A new National Park Service theme study identifying places and events associated with the history of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer-identified Americans has been released.
LGBTQ America: A Theme Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer History is believed to be a first of its kind study conducted by a national government to chronicle historical places, documents, people and events that shaped the LGBTQ civil rights movement in America.
The study establishes a framework for inclusion and recognition of places associated with people and events that made LGBTQ history and left a mark on American history. It’s hoped to help these places to be considered for designation as National Historic Landmarks or nominated to the National Register of Historic Places. It could also guide and inform the presentation of LGBTQ history by professors and teachers, and will serve as a reference for the general public.
Experts in LGBTQ studies wrote and peer-edited over 1,200 pages in the 32 chapters of the study. These chapters chart LGBTQ histories across the United States — from the native māhū of Hawai’i and lhamana of the Zuni, to the drag queens of the Stonewall Uprising, from private residences, hotels, bars, and government agencies to hospitals, parks and community centers. Authors and peer reviewers included professors, filmmakers, historians, geographers, archivists and museum curators, researchers, experts in historic preservation, historical archaeologists, journalists and members of the clergy.
Earlier this year the Stonewall National Monument was designated as the nation’s first monument to honor the story of LGBTQ Americans. In addition to the Stonewall National Monument, the Obama Administration recognized the Henry Gerber House in Chicago as a National Historic Landmark, and designated eight other LGBTQ sites on the National Register of Historic Places. These include:
– The Furies Collective House in Washington, DC
– Edificio Comunidad de Orgullo Gay de Puerto Rico (commonly known as Casa Orgullo or Pride House) in San Juan, Puerto Rico
– Julius’ Bar in New York, NY
– Bayard Rustin Residence in New York, NY
– Cherry Grove Community House & Theater in Cherry Grove, NY
– Carrington House in Fire Island Pines, NY
– James Merrill House in Stonington, CT
– Dr. Franklin E. Kameny Residence in Washington, DC
In 2010, the National Historic Landmark (NHL) Program began actively looking for sites associated with LGBTQ history that may have the potential to be designated as NHLs or listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Owner approval for these sites is necessary before nominations can be prepared and the NHL Program has begun working with the LGBTQ community to encourage both outreach to owners and the completion of nominations for these properties.
The LGBTQ Theme Study is one of four such studies either recently completed or underway by the National Park Service. Other studies have examined or are studying the contributions of women, Latino Americans, and Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Previous studies on African-Americans and American Indians were completed in 2003 and 1990 respectively.
The National Park Service (NPS) coordinated the study with support from the National Park Foundation and funding from the Gill Foundation.