US politician introduces bills to create American LGBTQ+ history museum
As LGBTQI+ History Month comes to a close in the US, a politician has introduced bills aimed at beginning the process of creating a national museum dedicated to queer history and culture.
The two bills were introduced by openly gay Wisconsin Democrat Mark Pocan, who has campaigned for LGBTQ+ rights for a number of years and is also the chair of the Congressional Equality Caucus.
This is not the first time a national museum dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community in the US has been proposed. Back in 2013, former Smithsonian researcher Tim Gold and his husband Mitchell Gold were raising money for a museum of queer history, although the project did not come to fruition.
In order to create the National Museum of American LGBTQI+ History and Culture, the two bills would establish a commission to study the potential of creating the museum and then establish it within the Smithsonian Institution.
Both bills are required to be signed into law to create a new Smithsonian Museum.
“As our community faces unprecedented attacks and attempts to erase our history, we must preserve and protect our stories for future generations,” Pocan said in a statement.
“It is vital to remember our collective past – particularly when certain states, and even Members of Congress, seek to constrain and repeal existing rights by passing bills that harm LGBTQI+ youth and our community at large.
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“Let’s tell these stories, the good and the bad, and honor the many contributions the LGBTQI+ community has made to this nation with a museum in Washington, D.C.
“I look forward to the passage of this legislation and to visiting this museum in the near future.”
The first bill would create an eight-member commission that consists of experts in museum planning and/or LGBTQ research and culture.
The commission would undertake an 18 month study to examine the viability of establishing the museum, whereby they would be required to develop a fundraising plan, look at the availability and cost of acquiring collections and submit a plan of action to Congress to establish and construct the museum – amongst other things.
After the commission completes its work and issues its recommendations, Congress would then consider the second bill which would formally create the museum.
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