In a significant development coinciding with the conclusion of LGBTQI+ History Month in the United States, openly gay Wisconsin Democrat Mark Pocan has introduced two bills aimed at establishing a national museum dedicated to queer history and culture. Pocan, who chairs the Congressional Equality Caucus and has been a longstanding advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, seeks to preserve and protect the LGBTQI+ community’s stories for future generations.
Preserving Our Collective Past
Pocan emphasized the importance of preserving LGBTQI+ history, particularly in the face of ongoing challenges and attempts to erase the community’s historical contributions. He stated, “As our community faces unprecedented attacks and attempts to erase our history, we must preserve and protect our stories for future generations.” Pocan envisions a museum in Washington, D.C., that will showcase both the positive and negative aspects of LGBTQI+ history while honoring the community’s significant contributions to the nation.
Two Bills to Establish the Museum
The first of the two bills proposed by Pocan outlines the creation of an eight-member commission composed of experts in museum planning and LGBTQ research and culture. This commission will conduct an 18-month study to assess the feasibility of establishing the National Museum of American LGBTQI+ History and Culture. Their responsibilities include developing a fundraising plan, evaluating the availability and cost of acquiring collections, and submitting a comprehensive action plan to Congress for the museum’s establishment and construction, among other tasks.
A Museum to Celebrate and Educate
Upon completion of the commission’s work and the issuance of its recommendations, the second bill will be presented to Congress to formally create the National Museum of American LGBTQI+ History and Culture. These legislative initiatives mark a significant step toward preserving LGBTQI+ history and educating the public about the community’s rich and diverse contributions to American society.