LGBTQ+ San Diego: Stories of Struggles and Triumphs

July 8, 2018 – January 20, 2020

The San Diego History Center in partnership with the Lambda Archives brings the first exhibition EVER in Balboa Park, focused on San Diego’s LGBTQ+ community.
Titled LGBTQ+San Diego: Stories of Struggles and Triumphs this will be the History Center’s major exhibition of 2018 and will run to January 2020 with an estimated 250,000 visitors!

Exhibition Themes:

San Diego’s LGBTQ+ community has faced both tragedy and triumph. This exhibition focuses on major community themes including:

  • Identity – Who we are and how we define ourselves
  • Persecution
  • Pioneers who have helped shape our Region’s LGBTQ+ Community
  • Families we make and choose
  • Where the San Diego LGBTQ+ Community is headed and the work that remains ahead

Visitors will hear from those in the LGBTQ+ region about the struggles to overcome persecution, the battle with AIDS, bullying, and intolerance, and the power of the community.


We are collecting photos for our “Families We Make and Choose” wall as part of the of the exhibition, and looking for images that showcase your concept of family–either the one you were born into, or one that you became a part of.

Fun, serious, it doesn’t matter! We just want to show what family means to you.

To submit your photo, click the link below.

Nominate a Community Hero To Be in the Exhibition!

We are looking for your input. Nominate an LGBTQ+ pioneer, visionary, champion, leader, or someone inspirational to you in the San Diego region.

We are looking for enthusiastic volunteers to join our team during the run of this exhibition. Connect with like-minded individuals, meet new people, gain knowledge, and help tell the stories of our community. We are currently accepting new exhibition volunteers for the roles of Gallery Guide and Programs & Events Assistants. Additional information about the Volunteer Program can be found on our Volunteer Program webpage.

If you are interested in volunteering or have questions, please contact Alison Hendrickson, Visitor & Volunteer Engagement Manager –, 619-232-6203 x163.

Curation & Community Collaboration:

The exhibition curatorial team is led is by Lillian Faderman, LGBTQ+ scholar and author of the book The Gay Revolution and Harvey Milk: His Lives and Death from Yale University Press.

Ensure your legacy for this once in a generation event!

If you would like to support this exhibition financially, sponsorship opportunities are available.

Please contact William Lawrence, Executive Director – San Diego History Center. (619) 232-6203 x 106 or