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Historic LGBTQ sites may be designated NYC landmarks

By Gwen Aviles

As the 50th anniversary of the seminal Stonewall uprising approaches, New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission is considering designating as landmarks six sites that reflect the historical significance of the city’s LGBTQ community.

The sites include the Audre Lorde Residence in Staten Island, Caffe Cino and The LGBT Community Center in the West Village, the James Baldwin Residence in the Upper West Side, the Women’s Liberation Center in Chelsea and the Gay Activists Alliance Firehouse in SoHo.

“These six proposed landmarks recognize groups and individuals that helped move forward the LGBT civil rights movement by creating political and community support structures, and by bringing LGBT cultural expression into the public realm,” Sarah Carroll, the chairwoman of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, said in a statement shared with NBC News. “These sites are tangible connections to this important New York City history.”

Caribbean-American writer, poet and activist Audre Lorde lectures students at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, in 1983.Robert Alexander / Getty Images

The NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, an organization dedicated to documenting buildings tied to influential LGBTQ trailblazers across the five boroughs, curated a list of more than 200 sites in an initiative titled “Historic Context Statement for LGBT History in New York City.” The organization sent a truncated version of this list to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which then, along with New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, identified the six places now picked for possible landmark designation, according to Ken Lustbader, co-director of the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project

“We worked to ensure that the sites reflected the totality of New York City’s LGBT community, that it represents the diversity of people and time periods,” Lustbader told NBC News. “We hope these sites represent the beginning of continued recognition of LGBT sites as significant to New York City and American history.”

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