List of 19 Famous LGBTQ+ Monuments in the US

Updated

Did you know there are a ton of buildings and monuments across the US that stand as testaments of the courage of the LGBTQ+ community? Though LGBTQ+ trailblazers have accomplished much in recent years, the hard work is far from done. To honor all LGBTQ+ and allies, plan a trip to these famous LGBTQ+ monuments and landmarks. 

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From classic historical spots to famous graves and memorials celebrate the history and the future with this inspired list. Your pride bucket list is a form of living memorial, letting you honor all those who came before—and who are still on their own journeys. What will you discover? Start with this list of famous LGBTQ+ monuments in the US. 

Famous LGBTQ+ Monuments in the US

First, public monuments are a way to remind the community of how far it has come. From LGBTQ+ uprisings to the Transgender Day of Remembrance, these monuments below serve as heritage markers for all. These are all well worth a visit, whether you’re a member of the LGBTQ+ community or you’re an enthusiastic ally. 

1. The Legacy Walk in Chicago, Illinois

First, the Legacy Walk monument isn’t just a single structure. Instead, it’s a half-mile series of bronze pylons along North Halsted Street. These pylons are rainbow-adorned, adopting the symbol of the LGBTQ+ community. Each column commemorates the work of specific individuals who helped shape the world. This is a recognized Chicago landmark, and it comes to life on National Coming Out Day. 

2. Kameny House in Washington, D.C.

It should come as no surprise that one of the most well-known LGBTQ+ monuments is in the nation’s capital. The Kameny House National Historic Place is where one of the most significant LGBTQ+ leaders once resided. Though this is just a modest brick house, it was home to Dr. Franklin E. Kameny, the first openly gay man to run for U.S. Congress. He unfortunately passed in 2011, but his home is still worth a visit. 

3. The Black Cat Tavern in Los Angeles, California

Though you might not think of a tavern as being a landmark, that’s exactly what the Black Cat Tavern is in Los Angeles. This was one of the first places to house the riots protesting police harassment and violence against LGBTQ communities. These riots happened prior to the famous Stonewall riots, and the bar still pays homage to the original protest. 

4. Henry Gerber House in Chicago, Illinois

Another historic landmark in Chicago was once the home of Henry Gerber. This is the founder of the Society for Human Rights, the first American organization that worked for gay rights. Once from intolerant Germany, Gerber found this place to be a solace in the 1920s. Unfortunately, his society didn’t last more than a year due to police scrutiny. However, it still played a vital role in early LGBTQ+ societies. 

5. Castro Camera in San Francisco, California

San Francisco was the epicenter for much of the LGBTQ+ movements in US history. The first openly gay elected official in California lived in San Fransisco, and he owned and operated Castro Camera in the Castro District. Soon, this spot became the center of the neighborhood’s bustling gay community. Today, this store serves as the Human Rights Campaign Action Center and Store

6. Earl Hall in New York, New York

You’ll find the next landmark at Columbia University in New York City. This was the first collegiate institution in the country to host an LGBTQ student group. Founded by Robert Martin, the Student Homophile League began to meet in Earl Hall. Today, visitors can still see the group’s headquarters at Earl Hall. 

7. Julius Bar in New York, New York

Another famous LGBTQ+ landmark is Julius Bar in Manhattan, New York City. This is the city’s oldest continuously operated gay bar. Opened in the 1840s, it’s attracted gay patrons since the 1950s. In the 1960s, the bar was home to “Sip-In” events. This is when one of the first LGBTQ+ groups would openly drink in the bar, despite the rules at the time. 

8. Walt Whitman House in Camden, New Jersey

Known across the globe for his poetry, Walt Whitman was thought to have been gay or bisexual. His work shows that he was very active in the LGBTQ+ scene throughout the 19th century until his death in 1892. Today, his home is operated by a museum under New Jersey’s Divisions of Parks and Forestry. 

9. The Women’s Building in San Francisco, California

The Women’s Building in San Francisco began as a nonprofit for arts and education in the 1970s. It sets itself apart by advocating for gender equality, social justice, and LGBTQ+ allyship. This led to the nation’s first woman-owned and operated community center. 

