually and verbally the stories of Californians who were active politically or artistically in the California LGBT movements between the years 1966 and 1981. In doing so, the project will put into perspective why those years are significant in California’s history.

The project is already breaking new ground in several areas: its size and statewide scope as a community oral history project and its early negotiations for donating into a major institutional oral history repository (UCLA’s Center for Oral History Research). Utilizing digital storytelling the project will be reaching audiences both youthful and elderly and everyone in between. Impact Stories is unique in its methods and approach to understanding and showcasing the impact these LGBT activists and artists had during this vibrant, pre- and post-Stonewall period that is relatively unknown to popular audiences.

Impact Stories is planning to interview and film through the year 2013, then a full review process will take place.