Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) life has often been a life lead in the shadows. It was not until recently that people felt more comfortable coming out and living proudly. Because of this, a lot of LGBT history and our sites have been lost or have gone forgotten. A webinar put on by the National Park Service hopes to help educate to the LGBT and broader community on what they can do to gain historical designations for our sites. From METROWEEKLY:
”We are always losing sites,” Meinke says of that ongoing march, referring to places that hold LGBT historic significance. ”One of the problems is that a lot of our historic sites are uniquely commercial, because for decades the only place you could go was a bar. And most of the bars, historically, were in sort of borderline economic areas because it was cheaper and they didn’t mind if there were ‘faggots’ down the street.”
There is reason for optimism, however, as [Mark] Meinke[, found of D.C.’s Rainbow History Project,] points to a pioneering National Park Service webinar scheduled for Oct. 30. The first of its kind, this offering is designed to educate people at a grassroots level about how to secure official historic designations for LGBT sites, while at the same time offering the NPS greater insight into what sites the community holds dear.
”I have been invited to be on hand,” says Meinke, explaining that he met with NPS staff in September to figure out ways to advance this effort. ”We were looking at how to reach out the gay community on preservation issues. We had talked previously about having a webinar, and this sort of came out of it. They’re also planning a follow-up webinar that is more of a strategizing session. This first one is more of, ‘Let’s get acquainted and review the issues.’ The second one, in late November, is more for archivists, historians, more sort of Rainbow History Project type organizations to sit down and say, ‘Okay, we need to decide what is most pressing. Which places we need to give attention to most urgently.”’
As it stands, there are only three LGBT-related sites that have secured national recognition of some sort. The first was the Stonewall Inn, made a National Historic Landmark in 2000; followed by the late Frank Kameny’s home in D.C., which was added to NPS’s National Register of Historic Places in 2011; and Fire Island’s Cherry Grove Community House and Theater, added to the register earlier this year.