Your Audio Selfie — Nathan Manske on Being Honest with Others
“If I can’t tell people why we are doing this, how can I expect others to share their stories?”
Nathan Manske is the founder and executive director of I’m From Driftwood, an oral history project that collects written and video stories from members of the LGBTQ community. He started this endeavor in 2009 after seeing a photograph of Harvey Milk, one of the first openly gay elected officials in the U.S., holding a sign that read, “I’m From Woodmere, N.Y.” (Manske grew up in Driftwood, Texas.)
A year after starting I’m from Driftwood, Manske launched a Kickstarter campaign that supported a four-month-long, 50-state tour to collect stories from small towns and cities all across America — not just the major metropolitan areas like New York, L.A., and Chicago. He wanted to prove that LGBTQ people were everywhere.
For our fledgling Your Audio Selfie project, we ask one question. I asked him how collecting these stories changed him. He tells this story about visiting a small town in Oklahoma, confronting his fears, and coming to terms with being honest and open about his project with others he encountered on the road.