The agency of American government tasked with telling stories is admittedly playing catch up in minority communities.
An effort, however, has launched to correct these deficiencies.
On Tuesday, the National Park Service released its groundbreaking LGBTQ history study. Results of the study were released to coincide with National Coming Day, first celebrated in 1988 following the first organized march on Washington, D.C. for lesbian and gay rights.
“For far too long, the struggles and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer-identified Americans have been ignored in the traditional narratives of our nation’s history,” said U.S. Department Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. “This theme study is the first of its kind by any national government to identify this part of our shared history, and it will result in an important step forward in reversing the current underrepresentation of stories and places associated to the LGBTQ community in the complex and diverse story of America."
Jewell joined NPS Director Jonathan B. Jarvis and Gill Foundation Founder Tim Gill on a conference call with reporters to discuss the study. She said the two-year study, conducted by 32 LGBTQ scholars, was a “tool” that reminds the general populace of “the struggles we face.”
“We tell the good and the bad, the heartbreaking and the inspiring,” Jewell said.
One monument, one landmark and eight other historic places have been designated for the National Registry.
The list is as follows: Stonewall National Monument, NYC, Henry Gerber House, Chicago, The Furies Collective, Washington, D.C., Edificio Comunidad de Orgullo Gay de Puerto Rico, Julius’ Bar, NYC, Bayard Rustin Residence, NYC, Cherry Grove Community House & Theatre, New York, Carrington House, New York, James Merrill House, Connecticut, Dr. Franklin E. Kameny Residence, Washington. D.C.
The park service’s LGBTQ study is part of an effort to “tell a more inclusive story,” Jewell said. Similar studies targeting the African American and Native American communities were concluded last year. In addition to the LGBTQ study, NPS announced findings from its Asian American/Pacific Islander and Latino American studies this year.
The Gill Foundation assisted the LGBTQ study financially.
“Equality has now become the way the federal government does business,” Tim Gill said.
Gill said the NPS study will have a major impact on the nation.
“You’ve better helped us understand ourselves,” Gill said, adding the Obama/Biden administration has advanced LGBT rights and “allowed for profound shifts in our nation’s consciousness.”
As for the future, Gill suggested work could be done to preserve and protect LGBTQ history in places such as New Orleans, Laramie, Wyoming and Los Angeles.