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Saturday, June 24, 2023

Travel to Learn LGBTQ+ History

Sometimes it's easier to learn about yourself and certain history when you travel. Something about being away from home and only focusing on one thing can help you absorb more information and make it make a bigger impact. If you've been wanting to delve into LGBTQ+ history, then there are so many ways and places to do so, including the ones below:

If you've been wanting to delve into LGBTQ+ history, then there are so many ways and places to do so, including the ones below.

Remember when I said the National Parks Service was preserving and teaching others about Black history? Well, they are doing the same with LGBTQ+ history and culture in places where queer Americans made their stories, because the outdoors belong to everybody and every body all year long. Not just in June or February. I love these updated campaigns from the NPS, showing that all history is important history and the outdoors are always inclusive.

Even in states where one might think queer history may be suppressed, one can find some deep culture. For instance, Café Lafitte In Exile in New Orleans is one of the oldest continuously-operated gay bars in the United States. Though it has moved in the past, it has been open since the 30s, where it started in a pirate's blacksmith shop.

Don't pass up places in solid blue states either, or you'll miss amazing gems like Darcelle XV Showplace here in Portland, Oregon. It's one of the oldest drag venues in the US and has been added to the National Historic Registers, the first LGBT venue to gain that status in the state. Darcelle XV was the oldest working drag queen in the biz, before she died this year. Also known as Walter Cole when not in drag, Darcelle had such a profound impact on the community, both queer and cis/hetero, that the whole city basically ground to a halt to celebrate her life and death. 

Want to support the LGBTQ+ community in your state/city or those you're traveling to? Help preserve stories and make things markedly better for them in the present, so others can learn more wonderful stories and less depressing ones in the future, here's a list of grassroots organizations you can get behind and assist. 

Need a book for your next trip to the beach, road trip, or long flight? Delve into some of the stories about queers who helped further the movement for those that came after. Here are 5 books on queer history that we are lucky to have, because for every story that we get, there are countless stories that were lost because it was too dangerous for them to get written down. If you need a bigger list, check out the picks from Powell's Books.

I hope you're all having a great start to the summer. Share some of your favorite queer-friendly places to visit in your city or to travel in the comments.

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