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LGBTQ Heritage in Virginia


[smartslider3 slider="8"]10 Locations in Virginia That Recall LGBTQ History

•••In 2014 the National Park Service launched a Heritage Initiative to identify places and events associated with the story of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Americans for inclusion in the parks and programs of the agency.

The goals of the LGBTQ heritage initiative include:

  • Engaging scholars, preservationists and community members to identify, research, and tell the stories of LGBTQ associated properties;
  • Encouraging national parks, national heritage areas, and other affiliated areas to interpret LGBTQ stories associated with them;
  • Identifying, documenting, and nominating LGBTQ-associated sites as National Historic Landmarks;
  • Increasing the number of listings of LGBTQ-associated properties in the National Register of Historic Places.

As part of this national effort, DHR’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, & Queer (LGBTQ) Heritage Advisory Group works to record and interpret sites across Virginia:

  • DHR’s Virginia LGBTQ Heritage Map allows visitors to see historic LGBTQ-affiliated places and to share location information about historic sites via social media. The first phase of mapping focused on the greater Richmond metro area. The map is a work in progress with new locations added as information becomes available.
  • An architectural survey of historic LGBTQ places in Richmond completed in late 2017 provides background for the development of queer culture in Virginia’s capital. The survey report for that effort is available for download and can also be viewed in DHR’s archives.
  • Self-guided walking tours of the Virginia Commonwealth University central campus and downtown Richmond developed for Virginia PrideFest enable visitors and residents to explore LGBTQ history on their own.

Future goals of DHR’s LGBTQ Heritage Advisory Group include the development of an LGBTQ theme study in Virginia to provide both historic context and a preservation roadmap for future site nominations to the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places.

Where are the LGBTQ places in Virginia that are important to you?

DHR has posted an online form to receive suggestions, stories, or other facts about the LGBTQ movement in Virginia. The agency will use the information gathered to continue developing research materials and update the Virginia LGBTQ Heritage Map.

The documents and links below are provided to assist with forwarding Virginia's LGBTQ Heritage initiative, an ongoing effort.


Research Materials


Lesbian and Gay Richmond book cover Bibliography of LGBTQ Heritage in Virginia: The majority of sources cited in this document concern broad patterns associated with the history of LGBTQ persons in the United States and, more specifically, in Virginia. The types of sources provided include books, journal articles, chapters, encyclopedias, online collections, films and recordings, research repositories, tours, and timelines. The bibliography is a work in progress. Additional sources will be added as they become known. When known, links to full-text materials published online are included in the bibliographic entry.
Timeline of LGBT History in Virginia and the United States: This timeline begins with the earliest recorded event associated with LGBTQ heritage in colonial Virginia and continues through the early 21st century. The timeline covers events that were national in scope that affected Virginia’s LGBTQ history as well as events, places, and people specific to the Commonwealth.
colonial williamsburg courthosue Chronology of Laws and Legal Cases Affecting LGBTQ Rights: This chronology provides highlights of laws that affected LGBTQ rights under English law and during Virginia’s colonial era, but focuses on the 20th- and 21st-century laws and legal decisions that have shaped LGBTQ rights up to 2015, including changing concepts of permissible marital relationships. Laws and legal decisions that affected LGBTQ rights nationally are included, as well as those specific to Virginia.
ellen glasgow Virginia Persons of Note in LGBTQ History: During the summer of 2015, VCU student Emily Buss compiled a list of persons associated with Virginia’s LGBTQ heritage from the 19th century to the early 21st century. A brief biographical note explains each individual’s contributions. A bibliography of sources used to compile this information is provided at the end of the document.
monroe park Virginia Places Associated with LGBTQ Heritage: This list combines preliminary research performed by the National Park Service and follow-up research by VCU student Emily Buss focusing on the Richmond area. The list is a work in progress with new locations being added periodically.
national park service logo National Park Service’s LGBTQ Heritage Initiative: In 2014, the National Park Service announced its new LGBTQ Heritage Initiative to explore how the legacy of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals can be recognized, preserved, and interpreted for future generations. Additional information is available on the National Park Service’s website, including a national heritage theme study, a list of places associated with LGBTQ heritage across the country, and how the public can get involved in this multi-year project.

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