Diversity Award: Gregory Hinton

Gregory Hinton, author, historian, and creator of the acclaimed Out West program, is the 2023 recipient of the Diversity Award given by the Society of American Archivists (SAA). The award recognizes outstanding contributions in advancing diversity within the archives profession, SAA, or the archival record.

Many western-born LGBTQ+ individuals leave the rural conservative towns that reared them to seek out community, companionship, and safety in other places. Much of Hinton’s creative and scholarly endeavors are in response to this evacuation, in an effort to make visible queer history and presence in the American West. In 2009, Hinton created the Out West national program series for archives and museums to offer lectures, films, plays, gallery exhibitions, and collection acquisitions dedicated to LGBTQ+ history and culture in the American West. A noted filmmaker and playwright, Hinton’s plays Beyond Brokeback, Diversity Day, and A Sissy in Wyoming, performed across the country, are written from archival records relating to the LGBTQ+ community.

In 2015, Hinton cofounded “Out West in the Rockies” (OWIR), the first regional One City One Pride Western archives at the American Heritage Center (AHC) of the University of Wyoming. Focused on the eight Rocky Mountain states of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Idaho, OWIR highlights LGBTQ+ history and culture in the American West by collecting, processing, and safeguarding queer histories for the benefit of students and scholars everywhere.

Hinton’s commitment in all his creative pursuits to preserving and telling the stories of the LGBTQ+ community in the United States has touched the lives of thousands of Americans and has created dedicated places to hold their histories. As noted by one of his nominators, “Gregory has been an invaluable partner of the AHC, assisting with acquisitions and public programming related to the LGBTQ+ experience in our region.” Another nominator commented, “He has taken his research and archival work to a whole new level by creating programs that thoughtfully impact communities. Gregory makes his research and archival work readily available as evidenced by the hundreds of presentations he has conducted in the West and beyond.” 

The Diversity Award was established in 2011. Previous recipients include Julie Varee, Judy Tyrus, and SAA Fellow Rebecca Hankins.