Curating the City: LGBTQ Historic Places in L.A. | Los Angeles Conservancy
Clockwise from top left: Dorothy Arzner & Clara Bow on the set of "The Wild Party," public domain; The Factory, L.A. Conservancy staff; Harry Hay, San Francisco Public Library; MacArthur Park, Stone Ishimaru Collection/Los Angeles Public Library

LGBTQ Historic Places in L.A. is a film project that aims to bring together a diversity of stories, perspectives, and experiences that reveal the layered historic and cultural importance of LGBTQ places throughout L.A. County. Watch the short films >

Greater Los Angeles has long been at the forefront of creating and shaping a collective, yet diverse LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning and/or queer) identity. For decades, the region and its residents have played an important role in bringing LGBTQ experiences into the public consciousness.

Over the course of the twentieth century, the region was home to the world's first gay pride parade, the world's first LGBTQ synagogue and oldest continuously operating Christian LGBTQ ministry, the country's longest-running LGBTQ publication, and groundbreaking work in medical research and care for members of the LGBTQ community. 

Nonetheless, local contributions to LGBTQ history are often eclipsed by the legacies of New York’s Stonewall riots and San Francisco’s reputation as America’s “Gay City.”

Curating the City: LGBTQ Historic Places in L.A. aims to recognize the unique stories and contributions of Los Angeles’ diverse and constantly evolving LGBTQ communities. This microsite represents the first major step in our broad efforts to tell these stories and to identify, promote, and preserve these rich, yet complex historic places.

While some of the places highlighted on this microsite have architectural importance, many are modest in appearance and require a deeper look beyond their facades to fully understand their stories and cultural value.

Architecturally unspectacular buildings also deserve recognition for the important roles they’ve played in defining many communities in Los Angeles, including the region’s diverse LGBTQ communities.

These stories come alive and are much more meaningful when the physical building in which they occurred still exists. Use these pages to learn more about the history of LGBTQ Los Angeles. The content of this microsite will continue to expand over time as new stories and places come to light.

Help Us Make This Even Better

This microsite is just the beginning of an ongoing initiative to recognize, understand, and preserve sites important to LGBTQ communities. Please help us make it even better by sharing your own stories of places that are important to you and/or broader LGBTQ communities. 

We also welcome your feedback on the microsite as our work expands in the future.

LGBTQ Terminology

Please see our Explanation of LGBTQ Terms to learn more about the terminology used on this microsite.

Special Thanks

Special thanks to Arielle N’Diaye, a Conservancy 2015 Getty Multicultural Undergraduate Intern, for her contributions to this project.