Making LGBTQ history more accessible
Valerie Mondor is a late bloomer, only coming out as a lesbian in her mid-40s, when she finally gave herself permission to be herself. Before then, she was the token straight friend on lesbian sports teams.
Mondor hasn’t had much experience with LGBTQ history. That is, until she discovered the Tretter Collection. “I saw just a little piece of what the Tretter has,” Mondor said. “It absolutely would have affected me deeply had I known about it sooner — had I realized how extensive and how important it is.”
For 41 years, she worked as a video editor for Twin Cities Public Television, helping storytellers tell their stories. She’s now retired, but Mondor still loves helping people tell their stories. And she’s found a way to achieve that by making LGBTQ history more accessible across the state and the Midwest.
Mondor recently named the Tretter Collection as a beneficiary of her estate, and she’s also contributing LGBTQ materials and stories from local organizations.
“My heart is with my queer community, and the archives I feel are very valuable.”
“My heart is with my queer community, and the archives I feel are very valuable. The Tretter is massive to me. It spans so much material,” Mondor said. “I feel it could be even more accessible if there was more staff.”
She volunteers with the Vivian Vance Memorial Card Collective, a group that has decided to donate photographs and other materials about the Twin Cities LGBTQ community from the 1970s to the early 2000s — alongside a small monetary donation — to the Tretter.
Mondor is also archiving the monthly newsletter for Out in the Valley, a social networking group for LGBTQ people in the St. Croix River Valley. Mondor has volunteered there since the group’s inception, and serves as its de-facto historian.
With her newfound freetime, Mondor is planning more and more trips to the Tretter Collection to experience her history firsthand.
“I would like to just scratch a little bit of the surface of the great collections that the Tretter has … just wanting to see more of that extensive, pretty marvelous collection,” Mondor said.