If you’re hella gay and love your history, then you need to check out New York City’s recently released interactive digital map of LGBT history sites throughout the five boroughs.
When you think about queer history in the Big Apple, you probably think of the Stonewall Riots, but while that was a crucial turning point in the ongoing fight for LGBT equality in the US and around the world, it is far from the only pin in the map.
In fact, there are 150 pins in total, which can be filtered by era, neighborhood, LGBT category, and cultural significance. The majority (123 of the 150) can be found in Manhattan, but the other boroughs all have incredible queer history sites that deserve your attention.
Some of the best-kept secrets of LGBT New York include:
- The Bethesda Fountain’s Angel of the Waters statue, which was the first public artwork by a woman – lesbian sculptor Emma Stebbins – in New York City.
- Christine Jorgensen Childhood Residence, which was the home of the first transwoman to undergo gender confirmation surgery.
- The Starlite Lounge, a queer-inclusive bar owned by openly gay African-American entrepreneur Harold “Mackie” Harris, which served as an important gathering space for the gay black community.
The map, which you can access through the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, is a way of marking historic and cultural sites associated with our community all the way back to the city’s founding in the 17th century and more locations are being added all the time.
The idea behind the project is to highlight the rich and varied history of LGBT people in New York because, as I’m sure you know, queer history is woefully underrepresented in our history classes and in media. This leads idiots (or downright bigots) to make stupid claims like “We didn’t have gay people when I was growing up” as if, even if it were true, that would be a reason to deny us our rights or discriminate against us.
We know we’re pretty darn magical, but we’re not mythical beings that beamed into existence at some random point in the last century. We’ve been here since the beginning of human life on earth and we will be here until climate change makes the world inhabitable for humans.
There is perhaps no better time to reflect on our shared history than in the run-up to World Pride this June, which is being held in NYC.
What is World Pride?
Oh, I’m so glad you asked. World Pride is a massive LGBT Pride event, bringing in queer people from all over the globe for an entire month of celebrations and commemorations. There’ll be films, music, art, dancing, historical lectures, human rights conferences, and even cosplay.
Perhaps most importantly though, there will be the NYC Pride March on June 30th, which is expected to be the biggest Pride March ever seen in New York or the USA. To give you some context, there were over 100 floats and 550 separate groups marching in 2018 and that was just regular New York Pride.
This year, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, New York was chosen as the host city with the theme “One World, One Pride, One New York City – Unite in 2019”.
Okay, that’s it from me and now I’d like to hear from you. What are your thoughts on the LGBT map? How do you feel that LGBT history is represented in your city/state/county? Are you going to World Pride? Let me know all that and more in the comments below.
Image credit: The Gender Spectrum Collection