Our LGBT pop culture artifact picks for the Smithsonian

In case you missed it, it was announced this week that the Smithsonian Institution is adding some artifacts from LGBT history. The items will come from all walks of life; politics, sports, culture. It’s all very exciting stuff. The LGBT community still has a long way to go, but we’ve come so far, and it will be really great to have some of that progress documented in such a large and world-renowned collection.

Some actual items that will be part of this addition include the first openly gay U.S. ambassador passport, photography collections from Patsy Lynch and Silvia Ros, a tennis racket from Renee Richards, a tennis player who fought for and won a Supreme Court case for transgender rights, and various items from the set of Will & Grace.

Some of the items that our Managing Editor Trish Bendix suggested in her Morning Brew column include: “Shane’s leather outfit from Season 1 of The L Word, the microphone Ellen said ‘I’m gay’ into on ‘The Puppy Episode,’ and Susie Bright‘s on-set instructions for Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly on how to have lesbian sex in Bound.”

I don’t know if the Smithsonian is taking suggestions or requests, but that is definitely not going to stop me from offering my opinions on the matter. So, submitted for approval of the Midnight Society…er, or whoever decides these things, here is an incomplete list of some of the things I think should be included in this LGBT exhibit:

1. The blue sweater Willow was looking for in the Buffy episode “The Body” that spawned her breakdown that lead to Willow and Tara’s first on-screen kiss. (The one that was on the chair the whole time!) Willow was one of the first main characters to come out as a lesbian and have a long-term relationship with another woman on network television, so I think she deserves a little museum love.

2. The chair from Rosie O’Donnell‘s talk show that she was sitting on when she came out publicly, which she did in order to talk about gay adoption.

3. The glasses, nose ring, dreadlock hairpieces, and red coat Tatiana Maslany wears to portray Cosima on Orphan Black. Maybe sitting atop a giant empty box of eskimo pies.

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4. Lilies from the set of Imagine Me & You. Preferably placed on the bench Luce and Rachel sat upon. I don’t know if it was a “first” in any official sense, but it was the first movie featuring a two-woman couple that I ever saw on the “New Release” wall of my local Blockbuster and not on the cobweb-covered shelf that was nestled between the foreign and independent films in an aisle I tried to make it look like I just happened upon amidst my perusing.

5. The fur coat (that didn’t belong to her) that Charlotte Sullivan as Gail had draped over her perfect shoulders when she received a kiss from Holly that changed the trajectory of her character on Rookie Blue.

6. Hall of Authentic and Supergay Uniforms. This would be a long and narrow room, lined on each side with monumental uniforms from lady loving ladies of TV and movies galore. Brittany and Santana’s Cheerios uniforms from Glee, the D.E.B.S. assassin school girl outfits, the boarding school uniform Erin Kelly wore in Loving Annabelle, Stef Foster’s police uniform, the pink getup Natasha Lyonne‘s character was forced to wear at camp in But I’m A Cheerleader, Callie and Arizona’s Seattle Grace Mercy West Grey-Sloane Memorial Hospital For The Horny, Dramatic, and Otherwise Unlucky scrubs (Grey’s Anatomy), and more!

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7. The bracelet Shay Mitchell wore (on Pretty Little Liars) while portraying Emily Fields that  simply read “Emily” and seemed to be imbued with the power to bring any lesbian or bisexual woman with a 200 mile radius to Rosewood, potentially because Alison DiLaurentis didn’t want her to be lonely while she pretended to be dead for a hot second.

8. The orange moped, helmet, and goggles that have now come to be associated with Emily Fitch and Naomi Campbell from Skins (UK, obviously…we don’t need the US version of Skins being recorded anywhere remotely historical).

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9. The rainbow flag Paula Carlin brought to the pride parade on South of Nowhere, marking a turning point in Spencer Carlin’s life (and, by association, Ashley Davies’ life). Plus also maybe The Trenchcoat.

And last but not least, there should probably be an entire room dedicated to Orange is the New Black. It would be full of prison jumpsuits, both orange and tan, Alex Vause’s glasses, the dryer she got locked in, maybe a couple of scripts, the chapel altar behind/against which both Nicky/Morello, Nicky/Soso and Piper/Alex had some sexytimes, Boo’s screwdriver, Sophia’s hairdressing station, and so much more. Maybe this room could be half The L Word and half Orange is the New Black. It would represent the evolution of female-driven, queer-dominated television shows over a ten year period.

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Of course, they should also include other things from the non-media side of things, like Brittney Griner‘s jersey or anything Edith Windsor is willing to part with, but these are just some pop-culture suggestions that came to mind.

What do you think should be included in this LGBT exhibit?

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