The rich histories of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) Americans are pivotal in telling a complete history of the United States. Explore some of the sites where these histories are preserved.Less
Stonewall is the first LGBTQ+ national monument, dedicated to the birthplace of modern LGBTQ+ civil rights movement. On June 28, 1969, patrons and employees fought back as police conducted a raid, a scenario that had become routine at gay bars and often resulted in harassment and arrests. The six-day-long uprising marked a significant turning point in the struggle for LGBTQ+ rights. Within two years, LGBTQ+ citizens had formed gay rights groups in almost every major city across the country.
In 1924, Henry Gerber founded the Society for Human Rights in his house at 1710 North Crilly Court in Chicago, Illinois. The Society for Human Rights is considered the first chartered organization in the United States dedicated to advocating for the rights of homosexuals.
Perhaps better known as “Casa Orgullo,” this location served as the gathering place for the first official gay and lesbian organization in Puerto Rico. Inspired by the 1969 uprising at The Stonewall Inn, Comunidad de Orgullo Gay organized people on the ground to combat discrimination through political action, educational programs, and social support.
Elizabeth Alice Austen was one of America's earliest and most prolific female photographers. Her early body of work, which chronicles Staten Island, New York City, and several other locations and is considered among the finest produced in America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She lived most of her life in her maternal grandparents' home, "Clear Comfort,” which is now a National Historic Landmark, located just six blocks north of Gateway Recreation Area.
Henry Gerber was an early American gay rights activist and served in the U.S. Army at Governors Island from 1925 to 1942. In 1924, Gerber helped found the Society for Human Rights to protect the rights and interests of gay and lesbian individuals. While serving at Governors Island, he was subject to beatings, blackmail, and harassment. Despite this, Gerber continued his Army career until he was honorably discharged in 1942.
Archibald Butt and Francis Millet, both U.S. officials, were close friends and housemates who often attended social gatherings together – some historians have asserted that they were romantically involved. Millet was the vice chairman of the Commission of Fine Arts and Butt was a military aide to Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William H. Taft. After their death aboard the RMS Titanic in 1912, Congress authorized the construction of a memorial in their honor near the White House.
Dr. Clyde Wahrhaftig was an American geologist, professor, environmentalist, and LGBTQ+ leader. Wahrhaftig pushed for LGBTQ+ representation and inclusion in science and worked to create opportunities for people of color in geology. For over 50 years, Wahrhaftig worked with the U.S. Geological Survey, much of it spent working alongside his partner Dr. Allan Cox. In Yosemite National Park, Wahrhaftig mapped and interpreted the area’s past ice ages.
The “amber waves of grain” referenced in the song “America the Beautiful” was inspired by the grain fields in Kansas that Katherine Lee Bates encountered while on a leave of absence from teaching in 1893 and today, Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve protects a significant portion of what was then a vast prairie ecosystem. Bates originally published the poem “America” in 1895 and met her life partner Katharine Coman at Wellesley College.