[image-1] A project to document the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the Lowcountry just got a $50,000 vote of confidence.

The cash infusion to the College of Charleston’s “LGBTQ Life in the Lowcountry” project comes courtesy of a $25,000 donation by Charleston native and literary editor Harriet McDougal.

Her donation was matched dollar-for-dollar by local businesswoman and philanthropist Linda Ketner. Combined with more than 20 smaller donations, the College says total pledges to the project have surpassed $53,000.

“LGBTQ Life in the Lowcountry” is headed by author and librarian Harlan Greene and professor and historian Cara Delay. Relevant materials are held by the college library’s Special Collections Department. So far, the project has collected 50 oral histories and various documents, such as the organizational records for local LGBTQ advocacy group Alliance for Full Acceptance and the personal papers of cookbook author John Martin Taylor.

“These funds will allow the project to grow, expanding its research into communities throughout the Lowcountry and guaranteeing these stories will be saved and accessible to the public and scholars,” the college said of the new contributions.

McDougal volunteered with local support groups after her friend William van Hettinga contracted HIV in the 1980s, a time when little was known about the virus.

“I had friends that didn’t seem to have anyone helping them,” she said in a statement.

To learn more about the project and record an oral history, visit speccoll.cofc.edu/lgbtq.

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