On July 24, 2019, I had the privilege of speaking to the U.S. House of Representatives Democratic Subcommittee for National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands. In honor of the National Park Service’s July theme of “Telling All American’s Stories,” Natural Resources Committee Chair Rep. Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ) invited me and three other panelists to discuss the importance of making public lands welcoming and inclusive of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) individuals.
Subcommittee Chair Deb Haaland (D-NM) opened the event with some remarks, then invited each of the panelists to speak. Besides myself, the other panelists were Elyse Rylander, Out There Adventures; Chad Lord, National Parks Conservation Association; and Laura Esquivel, Hispanic Federation. Together, we presented arguments for why representation of LGBTQ lives at National Parks and Historic Sites provides much needed visibility for this marginalized population. My own remarks focused particularly on the power of creating both specific National Historic Sites focused on LGBTQ history and the integration of long-suppressed LGBTQ stories within existing sites.
You can read a transcript of my remarks here or watch this video:
A video of the full forum can be viewed here.