US: Historic LGBT sites to get national landmark status

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Historic LGBT sites across the US could be recognised as national landmarks, it has been announced.

Sally Jewell, the US Secretary of the Interior, announced the launch of an initiative with the National Park Service to identify, protect and promote places of historic significance to the queer community.

Jewell will convene a panel of 18 scholars, who will explore the movement’s history, to identify significant cultural landmarks.

The plans will be unveiled tomorrow at the Stonewall Inn – widely considered to be the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement – which was made a national landmark in 2000.

According to Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis, the committee will consider designating the places National Historic Landmarks or declaring them national monuments.

Jarvis told Associated Press: “The Park Service is, in my view, America’s storyteller through place.

“It’s important that the places we recognize represent the full complement of the American experience.”

Scholar Gerard Koskovich, who will sit on the panel, said: “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.”

Colorado philanthropist Tim Gill has funded the initiative.

He said: “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.”