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National Park Service To Look At American History Of Lesbians, Gays, Transgenders, And Bi-Sexuals


The role that lesbians, gays, bi-sexuals, and transgender individuals played in the history of the United States is to be explored by the National Park Service, which will launch the effort Tuesday with a panel discussion involving Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, Park Service Director Jon Jarvis, U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, and the U.S. ambassador to Australia along with LGBT scholars and historians.

The goal of the initiative is to identify places and events associated with the story of LGBT Americans for inclusion in the parks and programs of the National Park Service. 

The discussion Tuesday will explore ways to celebrate and interpret lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history in the context of broader American history, a release from the Interior Department said. Prior to the panel discussion, Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Ambassador John Berry will deliver kick-off remarks.

The goals of the heritage initiative include: engaging scholars, preservationists and community members to identify, research, and tell the stories of LGBT associated properties; encouraging national parks, national heritage areas, and other affiliated areas to interpret LGBT stories associated with them; identifying, documenting, and nominating LGBT-associated sites as national historic landmarks; and increasing the number of listings of LGBT-associated properties in the National Register of Historic Places. 

The history of Civil Rights underscores a large part of American experience. The National Park Service is proud to be a part of this continuing legacy of freedom and justice. Directed by Americans to steward and teach the nation’s history, the National Park Service connects and amplifies important national stories in cooperation with partner communities across the United States.

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ethelred, interesting comment. I have been out of touch so I am not "up" on the thread of this discussion . But I think you have a point, Abigail Adams wrote a letter to her husband in 1776 knowing the men drafting the "Declaration of Independence" and other documents leading to a new republic would explicitly define and extol the rights of men, not women. She asked that John be sure to "remember the ladies". Mr Adams responded, "Depend upon it", the future president wrote back to his wife, "that we know better than to repeal our Masculine systems". As contentious as it maybe, the historical and cultural aspects of the nations history are part of the charge of NPS mission, they need to be presented.  

"At what point in American history did it become American to insist on branding? Are now all Americans to be identified by what’s between their legs and not their ears?"


Considering the country started out with the Constitution and various other state and federal laws banning certain rights for women based on what was between their legs, the answer is: from the inception of American history it was American to insist on branding and Americans were identified by what's between their legs.

The only difference is that now people other than straight white males are asking for their contributions to American history to be recognized and celebrated as much as straight white male contributions to American history have been over the past 200 plus years.

I am sorry if my quoting a great American troubles you, Rick, but yes, that is why he is great. He is quotable; he is memorable; his words inspire and cut to the chase. Dr. King did not campaign to "advance" civil rights; he rather campaigned to make the Civil Rights Movement unnecessary. The more we distrust one another to want that goal without a pummeling from our government "leaders," the more we perpetuate the civil rights industry, which has nothing to do with achieving the goal. Now you know why we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, warts and all. As for kittens, apple pie, baseball, and Chevrolet, I'll take kittens hands down, but yes, I do love apple pie and drive a Chevrolet, and occasionally watch the Mariners--lose.

Sheesh. I also don't hate motherhood, apple pie, or kittens, in case you also want to wrap yourself in those as well.


You do your job as a historian as you see fit. Others will do it as they see fit. It appears that you agree with Chief Justice John Roberts that since racism is now dead, we no longer have to deal with it in the courts.


Have a nice day.

As a historian, if I spent all my time describing the traits of an individual ahead of that individual's accomplishments, I would never have time for the accomplishments. If you read my writings, Rick B., you will note that I never refer to Republicans and Democrats any more than I refer to gays and lesbians. In the growth of great ideas, who cares? So yes, the insistence that American history needs a narrative other than accomplishment is to adopt an air of superiority totally at odds with civil rights, which was itself an accomplishment, but not for the reasons being bandied now. Here is the accomplishment: Martin Luther King asked for a color-blind society based on the content of one's character. You will pardon me for extrapolating color-blind into every other human trait. The more we ask our fellow citizens to identify one another based on anything but character, the more we perpetuate what we claim we wish to eradicate, or would you disagree 100% with Dr. King, as well?

Hi, Wild Places — I agree that the NPS shouldn't be involved with religion or sexual orientation per se, and I wouldn't accuse you of being a bigot. In fact I don't much like identity politics myself; they're quite often boring and can be unnecessarily divisive.

I think what the NPS is proposing to do, however, is identify places of historical interest. There is a history of the gay rights movement, just as there's a history of the black civil rights movement, of Asian civil rights issues (the Japanese internment at Manzanar and elsewhere, Chinese railroad labor), and of religious movements (Puritans in New England, the Mormons at, e.g., Whitingham, Vt., and Nauvoo, Ill., the Amish, the Mennonites, etc.).

As long as the NPS has within its purview the preservation of artifacts and locations that reflect American history, I favor including gay and lesbian historical sites in that effort.

Sorry, Mr. Runte. As a former Seattle-area registered voter I've carefully researched your writings before. Some I agree with, some I disagree with. Your take on this issue I disagree with 100%, and agree with Justin's comments above.

You want to brand that by insisting that your superiority derives from your sex life and not your public life?

Who is the "you" here?  (And what is the antecedent to "that"?)  Alfred, I'm not sure I follow your point: are you suggesting that the LGBT is invoking some victimary narrative that doesn't truly reflect a history of civic/cultural discrimination but somehow nevertheless gestures toward some kind of superiority (over heterosexuals?)?  And perhaps more to the point of the thread, is your issue that cultural preservation shouldn't be part of the NPS mission, or that it should be, but the LGBT struggle against discrimination somehow doesn't count as an important part of the historical texture of American culture?  I think I'm in full agreement with imtnbke's comments above.

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