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Anthony Mascioli Rainbow Dialogues

Dr. Beck Orr, keynote speaker 2019 (left), logo (center), Franklin A. Robinson, Jr., keynote speaker 2018 (right)

The Anthony Mascioli Rainbow Dialogues were designed as a series of community building conversations demonstrating how LGBTQ+ history and archival documents from the past are relevant today. The Dialogues reference and contextualize LGBTQ+ life in Rochester against the backdrop of local and national social justice issues.

The ongoing program represents a unique partnership between the Out Alliance, the Rochester Public Library, FFRPL, and ImageOut. The program has been supported by Humanities New York and the Rochester LGBTQ Giving Circle, with and additional input provided by SUNY Brockport faculty as well as community volunteers.

Anthony (‘Tony’) Mascioli (1930 – 2013) grew up around North Street in Rochester and went to Catholic schools. He knew he was gay as a young man, but when he came out to his family, his father was not very supportive. He left Rochester at 19 to briefly live in New York City, before returning to Rochester to attend The College at Brockport, State University of New York (then known as Brockport State Teacher’s College). After graduating from Brockport, he returned to New York and attended Columbia University majoring in English Literature. In 1974 he went into partnership with his cousin and opened the Wall Street Spa and Sauna. Soon after, Tony also opened the East Side Sauna, and a guest house on Long Island. He boldly celebrated being a gay man at a time when it wasn’t socially acceptable or safe. He provided a place for men — in and out of the closet — to socialize and find fulfillment in their identity. Most of all Tony lived his life openly and with pride.

Tony was socially and financially invested in The Out Alliance, the Rochester Public Library, the Friends & Foundation of the Rochester Public Library, SUNY Brockport, and ImageOut. Our organizations are proud to partner together under the leadership of the Out Alliance to present the Anthony Mascioli Rainbow Community Dialogues, continuing Tony’s support of the Rochester LGBTQ+ community and the community-at-large.

Second annual Anthony Mascioli Rainbow Dialogues (March 2019)

Central Library’s Local History & Genealogy Division, FFRPL, and the Out Alliance presented the second annual Anthony Mascioli Rainbow Dialogues as part of a year-long community-wide commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the uprising at the Stonewall Inn in New York City in 1969 that launched the gay liberation movement.

One notable highlight: the keynote speaker, Bek Orr, Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies at the State University of New York, College at Brockport, gave a fascinating talk, ‘(Re)telling the Past and (Re)shaping the Future: Community Building at the Lesbian Herstory Archives in a Post-Stonewall Era,’ which also highlighted the importance of intergenerational exchange when working with archival materials.

Inaugural Anthony Mascioli Rainbow Dialogues (March 2018)

The focus of the inaugural program was the LGBTQ+ special collections that had recently been transferred to the Rochester Public Library as part of a multi-year project with the Out Alliance. The collections included documents, newspapers, videos, books and ephemera. RPL will serve as the permanent home for the collections, providing the community-at-large with greater access to the content.

One notable highlight: the keynote speaker: Franklin A. Robinson, Jr., Archivist, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian recognized the impact of local efforts to preserve, promote, and utilize the LGBTQ+ collections. “I think that the community in Rochester is far and away at the forefront of preservation of LGBTQ culture,” he noted.

Robinson actively collects for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Collection at the Archives Center, National Museum of American History.

View Robinson’s thank you letter following the Rainbow Dialogues here