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Stonewall Inn Set to Be First LGBTQIA National Monument

Stonewall Inn Set to Be First LGBTQIA National Monument


President Barack Obama is preparing to approve a proposal that would make New York’s Stonewall Inn the first national monument to be honored for its role in the gay liberation movement. The June 28, 1969 riots which occurred against a police raid was a significant moment in the movement, and the space continues to promote LGBTQIA rights today. Prior to that, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and last year it was declared a New York City landmark.

There are some challenges, as the area is dense, but Governor Cuomo and Mayer de Blasio among other signed legislation that would allow the city to transfer ownership of Christopher Park to the federal government. Stonewall has been widely recognized as an important landmark in American history, but being acknowledged on a national level is a big deal. OUT Magazine explains that while we often use them interchangeably, a landmark is something recognized by the U.S. government while a monument is “a protected area that is similar to a National Park, but can be created from any land owned or controlled by the federal government by proclamation of the President of the United States.”

Representative Jerrold Nadler, who co-authored the legislation says, “We must ensure that we never forget the legacy of Stonewall, the history of discrimination against the LGBT community, or the impassioned individuals who have fought to overcome it. The LGBT civil rights movement launched at Stonewall is woven into American history, and it is time our National Park system reflected that reality.” Officials Corey Johnson, Deborah Glick, and Brad Hoylman are also largely in favor of making Stonewall a monument.

There are a lot of horrible landmarks in the United States, and there’s a lot of dialogue about the implications of preserving them. It’s frustrating to think of what legacies are still being maintained, but this news is definitely a welcome celebration of what kinds of histories we should be paying attention to, and the ways we go about doing that. We covered Roland Emmerich’s Stonewall last year, which, despite possibly good intentions, erased the transgender people of color who were actually there. To pay tribute to the events of Stonewall begins with learning the history, and I hope that its new status as a national monument will encourage many to give this space and its legacy (and others like it) the attention and respect it deserves.

(via Washington Post, Image via Eric Fisher on Flickr)

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