Remembering queer history through LGBT monuments
There are a number of LGBT monuments around the world, but the recent news that the White House is considering the creation of a national monument to the gay rights movement in Greenwich Village where the 1969 Stonewall uprising happened is welcome indeed.
The big factor here is that this move– supported by Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand and Representative Jerrold Nadler, both Democrats from New York– will help set up the first-ever national monument in the US.
LGBT monuments: The first US national monument
As Juliet Eilperin of The Washington Post pointed out: “It would be the first national monument anchored by a dive bar and surrounded by a warren of narrow streets that long has been regarded the historic center of gay cultural life in New York City.”
“We are excited about this, and we do think that the president should move forward on it,” said Kristen Brengel, the vice president for government affairs at the National Parks Conservation Association.
The proposed monument is will be on the Greenwich Village parkland, known as Christopher Park. Meanwhile, the Stonwall Inn– which was the center of the uprising– has been granted landmark status by the city.
Though President Obama has the power to create the said national monument, the New York legislators are also trying to build support for legislation for the monument in case the US president doesn’t choose to wield this power.
LGBT monuments in the US
There are a number of monuments in the US celebrating the struggle for gay rights and the tragedy that had befallen a number of LGBT persons.
Currently, there are four LGBT statues sitting on the benches of the same Christopher Park to mark the Stonewall riots that pushed the gay liberation movement to the mainstream.
In the University of Wyoming, there is the Matthew Shepard bench to mark the homophobic hate crime of gay student Shepard in 1998. Shepard’s death also helped push for the creation of the Matthew Shepard Act, which made it illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation.
There’s also the Pink Triangle Park in San Francisco, home to the gay Castro district. This monument remembers the lives lost in the fight for gay equality.
In California, there is the Wizard of Oz Rainbow at the Sony Studios where the classic The Wizard of Oz was filmed.
LGBT monuments around the world
In Europe, there is the Pink Triangle in the Catalan town of Sitges in Spain which was built in 2006 to mark the 10th year anniversary of the 1996 uprisings in the town. There is an inscription under the triangle that reads: “Sitges against homophobia. Never again.”
In Amsterdam, the Netherlands, there is the Homomonument that is dedicated to LGBTs who were subjected to persecution because of their sexuality during the Nazi regime. Another World War 2 monument is the one in Berlin, Germany for the gays and lesbians who suffered under the Nazi rule.
A second monument in Germany stands in Frankfurt, the statue of an angel to remember the gays and lesbians who were persecuted in Germany.
There are a number of LGBT monuments in UK, two of them being the Alan Turing memorial in Manchester and the Emmeline Pankhurst statue in London. Turing, the father of computer science, was a victim of prejudice, while Pankhurst spearheaded the British suffrage movement.