The National Park Service will begin a "theme study" to better integrate the history of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans into parks and park programs, U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Friday. The agency also is tasked with identifying more landmarks and historic events that were pivotal in LGBT history.
Jewell made the announcement on the steps of the iconic Stonewall Inn in New York City, the lone National Historic Landmark associated with the gay civil-rights movement. The bar was the site of a 1969 riot where gays and lesbians clashed with police in demanding their rights.
"We know that there are other sites, like Stonewall Inn, that have played important roles in our nation’s ongoing struggle for civil rights,” Jewell said.
"The contributions of women, minorities and members of the LGBT community have been historically underrepresented in the National Park Service, and the LGBT theme study will help ensure that we understand, commemorate and share these key chapters in our nation’s complex and diverse history.”
What sites might those be? U.S. News & World Report suggests the Black Cat tavern in L.A.'s Silver Lake neighborhood, a place where gays protested harassment by police in the 1960s; and Castro Camera, the San Francisco photography store owned by the state's first openly gay politician Harvey Milk.
The park service will begin by meeting with scholars and the public on June 10 to explain the initiative. Over the next year to year and a half, it will gather input from educators, preservationists and community members on how best to interpret the LGBT story.
The agency already sponsors a Workforce Diversity Web page where its LGBT rangers and other employees share their accomplishments and achievements.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun