Pride Month isn’t just about celebrating – it’s also about remembering LGBTQ history.
If you’re in the Northeast, you don’t have to go far to bump into some of the most historic LGBTQ sites in the world. And there’s no better way to spend Pride Month than walking in the footsteps of LGBTQ pioneers at these local, historic sites.
No list of LGBTQ landmarks is complete without the Stonewall Inn. The gay bar and tavern located in New York City’s Greenwich Village was the site of the 1969 Stonewall riots. When police raided Stonewall on June 28, 1969, a group of patrons and passersby retaliated and sparked the modern movement for LGBTQ liberation. On the anniversary of the riots, the first Pride parades took place in New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago. Pride Month is in June because it marks this pivotal moment in LGBTQ history. Today, Stonewall is a National Historic Landmark and even has its own National Monument across the street in Christopher Park.
Julius’ Bar is one of the oldest continually-operating bars in New York City, and it’s also the oldest gay bar in New York City. This bar in Greenwich Village wasn’t always gay-friendly, though. In 1966, three members of the gay rights organization the Mattachine Society held a “sip-in” at Julius’ to protest laws that prohibited openly (or suspected) gay and lesbian people from being served at bars. The sip-in attracted attention from the New York Times and the Village Voice, leading the New York State Liquor Authority to roll back some of its policies against gay and lesbian patrons. It was an important stepping stone that would eventually lead to the events at Stonewall. Julius’ Bar is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Its interior is remarkably preserved and extremely similar to how it would have looked in 1966.
Originally, the beachside LGBTQ community of Provincetown was an artists’ colony. The Provincetown Art Association and Museum, established in 1914, documents the history of art and culture in P-town as it gradually grew into one of the top LGBTQ destinations in the country. The Provincetown Art Association and Museum offers a mix of contemporary and historical art, mostly by artists who have a connection to the area. At the museum, you can attend classes and lectures on everything from watercolors to LGBTQ symbolism in historic art. You can also see pieces by artists like Andy Warhol, John Singer Sargent, Blanche Lazzell and William Littlefield.
Carrington House was built at the turn of the 20th century, and it was one of the first structures in Fire Island’s Cherry Grove. Theater director Frank Carrington purchased the house in 1927, expanded it and used it to house visiting LGBTQ artists, actors and writers. Truman Capote famously developed the novel “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” while he was staying there. Though it has since fallen into disrepair, some in the community hope to transform it into a museum celebrating the history of Fire Island. Carrington House and the surrounding area is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Also on Fire Island, you’ll find the Cherry Grove Community House and Theater, which was built in 1948. It’s the oldest continually operating LGBTQ theater in the country, and served as the cultural and civic center of Cherry Grove. The Cherry Grove Community House and Theater, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, continues to support the community today – in 2021 it was used to administer COVID-19 vaccines to residents.
Boston’s Arlington Street Church has a long history of supporting the LGBTQ community. Since the 1970s it’s served as a popular meeting spot for various LGBTQ groups, like the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus, BAGLY, the Daughters of Bilitis and the Homophile Union. The Unitarian Universalist church welcomed the gay Catholic group Dignity-Boston after they were banned from meeting on Roman Catholic church property. In 1981, the church held its first prom for LGBTQ youth. In 1983, members hosted their first AIDS benefit concert. In 2004, Arlington Street Church held America’s first state-sanctioned wedding for a same-sex couple. Then, just three days later, 55 LGBTQ couples were legally married there on the same day. In addition to its rich history, the Arlington Street Church is beautiful, with 16 stained-glass windows installed by Tiffany Studios, 16 hand-rung bells in its bell tower, Corinthian columns and a 62-foot-high arched ceiling.
Did we forget any other landmarks important to LGBTQ history? Have you been to any of these places before? Let us know in the comments below!
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