INVISIBLE NO MORE
By: Deborah L. Martin
Harry S. Truman once said, “The only thing new in the world is the history you don’t know.” When it comes to LGBTQ history in the United States, that lack of knowledge is vast, and Ken Lustbader, Jay Shockley, and Andrew Dolkart have been working to change that for much of their careers. Shockley, a 35-year-veteran of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, co-authored the Stonewall nomination with Dolkart, an architectural historian, in 1999, resulting in the first National Register and National Historic Landmark listings for an LGBTQ site, and eventually led to its National Monument selection in 2016. In 1993, Lustbader received the Outstanding M.S. Historic Preservation Columbia University Thesis Award for his work, “Landscape of Liberation: Preserving Lesbian and Gay History in Greenwich Village.” In 2014, 15 years after getting Stonewall listed on the National Register, they received grant money from the National Park Service, from a fund for projects for underrepresented communities. Of the 92,000 sites on the National Register, only ten were related to LGBTQ history. The project now has over 500 sites, and counting. In addition to reworking the official descriptions of existing sites to include LGBTQ history, the group is producing nominations for new inclusions on the National Historic Register. The project website includes an interactive map highlighting culturally important places such as homes of historic figures, restaurants, bars, and LGBTQ rights organizations.