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House Democrat introduces bills to create national LGBT museum in DC

Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) speaks to Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) as they leave the House Chamber following the final vote of the week regarding the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act on Friday, March 18, 2022.
Greg Nash
Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) speaks to Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) as they leave the House Chamber following the final vote of the week regarding the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act on Friday, March 18, 2022.

Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) introduced two bills on Thursday to create a museum dedicated to LGBT history and culture in Washington, D.C.

“As our community faces unprecedented attacks and attempts to erase our history, we must preserve and protect our stories for future generations,” Pocan, a member of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, said.

“It is vital to remember our collective past — particularly when certain states seek to constrain and repeal existing rights by passing bills that harm LGBTQ+ youth and our community at large,” he added. “Let’s tell these stories, and honor the many contributions the LGBTQ+ community has made to this nation with a museum in Washington, D.C.”

The news comes ahead of LGBT history month.

The first bill would create an eight-person commission with individuals who have experience in museum planning and knowledge of LGBT history to investigate the resources, cost and fundraising needed to build a facility in the nation’s capital, according to a press release from Pocan’s office.

The commission would also be required to present a plan for fundraising as well as a plan for establishment and maintenance for a National Museum of LGBTQ+ Culture and how the facility may impact other museums in the city.

The bill would also help determine whether the museum would be part of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum and research complex. A large majority of the museums in the nation’s capital are part of the Smithsonian Institution, including the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National Air and Space Museum and the National Zoo.

The commission would have 18 months to complete its study under Pocan’s bill.

The second bill would formally create the museum, to be considered after the commission completes its study and issues recommendations.

According to the press release, Pocan’s bill is sponsored by all nine “openly LGBTQ+ members of Congress” as well as 50 other members.

The introduction of Pocan’s bills comes amid moves by GOP-controlled states to restrict transgender youth’s access to gender-affirming care such as puberty blockers — which are reversible — and gender-affirming surgeries.

Some of these same states have also restricted transgender youth from participating on sports teams that correspond with their gender identity.

Most recently, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) released 2022 “model policies” for the commonwealth’s public schools, largely rolling back accommodations for transgender students.

Tags LGBT history and culture LGBT museum LGBT rights Mark Pocan Mark Pocan Transgender rights Transgender students
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