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You're standing in front of your Family and Friends prepared to make your dreams of a lifetime come true. It's at that moment that you are grateful that you have a professional guiding your ceremony. The Supreme Court has finally ruled upon this issue. Now is the time to plan your perfect LGBT Wedding. I have been performing Commitment Ceremonies since the beginning, and I am so pleased this has opened up for everyone to marry the one they Love. Contact Reverend Jacqui Weiks, Your LGBT Wedding Officiant
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What is being done to preserve LGBT History?
Where are the places that shaped LGBT history in the United States? Where were the battles fought for equal rights, recognition, and respect? How does the LGBT community preserve and recognize its heritage when so many victories have been won in the courts and in public consciousness?
In the past few years, there has been increased focus on recognizing and preserving important sites related to LGBT history, an effort that has found widespread support both within the community and from government agencies like the Department of the Interior. For many in the LGBT community, having these sites gain national recognition and preservation is an important symbolic step in highlighting the struggles for LGBT rights that have defined the last century, and they play an important role in public education and perception.
LGBT History Preservation
There are now about a dozen sites on the National Register of Historic Places related to LGBT history. That number continues to grow thanks to efforts like the National Park Service’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Heritage Initiative, which launched in 2014 to highlight sites that hold significance to the struggle for LGBT rights.
Important Sites for LGBT History
Cherry Grove Community House and Theater
Located in New York on Fire Island, Cherry Grove Community House and Theater is included because it helped to contribute to the country’s first “Gay and Lesbian Town.” The association that used the site facilitated “social acceptance, self-affirmation, and integration of its gay and lesbian residents into Cherry Grove’s governing affairs and civic life.”
Julius Bar, New York City
The site of a 1966 “Sip-In” organized by the Mattachine Society, New York City’s Julius Bar served as a catalyst for a change in liquor laws that led to the rise of gay bars in the city and beyond. Before the “Sip-In,” bartenders could refuse service to LGBT patrons because they were considered “disorderly.”
House of the Furies, Washington DC
Washington, DC’s House of the Furies is one of the most recent additions to the register and the first lesbian-related site included. It served as headquarters of the lesbian feminist group the Furies Collective in the 1970s, formed when national women’s groups, including the National Organization for Women, actively excluded lesbians.
These sites are only a few of many sites recently recognized for their importance in LGBT history, but they demonstrate that the struggles for LGBT rights occurred in many venues across the country. By singling out these sites and providing opportunities to tell the stories of LGBT rights pioneers, these historical places serve as tangible reminders of the progress the LGBT community has made over the course of several decades.
The First LGBT National Monument?
Another recent–and ongoing–development in recognizing LGBT history is the designation of the first national monument to LGBT history. The movement to have the Stonewall Inn and Christopher Park designated as the first LGBT national monument has been extremely effective, and supporters of the effort are on the verge of a victory:
- City Landmark – In 2015, the Stonewall Inn was recognized by the City of New York as historic landmark. In a unanimous vote, it became the first site given such a designation because of its role in the struggle for LGBT rights.
- National Consideration – At a public meeting scheduled to occur in May 2016, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis will hear public comments and opinions on declaring the site a national monument. This meeting is expected to further emphasize the public’s support for an LGBT rights monument.
- Federal Status – Once the public meeting occurs, the Obama administration is expected to quickly move to designate Christopher Park a national monument. Although there would be several steps needed before the designation is official, New York City has already expressed its willingness to transfer the land into federal control to expedite the process.
The designation of the Stonewall Inn and Christopher Park as a national monument to LGBT history could occur as early as June, which would coincide with Pride Month and mark an important step in recognizing the contributions of LGBT rights pioneers. In the unlikely event that President Obama does not declare the site a national monument, there is also an ongoing effort in Congress to recognize the site.
Preserving the Stories of LGBT History
The ongoing efforts to preserve and protect sites that played an important role in the fight for LGBT equality are important both within the LGBT community and beyond. By highlighting these sites and providing opportunities to tell the often-overlooked stories of LGBT history in the United States, we can ensure that members of the public will see that the ongoing struggle for LGBT rights is occurring all around them and recognize the progress that we’ve made.
Are you planning to attend the public meeting to show your support for an LGBT national monument? Have you visited any of these LGBT historic sites? We’d love to hear from you!