10. Gay Liberation Monument in New York, New York

In the West Village of New York City, you’ll find the Gay Liberation Monument along Christopher Street. This was created by American artist George Segal, and it was officially dedicated in 1992 to Stonewall Inn events from the prior decades. In general, it’s a reminder that the area is rich in gay community and history.

11. Federal Building in San Francisco, California

Though not designated by the state or local government, the LGBTQ+ community considers the Federal Building to be an important place in the movement’s history. During the 1985 AIDS crisis, activists chained themselves to the door of the building seeking more funding for AIDS research and medical care. 

12. Stonewall Inn in New York City, New York

Last but not least, the Stonewall Inn is possibly the most famous landmark on this list. This was the site of the infamous 1969 Stonewall Riots. An LGBTQ+ community bar and nightclub, police activity here was common until protests held their ground outside the bar. Though the space closed, it reopened again in 2007 to honor its historic past. 

Famous LGBTQ+ Memorials in the US

If you’re looking for creative ways to honor someone, it’s worth keeping these LGBTQ+ memorials on your list. These sites honor those who have been lost, and they also encourage others in the community to stay strong. 

13. Transgender Memorial Garden in St. Louis, Missouri

In the heart of St. Louis, you’ll discover this beautiful green space. The Transgender Memorial Garden has been in place since 2015 in the Grove neighborhood. Created to memorialize victims of anti-trans violence, it’s planted with native trees and wildflowers. Volunteers continue to serve this memorial, though all are welcome. 

14. National AIDS Memorial Grove in San Francisco, California

The AIDS epidemic had a catastrophic effect on the population of San Francisco in the 1980s. A group of locals turned a 10-acre area of Golden Gate Park into a tribute for those who lost their lives to this epidemic. Today, you can find a series of stone memorials through a thicket or redwood trees. 

15. Pulse Nightclub Memorial in Orlando, Florida

On June 12, 2016, a violent attack on an LGBTQ+ nightclub took place in Orlando, Florida. A reported 49 people were killed and 53 wounded in a tragic mass shooting. The community of Orlando came together to create the Pulse Memorial, a quiet sanctuary in honor of the innocent lives lost. All are welcome to visit and pay their respects. 

16. Congressional’s LGBTQ+ Corner in Washington, D.C.

Though you might be surprised, the Congressional Cemetery in Capitol Hill is dubbed LGBTQ+ Corner. Located in the cemetery’s northwest, this is a place where many openly gay veterans are buried. Beginning with Vietnam Vet Leonard Matlovich in 1975, other LGBTQ+ veterans and activists began to purchase their own plots near his grave. Today, 35 people have chosen to be buried in the LGBT corner to show solidarity with Matlovich. 

17. Marsha P. Johnson Memorial in New York City, New York

The Marsha P. Johnson Memorial Fountain is in Hudson River Park, New York City. Born Malcom Michaels Jr., Marsha became an American activist and self-identified drag queen. Outspoken for LGBTQ+ rights, they were one of the most prominent figures during the Stonewall uprising. Known today as the mother of drag, they’re remembered in this permanent memorial. 

18. Edith Windsor Historical Marker in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Edith Windsor was more than a feminist. She was best remembered for her landmark Supreme Court marriage equality lawsuit. When denied benefits by the federal government after the passing of her longtime partner, she sued for benefits for same-sex couples. Her case resulted in the overturning of same-sex marriage prohibitions in 17 states. Today, a memorial in her honor resets in downtown Philadelphia. 

19. Pink Triangle Park in San Francisco, California

Last but not least, the Pink Triangle Park in San Francisco is in the Castro neighborhood. It’s the first permanent memorial in the USA dedicated to the homosexuals persecuted by Nazis during World War II. The park is characterized by 15 pylons dedicated to the tens of thousands of LGBTQ+ victims killed during the Nazi regime. The park’s name comes from the pink triangles Nazis used to force homosexual men to sew into their clothes. 

A Fight for Visibility and Inclusion

In conclusion, the LGBTQ+ community has worked hard to gain so much visibility within modern culture and acceptance. However, there is still much work to be done. These landmarks and memorials above are places for reflection, togetherness, and community. Ultimately, they’re a reminder of the strength of the LGBTQ+ individuals who came before and are soon to come. 

Have you visited any of these spots above? It’s important to recognize meaningful spots in your own community. Whether honoring a tragedy or fighting for equality, we should also take the time to reflect on our own legacies.

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