Meet the Man Dedicating His Life to Preserving an 'Epicenter' of LGBTQIA+ History

"The beauty of our community is just how diverse we are."

Graphic with photo of Terry Beswick
Photo: Photo: Michael Rains

After a difficult year, it's time to start exploring the world once again. We're celebrating the reopening of borders and the return to everything from solo adventures to family reunions with all-new episodes of our podcast, Let's Go Together, which highlights how travel changes the way we see ourselves and the world.

In the first season, our pilot and adventurer host, Kellee Edwards, introduced listeners to diverse globe-trotters who showed us that travelers come in all shapes and sizes and from all walks of life. From the first Black woman to travel to every country on Earth to a man who trekked to Machu Picchu in a wheelchair, we met some incredible folks. And now, in our second season, we are back to introduce you to new people, new places, and new perspectives.

In our latest episode, Edwards chats with Terry Beswick, the executive director of the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco on the importance of preserving LGBTQIA+ history in The Castro.

"I just want to say that the LGBTQ history, it's a history of overcoming challenges in terms of discrimination, overcoming AIDS, and just powerful and inspiring stories of how we came together to exert political force, which was made possible by our numbers in coming out as LGBTQ people," Beswick shares. "But I don't want to overlook the fact that we're also a really fabulous community. And the whole beauty of our community is just how diverse we are. And so what brings us together is our differences in terms of gender and sexuality from the norm."

For almost 35 years, Beswick has worked as an advocate and organizer for the LGBTQIA+ community. He was the first national coordinator of ACT NOW, the national AIDS activist network, and a co-founder of the Castro LGBTQ Cultural District. Most recently he was honored as a Community Grand Marshall for the San Francisco Pride Parade and Celebration in 2020.

In the podcast, Beswick shares how he got started advocating for the LGBTQIA+ community, how he and the GLBT Historical Society preserves and archives the community's history and his thoughts on the importance of The Castro.

"When I see a group of people that I particularly identify with that is discriminated against, I want to take action to try to stop it," Beswick says. "And so that's really been the basis for my work in the actor days and the late 1980s, and then organizing community-based research and treatment, access for people with AIDS. And more recently, working on trying to preserve our queer history and culture for the protection of young LGBTQ people, especially."

Hear more from Beswick and Edwards about protecting LGBTQ spaces on Let's Go Together, available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Player.FM, and everywhere podcasts are available.

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