Earlier this week, Preservation Maryland released its landmark statewide LGBTQ Historic Context Study.
The study documents nearly 400 sites related to LGBTQ life in each county of the state. It covers LGBTQ history from the seventeenth century up to 2016. The Historic Context Study also identifies themes that emphasize the unique experience of LGBTQ people in Maryland. Some of the themes include maritime history, political organizing and protest, and rural LGBTQ life.
Dr. Susan Ferentinos, an expert in LGBTQ research, authored the study. The project team gathered research for the report during five community listening sessions across the state. These research leads were then geocoded and made into an interactive online map. The map remains online, and visitors can continue to add more locations and information.
Maryland is the second state in the country to complete a comprehensive study of LGBTQ history. This document is an important milestone in Preservation Maryland’s multi-year commitment to LGBTQ heritage. The Historic Context Study will soon be turned into an illustrated pamphlet and resource guide. The Baltimore City Commission on Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP) and Montgomery County Planning also plan to use the context study to nominate five sites related to LGBTQ history to the National Register of Historic Places.
Meagan Baco, Director of Communications at Preservation Maryland and project manager for the initiative, described the value of this study for the state and historians. “The importance of this report cannot be understated and it is just the beginning of a more expansive inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity representation in history. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people have always been a part of Maryland’s life – their omission in previous research was rooted in discrimination, not a lack of importance. Any historian looking for an accurate account of Maryland life should consider this report a must-read,” Baco said.
The full LGBTQ Historic Context Study can be read here.