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DC Office of Planning Awarded Grant to Preserve and Highlight History of LGBTQ Community in the District

Friday, July 14, 2017
Effort will be guided by Historic Preservation Office

The District of Columbia Historic Preservation Office within the DC Office of Planning (OP) was awarded a $50,000 grant to fund a project that will help preserve and highlight the history of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning (LGBTQ) community in Washington, DC. The project will feature a context study for the LGBTQ community, identify landmark designations, and create a publicly-accessible online database of historic sites.

The project is one of 13 funded this year across the nation by the US Department of Interior aimed to increase the number of listings associated with communities underrepresented in the National Register of Historic Places. Grants totaling $500,000 were awarded to nine states, two Indian tribes and one local government to prepare nominations of properties representing Hispanic Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, women and LGBTQ Americans.

The DC Inventory of Historic Sites, three-quarters of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, contains close to 750 landmarks and historic districts. However, only two sites are currently listed specifically for their LGBTQ significance.

“Throughout history, members of the LGBTQ community have been influential in creating the space in which our city thrives and yet their presence is absent from our day-to-day surroundings. This project will identify areas where heritage can be reflected through the built environment and gathering places important to the LGBTQ communities,” said Eric Shaw, Director of the Office of Planning. “Our goal is to increase public awareness of Washington’s LGBTQ communities and expand the local and national inventory of sites associated with this underrepresented sector of Washington, DC.”

The project will build on a 2015 historic context study prepared by the Historic Preservation Office that incorporated research collected by the Rainbow History Project, academic sources and community input. The purpose of a historic context study was to identify the historical and cultural themes and eras related to the LGBTQ community.

"Our nation has been shaped by the contributions of a diverse array of Americans, yet the National Register of Historic Places does not appropriately yet reflect this rich diversity," said a spokesperson for the Department of the Interior. “These grants will enable us to work with partners to identify important sites that will help tell a more complete story of our journey.”