John M. Becker

Obama Administration Announces LGBT History Initiative

Filed By John M. Becker | May 28, 2014 4:45 PM | comments

Filed in: Gay Icons and History, Living
Tags: Barack Obama, LGBT history, Obama, Obama administration, Sally Jewell, Stonewall Inn, Tim Gill

stonewall-inn-pride-flags.jpgThe White House has just announced that Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell will unveil a new LGBT history initiative at New York's historic Stonewall Inn this Friday. The project, which will be conducted by the National Park Service, will "identify places and events associated with the civil rights struggle of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans and ensure that the agency is telling a complete story of America's heritage and history."

From the press release:

The Stonewall Inn is the site of a riot in 1969 that is widely recognized as a catalyst for the modern civil rights movement in the LGBT community. It is currently the only LGBT-associated site that has been designated a national historic landmark by the National Park Service as a property having extraordinary significance in American history.

The theme study is part of a broader initiative under the Obama Administration to ensure that the National Park Service reflects and tells a more complete story of the people and events responsible for building this nation. The National Park Service has ongoing heritage initiatives to commemorate minorities and women who have made significant contributions to our nation's history and culture, including studies related to Latinos, women's history, and Asian American and Pacific Islanders.

The AP adds:

Jewell is convening a panel of 18 scholars next month that will be charged with exploring the LGBT movement's story in areas such as law, religion, media, civil rights and the arts. The committee will identify relevant sites and its work will be used to evaluate them for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, designation as National Historic Landmarks, or consideration as national monuments, Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis said.

"The Park Service is, in my view, America's storyteller through place," Jarvis said "It's important that the places we recognize represent the full complement of the American experience."

The scholars' study is expected to be completed by 2016.

Joining Secretary Jewell on Friday will be gay advocate and philanthropist Tim Gill, whose Gill Foundation is funding the study, and gay New York City Councilman Corey Johnson. According to the Washington Blade, Jewell is an outspoken supporter of the LGBT community.

Talk about incredible news. What a great way to kick off LGBT Pride Month!

Sure, he may not be perfect, but once again I'm glad that we have President Barack Obama in office -- because if you think a Mitt Romney administration would give two hoots about LGBT history, I've got a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you.

Which sites of LGBT historical significance do you want to see make the list? Sound off in the comments section.

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