An interview with Marshall Shore, “Arizona’s Hip Historian”

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When Marshall Shore arrived in Arizona over two decades ago, he was looking for an adventure. What the transplanted librarian from New York found was an unexpected source of fascinating history and ultimately a new role as “Arizona’s Hip Historian.”

“I’m always digging,” Shore said. “I’m always trying to find new things. And so that’s part of the fun of this, is you never know where the next story is coming from.”

An LGBTQ+ perspective

In addition to sharing his passion for the little known details of Arizona’s past, Shore believes it is important to offer a historical perspective of the state’s LGBTQ+ community. 

“Basically we have been around forever, and we have been everywhere,” Shore said. “And when you look at Arizona’s history, you’ve got the term ‘two spirits,’ which really talks about Indigenous communities and how they would honor folks that lived in other genders. It’s like our history is not just New York, L.A., San Francisco. We have an amazing history right here in Arizona.”

An ongoing process

But despite that history, the state’s LGBTQ+ community continues it’s struggle for acceptance, and Shore observed that although progress has been made, the process is ongoing.

“There’s been change, but I think it is not necessarily the same for everyone,” Shore said. “Some folks are still very fearful for where they are and who they are. And one of the things I try to do is, I think, is trying to create commonality or show that we all have common ground. So really what I try to do is educate folks in not just my story but so many other stories as well.”

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