Six LGBT venues are being recognized by the English government this month for their contributions to LGBT history.
Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Britain’s Historic England, explained that the Pride of Place initiative is meant to mark the 50th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality in the country.
“Too often, the influence of men and women who helped build our nation has been ignored, underestimated or is simply unknown, because they belonged to minority groups,” he said.
Among the landmarks being honored are the homes of playwright Oscar Wilde, composer Benjamin Britten and writer Anne Lister, considered the “first modern lesbian.”
“Our Pride of Place project is one step on the road to better understanding just what a diverse nation we are, and have been for many centuries,” said Wilson. “At a time when historic LGBTQ venues are under particular threat, this is an important step.”
London’s famed Royal Vauxhall Tavern, an iconic gay bar under threat of closure, was granted landmark status in 2015.
Also recognized is the Burdett-Coutts Memorial in North London, which commemorates 18th-century spy Chevalier d’Eon, who infiltrated the court of Russia’s Empress Elizabeth by presenting as a woman.
Another venue, St. Ann’s Court in Surrey, the former home of landscape designer Christopher Tunnard and his partner Gerald Schlesinger, is described as an example of “queer architecture.”
According to The Guardian, “it was designed with a master bedroom that could be separated into two, so visitors assumed the two men slept separately.”
Pride of Place lead researcher Alison Oram said her team hopes the initiative “will lead to more historic places being publicly valued and protected for their important queer histories.”