The Whitman College LGBTQ+ Oral History Project, hosted by the Whitman College and Northwest Archives and supported by the Whitman History Department, was created in 2019 in order to document and preserve the story of Whitman's LGBTQ community. Initially the project was focused on the long-time LGBTQ+ student group PRISM, which was previously known as the GLA, GLBA and GLBTQ, and took the place of the activist group, Coalition Against Homophobia. Due to the confidential and historically off-campus nature of GLBTQ, there had been little record of LGBTQ+ life and activism at Whitman. Thus, the project hoped to address this incomplete history by conducting oral history interviews with alumni, as well as former staff and faculty, who were involved in Whitman’s LGBTQ+ community.
During the 2019-2020 academic year, the project was expanded beyond just the history of student groups to cover LGBTQ+ experiences at Whitman more generally in order to be inclusive of all LGBTQ+ community members. The fall 2019 semester was dedicated to recording the stories of trans and gender non-conforming alumni. Trans experiences are frequently left out or sidelined in LGBTQ+ historical work, and the project leaders wanted to prevent this from happening to this project by providing a space to intentionally include and prioritize trans narratives.