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Obama Names Stonewall Inn First LGBTQ National Monument

Today, President Obama designated Stonewall Inn, seen by many as the birthplace of the gay rights movement, as the United States’ first LGBTQ national monument. This step in commemorating LGBTQ history takes place at a fraught time: less than two weeks after the attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando that left fifty dead and wounded fifty-three others, and also only two days before the first anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage throughout the country.

Glennda Testone, director of the Center—New York City’s LGBTQ community center, which offers health and wellness programs, entertainment, and support services—said, “We thank President Obama for standing with us as a staunch ally and ensuring our place in the history books. After thousands of years of invisibility, LGBT contributions and culture will no longer be marginalized and our significance will forever be a part of the story of the United States of America.” She added, “By designating a home for LGBT history, we ensure that none of the lives lost in the fight for LGBT rights are forgotten. When people come to Stonewall National Monument, we hope they’ll know that it was also the place where thousands of people gathered after the Orlando shooting to try and make some sense of a world where something so heartbreaking could happen. It is, and always will be, the place where our community members go to find each other in times of celebration, tragedy and to advance the fight for full LGBT equality.”

The new monument will protect the area encompassing Stonewall Inn, where the LGBTQ community fought back against police persecution on June 28, 1969.

President Obama said this addition to America’s National Park System “should reflect the full story of our country, the richness and diversity, and uniquely American spirit that has always defined us.”