While not everything we do in our lives is dedicated to being gay, there are things we can do to honor this part of ourselves and the community we are part of, including our history and the very reasons we fought to be proud in the first place. Here are a few suggestions on how you can show your pride any day of the year.
Visit an LGBT Museum
In Los Angeles, the One Archives Gallery and Museum is perfectly placed in West Hollywood with regular exhibitions of gay and lesbian historical art and events.
Soon we’ll have a new National LGBT Museum in New York City (estimated 2019), but in the meantime, the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art celebrates our rich history and diverse community through works by gay, lesbian, and bisexual artists. Currently on display: The 1970s: The Blossoming of a Queer Enlightenment.
The Stonewall National Museum & Archives lives in Ft. Lauderdale, “at the intersection of Florida’s LGBT communities.”
And Tuscon has had its own LGBTQ Museum since 1967.
Check out a Gay/Lesbian Library
There are several fantastic archives of gay history in the U.S., including the June Mazer Lesbian Archives in Los Angeles, the Lesbian Herstory Archives in Brooklyn, and the ONE Archives at the University of Southern California.
Photo by Barbara Alper/Getty Images
Chicago has both the Leather Archives & Museum and The National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame, which has its home at the Center on Halsted. You can also spend a whole day inside the Gerber/Hart Library, dedicated to LGBT literature.
In Indiana, The Chris Gonzalez Library & Archives is an incredible resource.
In New York, The Archive At The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual And Transgender Community Center has a sizable collection of photos, journals, letters and other pieces of gay history.
Philly’s The Barbara Gittings Gay/Lesbian Collection At The Independence Branch Library is a must for anyone interested in how integral Barbara and lesbian women were involved in the pre-Stonewall gay rights movement.
Minneapolis is home to The Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection In Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual And Transgender Studies boasts “the largest Two Spirit Collection available,” among other treasures.
If you can’t make it to any of these places, there are also some great online resources, like Chicago Gay History and OutHistory.org. You might even have some resources available to you through your own local library.
Visit LGBT Landmarks
Several major cities have walking and bus tours of LGBT sites, including San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, Miami and Seattle, but there are also plenty of other landmarks you can check out on your own. Hull House in Chicago, for example, is both a national landmark and museum dedicated to the work of lesbian social worker Jane Addams. Bonus: It’s said to be haunted.
photo by Chris Walker/Chicago Tribune/MCT
The Furies Collective in Washington, D.C. has just been added to the National Register of Historic Places. For three years, the building was home to lesbian writers and activists who lived and worked together and published their own lesbian/feminist monthly magazine.
The NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project has several places worth visiting, including the homes of famous LGBTs like the offices of the Mattachine Society and Daughters of Bilitis Offices. New York also has a monument of Gertrude Stein in Bryant Park.
But if you’re like me, you may have some specific interests; a facet of lesbian history that you are particularly interested in. I once created my own walking tour of literary lesbian homes and hangouts in Manhattan, which wasn’t that hard considering many of these places are now well-documented thanks to the internet. You can also easily track down the sites of former dyke bars or womyn’s spaces, just to stand where they once stood.
Gravesites are also a possibility if they aren’t too morbid for you. Plug in a famous LGBT person’s name and see if they are memorialized on findagrave.com.
Join (Or Start!) A Lesbian/Bi Book/Movie Club
The easiest way to have some pride in yourself and community history is to read a book or watch a film, but that can be so solitary. Get out and meet some others to talk about what you experienced, together. Check out your local LGBT center, library, bookstores (especially feminist and women-owned ones!) and film festivals to see if they have an LGBT-themed book or movie club. Meetup.com has a list of several cities with their own lesbian book clubs.
And if they don’t, start one! Pick a date, invite your friends, tell them to invite their friends, and have everyone bring a snack, a bottle of wine and a book/movie choice for the first meeting. It’ll serve as a mixer and a great way to learn everyone’s tastes. Then secret ballot vote on the first choice and from then on, everyone else will get their turn.
Follow the Herstory Instagram account. Wear herstoric messaging on your chest. Share your pride in your identity and community, especially the lesbian and bisexual women who have paved the way for us to be able to be out and proud. They are most often ignored and marginalized, and deserve more credit. Some of them include: The Daughters of Bilitis, Jeanne Cordova, Ivy Bottini, the Lesbian Avengers, Sarah Schulman and Mabel Hampton. I promise their stories will inspire you.