Thursday, June 12, 2014

The great, gay outdoors

Posted By on Thu, Jun 12, 2014 at 10:51 AM

  • Painting by Henry Scott Tuke

When I was growing up, I remember schools, national parks, and other federal institutions making an effort to include the history of women, as well as native, black, Latino,  and Asian Americans in our lessons.

At the time, this was considered progressive. My mother's history lessons had been mostly limited to the contributions of white males. 

Well, now it looks like the National Park Service is making an effort to be even more inclusive. With its centennial approaching in 2016, the service wants to include the history and contributions of LGBT people. 

Read on for more:

Panel Discussion Outlines National Park Service Theme Study Highlighting LGBT

History, Encourages Public Participation

WASHINGTON –Today, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis hosted a roundtable and panel discussion with experts in the field of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) history to begin developing a theme study that will celebrate and interpret lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history in the context of broader American history.

U.S. House of Representatives Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Ambassador to Australia John Berry spoke at the public event, and the scholars discussed the theme study and answered questions from the public.

“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.”

During the morning roundtable, 18 scholars met to provide guidance and input about the goals of the theme study and suggested activities and information that will be gathered during its development. Their work focused on developing a process that assures open and inclusive conversations in the coming months as the theme study develops. Following the roundtable, several of the scholars participated in the panel discussion with the public to talk about the theme study.

The National Park Service will continue to include input from interested communities, organizations, and individuals during the development of the theme study. 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 at Additional public meetings and other events around the country are under consideration and will be announced as information becomes available. 

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