Stonewall named first LGBT national monument — and 5 other LGBT sites to be proud of

President Barack Obama is designating the Stonewall Inn in New York, seen in 2014, a national monument — the first to honor gay rights.

President Barack Obama is designating the Stonewall Inn in New York, seen in 2014, a national monument — the first to honor gay rights.

(Richard Drew / AP)
Chicago Tribune

President Barack Obama announced Friday that New York City’s Stonewall Inn — widely considered ground zero of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights movement — will officially be designated a national monument by the National Park Service.

As Pride Month winds down, the president’s announcement comes two days ahead of the first anniversary of the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision, and just two weeks after the mass shooting in Orlando, Fla., where a gunman killed 49 people at the Pulse nightclub, an LGBT hot spot.


The new Stonewall National Monument encompasses nearly 8 acres of the Greenwich Village neighborhood and includes Christopher Park and the historic Stonewall Inn, where riots in June 1969 were the opening salvo in the national campaign for LGBT rights.


In a White House video accompanying the monument’s announcement, Obama said, “Raids like these were nothing new, but this time the patrons had had enough. So they stood up and spoke out. The riots became protests. The protests became a movement. The movement ultimately became an integral part of America.”

While the new national monument is the first of its kind dedicated to LGBT history and rights, we’ve rounded up five other historical sites that also deserve recognition.

Furies Collective | Washington, D.C.

This past May, the National Park Service added two new LGBT locations to the National Register of Historic Places. The first lesbian site to ever be recognized by the NPS, the two-story Washington, D.C., house of the Furies Collective served as the operational center of the Furies, a 1970s lesbian feminist group that published and debated questions relevant to women’s identity and relationships. Publishing “motive” magazine and The Furies newspaper, the 12 women who helmed the collective actively defined the agenda of lesbians and feminists for years.

Edificio Comunidad de Orgullo Gay de Puerto Rico | San Juan, Puerto Rico

In the same announcement recognizing the Furies Collective, the NPS also designated this Puerto Rican meeting hall on the National Register. Also known as Casa Orgullo (“House of Pride”), the community group was founded in 1974 to help organize Puerto Rico’s LGBT community, inspired by the Stonewall Riots to fight discrimination, educate and provide social support.

Julius’ | New York City

Located around the corner from the Stonewall Inn, Julius’ is arguably the oldest gay bar in New York. A bar since 1864 but patronized by LGBT people since the ‘50s, the bar was also the site of protest. In 1966, three years before Stonewall, members of the Mattachine Society, a national gay rights group, sought to challenge a liquor law that prohibited the sale to homosexuals. At that point a known LGBT watering hole, Julius’ had already been raided by police, so it was under close watch, lest they serve their LGBT clientele. With press in tow, the four Mattachine members ordered drinks at Julius’ and were promptly refused, allowing them to (successfully) challenge the law in court.


Rev. Troy Perry’s Home | Los Angeles

In October 1968, the Rev. Troy Perry gathered 11 other people in his home in the Los Angeles suburb of Huntington Park, Calif., effectively establishing the Metropolitan Community Church. That first worship meeting signaled the creation of a church focused on positively ministering to LGBT people. Besides his work founding MCC, the Rev. Perry is also credited with co-founding Christopher Street West, the organizers of the first Pride Parade in June 1970.

GLBT History Museum| San Francisco

The City by the Bay is a must for any LGBT person seeking out culture and context for our queer pasts. In fact, it can almost be overwhelming, between visiting Polk Street, Harvey Milk’s Castro Camera shop and myriad other sites. The GLBT History Museum is a must-visit. Located in the heart of the Castro, one of the country’s first gay neighborhoods, the site is also a first-of-its-kind museum dedicated to archiving and exhibiting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer historical material.


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