U.S. Govt. To Announce Initiative To Preserve LGBT Historic Sites
In an unprecedented effort to acknowledge and cement the LGBT community's place in U.S. history, the U.S. Interior Secretary will be announcing plans on Friday to find and identify sites that mark significant events and moments in LGBT history. These sites will then be evaluated in order to be included as part of the National Register of Historic Places.
The National Park Service is launching an initiative to make places and people of significance to the history of lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual Americans part of the national narrative.
Interior Secretary Sally 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."
Secretary Jewell plans to make official announcement on Friday at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, which itself became a national historic landmark in 2000.
Quoting San Francisco scholar Gerard Koskovich, who will be part of the panel, AP continues:
"When you consider that until the 1970s the federal government was still rallying around persecuting LGBTQ people and devoted to punishing us, arresting us and excluding us, that we now see after a 40- or 50-year process a federal government saying that we are now part of the stories that deserve to be told and protected is really remarkable," Koskovich said.
The scholars' study, which is expected to be completed by 2016, is being financed by Colorado philanthropist Tim Gill, the founder of software company Quark Inc. and a major donor to gay political and civil rights causes.
"While we take this important step to recognize the courageous contributions of LGBT Americans, we need to unite together in the days ahead to ensure we leave none of our fellow Americans behind," Gill said.
This is a really big deal. How exciting to see the federal government actively working to assure that our place in history remains vibrant and visible.
Thoughts on the news, Instincters?