Park Service to study gay history landmarks

The National Park Service is launching a study to identify major landmarks from the history of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, with an eye toward preserving them.

The effort is being partially funded by the pro-gay-rights Gill Foundation, the Interior Department said. The Park Service’s effort is a “theme study,” which focuses on identifying landmarks associated with particular areas of American history.

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Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced the new effort at the Stonewall Inn in New York City. Stonewall, a gay bar, was the site of a major 1969 riot that historians believe acted as a catalyst for the gay rights movement, and it is the only gay history landmark the Park Service recognizes.

“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 in a statement.

“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.”

The Park Service will work with scholars for a 12- to 18-month research project.