LGBTQ+ Heritage Sites

FDA Protest 1988

About the Project

As part of an effort to tell the stories of LGBTQ+ people and places that significantly impacted our county’s development, the Historic Preservation Office will undertake architectural survey and archival research of sites associated with LGBTQ+ communities and leaders in Montgomery County.

The project will produce Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties (MIHP) forms that document county sites connected with LGBTQ+ history at the local, county, and state-wide levels. Montgomery County is associated with pioneering LGBTQ+ political leaders, legal advocates, and artists, as well as activism that fought employment discrimination and government inaction amidst the AIDS crisis.

The addition of LGBTQ+ sites to the Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties will formally recognize the role of Montgomery County activists in this civil rights movement.

Background

In May 2014, former Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced a new initiative to identify places and events associated with the story of LGBTQ+ Americans. The project engaged scholars, preservationists, and communities to identify, research, and tell the stories of LBGTQ+ places. Two years later, the National Park Service published LGBTQ America: A Theme Study for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer History.

As part of this effort, the National Park Service urged states and localities to increase the number of listings associated with LGBTQ+ properties in the National Register of Historic Places. The National Register is the official list of the nation’s historic places worthy of preservation. In 2015, LGBTQ+ resources represented less than .005% of the total properties in the National Register. In Maryland, there are no sites or districts listed in the National Register for LGBTQ+ historical significance.

In 2018, statewide preservation advocate Preservation Maryland announced an organizational focus on LGBTQ+ history and implemented a statewide history and preservation strategy with academic, organizational, and municipal partners. A grant from the  Maryland Historical Trust supported the creation of a historic context focusing on the study of LGBTQ+ history in the state. The report authored by Dr. Susan Ferentinos, author of Interpreting LGBT History at Historic Sites and Museums, will be publicly available in Fall 2020. After the completion of the historic context, Baltimore City’s Historic Preservation Office and Montgomery Planning partnered with Preservation Maryland to research properties associated with LGBTQ+ heritage.

In addition, Preservation Maryland partnered with Benjamin Egerman to document, research, and add LGBTQ+ spaces in Maryland to the National Park Service’s LGBTQ America map. The 300 sites span from the 17th century to the present and reflect places where LGBTQ+ people lived, gathered, and advocated for themselves and others. In collaboration with the local community, Egerman identified more than fifteen sites in Montgomery County.

The Historic Preservation Program is pleased to be a participating member of the Maryland LGBTQ+ History Collaborative organized by Preservation Maryland and we look forward to further recognizing and celebrating this untold and critical component of our community’s history.

Last Updated: June 5, 2020