After a career in academia as an English Professor, Frank Perez turned his attention to LGBT+ history, a subject about which he remains passionate.
In 2008 he began researching New Orleans LGBT+ history and has since then made a mark writing about that often neglected history. He has authored several books on the subject, including Political Animal: The Life and Times of Stewart Butler (2022), Southern Decadence in New Orleans (with H.P. Smith) (2018), Treasures of the Vieux Carre: Ten Self-Guided Walking Tours of the French Quarter (2014), and In Exile: The History and Lore Surrounding New Orleans Gay Culture and Its Oldest Gay Bar (with Jeffrey Palmquist) (2012). He is also the co-editor of the anthology My Gay New Orleans: 28 Personal Reminiscences on LGBT+ Life in New Orleans (2014). His new book, Rainbow Fleur de Lis: Essays on Queer New Orleans History, is forthcoming from the University Press of Mississippi in 2024. In addition to authoring books, Perez has written hundreds of articles on New Orleans LGBT+ history as a columnist for three New Orleans based publications—Ambush Magazine, French Quarter Journal, and YazzQueen zine.
In 2012, Perez developed the Rainbow Fleur de Lis Walking Tour, a leisurely sashay through the French Quarter’s vibrant gay history. The tour has been featured in numerous documentaries and podcasts and has received critical acclaim from both local and national media outlets, including NPR, USA Today, Queerty, GayCities.com, The Advocate, and OUT Traveler.
In 2013, Perez co-founded the LGBT+ Archives Project of Louisiana, a statewide collective that works to promote and preserve LGBT+ history. Since its founding, the Archives Project has facilitated the donation of major collections (from individuals and organizations) to institutions around the state, including the Louisiana State Museum, The Historic New Orleans Collection, the Louisiana Research Collection at Tulane University, the Amistad Research Center, Louisiana State University, the Newcomb College Archives, the Center for Louisiana Studies, the Earl K. Long Library at UNO and several others. Perez currently serves as the executive director of the LGBT+ Archives Project of Louisiana.
More recently, Perez developed a course on New Orleans queer history at Loyola University, where he teaches part-time. He is also a member of the New Orleans LGBT Hospitality Alliance and the Gulf Coast LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce. In 2018, he served as Southern Decadence Grand Marshal and was named New Orleans Pride Grand Marshal in 2020. In 2019 he was inducted into the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival Hall of Fame. Perez ran for New Orleans City Council in 2021 and is long-time advocate for queer rights.