Bil Browning and his husband, Jerame Davis were activists for LGBT issues, locally in Indiana as well as nationally in Washington, D.C.
Scope and Contents:
The Bil Browning and Jerame Davis Papers consist of approximately 3.15 cubic feet documenting their activism on behalf of LGBT rights in Indiana, and includes correspondence, photographs, school papers, a scrapbook from Browning's youth, posters, petitions, handouts, bumper stickers, periodicals, conference and event programs, ID cards, VHS recordings, and printed materials. There are extensive notes from an oral history interview with Browning and Davis conducted by Archives Center intern, Sara Dorfman, in Series 1.
Series 1, Personal Papers, 1972-2015, undated, consists of correspondence between Browning and his friends and family, school-related materials such as yearbooks and report cards, an oral history interview, and a scrapbook from Browning's youth. The scrapbook contains materials pertaining to Browning's work with ACT-UP, along with letters and other personal materials.
Series 2, Activism Records, 1992-2012, undated, contains papers from the Fast Max Sunoco employment discrimination case, papers from the Indiana Stonewall Democrats, conference and event programs, papers from Indiana Equality, papers from the Human Rights Campaign, papers from Pride at Work, a presentation on LGBT youth homelessness from the LGBT Editor/Blogger Convening, an invitation to the inauguration of President Obama, an invitation to LGBT Pride Month from the White House, and papers from the Bilerico LGBT Media Foundation.
Series 3, Legal Records, 1991-2011, undated, contains financial records as well as papers from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and documents regarding termination of child support paid by Browning's father.
Series 4, Publications, 1981-2014, undated, includes newspaper clippings relating to Browning's youth, LGBT events, and ACT-UP. It also contains pamphlets, hand-outs from conferences, and multiple LGBT periodicals from around the United States, such as the Washington Blade, that claims to be the oldest LGBT newspaper in the country.
Series 5, Photographs, 1972-2006, undated, contains photos from Browning's youth, friends and family of Browning and Davis, Browning's significant others, protests, and drag shows.
Series 6, Audiovisual, 1992-2008, undated, covers Browning's involvement with the organization ACT-UP, interviews with Browning, an open forum led by Jerame Davis in response to a protest against Cummins, a rally staged by the Indiana Action Network, and various clips from news programs covering some of these events.
This collection is arranged into six series.
Series 1: Personal Papers, 1972-2015, undated
Series 2: Activism Records, 1992-2012, undated
Series 3: Legal Records, 1991-2011, undated
Series 4: Publications, 1981-2014, undated
Series 5: Photographs, 1972-2006, undated
Series 6: Audiovisual, 1992-2008, undated
Biographical / Historical:
Bil Browning (William Dale Browning) was born in Zanesville, Ohio in 1972. Jerame Davis (Jerame Joe Davis) was born in Columbus, Indiana in 1975. After coming out as gay in high school, Browning joined the Clinton presidential election campaign and the organization ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) in 1992. Davis worked for multiple LGBT organizations, including Indiana Equality, Indiana Fairness Network, Columbus Gay/Straight Alliance, Indiana Stonewall Democrats, and Pride at Work.
In the late 1990s, Browning and Davis were involved in an employment discrimination case against Fast Max Sunoco in Indiana. This case served as a catalyst for them to continue championing LGBT rights. The same case resulted in their organizing the internet's first gay rights grassroots online action against the local company that had fired them. Since then, Browning has won multiple awards for his work as an activist. He is also a board member of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, and an advisory board member of the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance. Davis has served as the executive director of the National Stonewall Democrats.
Together, Browning and Davis were the co-owners of the Bilerico Project, a group blog that chronicled Indiana politics and LGBT issues for nearly 11 years. On June 30th, 2015, Browning made his last post on the blog, saying that he was taking time off to work on his book. Browning and Davis separated in 2023.
The papers were donated by Bil Browning and Jerame Davis, in 2015.
Collection is open for research.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.