The pride we take in our national parks just took on a wider color palette as the Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis announced they conducting a theme study which focuses on our national park’s role in the development of LGBT history.
Hosting a roundtable and panel discussion with 18 scholars and experts in in LGBT history, the hopes are to begin developing a theme study that will “celebrate and interpret lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history in the context of broader American history.”
“As the National Park Service moves toward its centennial in 2016, we want to be sure that the sites we recognize and the stories we tell represent the stories of all Americans, and theme studies help us elevate the stories of groups that have not always been heard in our history books,” Jarvis said. “We look forward to engaging with scholars, experts, and others interested in LGBT history to develop a theme study that will help us tell a more complete story of American history.”
The role of the LGBT community in the development of urban areas has well been underway, with bible-like essentials such as Lillian Faderman and Stuart Timmons’ Gay L.A. or the Historical Society of Long Beach’s LGBT History Project. But its role in the more rural or natural landscape of America—Brokeback Mountain jokes aside—have been relegated to speculation rather than research or libraries.
Even more, the National Park Service is continuing to look for communities, organizations, and individuals who can help contribute to the theme studies.
Feel you have the historical chops to help participate in this historical endeavor? In order to solicit ideas about sites of local, state, or national importance in LGBT and American history, a document for comment and feedback is now available by clicking here.
Additional public meetings and other events around the country are under consideration and will be announced as information becomes available.