March is Women’s History Month, a national celebration started in 1981 when President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the week of March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week.” Five years later, following a petition by the National Women’s History Project, Congress passed legislation declaring the month of March 1987 as “Women’s History Month,” an annual tradition that has continued to this day.
Here, 10 places to visit that celebrate the lives and work of some of the queer women and LGBT icons who have shaped history:
Largely considered the birthplace of women’s suffrage, the Finger Lakes region was home to monumental leaders such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Seneca Falls was the site of the first Women’s Rights Convention in 1848. Today, visitors to the Finger Lakes region can visit landmarks like the Women’s Rights National Historical Park; the National Women’s Hall of Fame; the Susan B. Anthony House & Museum; the statue of Susan B. Anthony, Amelia Bloomer, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton (top photo); and the Harriet Tubman Home (photo above).
The Jane Addams Hull-House Museum serves as a dynamic memorial to one of the country’s most important social reformers, a co-founder of the ACLU, and the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. The museum preserves and develops the original Hull-House site, an organization Addams founded with her first romantic partner, Ellen Gates Starr, linking research, education, and social engagement.
Located in Coyoacán, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Mexico City, the Casa Azul or “Blue House,” as the Museo Frida Kahlo is alternately known, is the home where Kahlo, the legendary bisexual Mexican artist was born, lived with her husband, fellow artist Diego Rivera, and eventually died. In 1958, four years after her death, the home and its contents were turned into a museum celebrating her life and work.
Josephine Baker, who was noted to have had a romantic relationship with Kahlo and the French novelist, Colette, was an American-born entertainer who found fame as a dancer, singer and actress in Paris. Ernest Hemingway described Baker as “the most sensational woman anyone ever saw.”
Visitors on the walking tour can see Le Beau Chêne, the private mansion that Baker called home for nearly two decades. Other stops include a plaque featuring a photo of Josephine Baker at the opening of the Tour de France in 1933, and town hall, where the famed entertainer tried re-establish residency in Le Vésinet after leaving Les Milandes, her chateau in the Dordogne.
The Alice Austen House honors the legacy of a pioneer photographer and an inspiring "modern woman" of the Victorian age. The site, named a site of LGBT historic significance in 2017, offers ongoing exhibitions of her life and work and of contemporary photography as well as hosts a range of public arts programs. The museum is located within Clear Comfort, the waterfront cottage where Austen spent most of her life with lifelong companion, Gertrude Tate.
Though Eva Perón as a championing of the LGBT community is debatable, she was known to have surrounded herself with gay men. But the fact that actresses including Patti LuPone and Madonna have stepped into her shoes on stage and screen has solidified her place in the pantheon of modern queer icons. Two ways to connect to the most famous First Lady of Argentina are to visit the Museo Evita, which brings the legendary figure to life through films, photographs, and a collection of her personal items, as well as to visit Evita’s final resting place in Recoleta (photo above), one of the world’s most beautiful cemeteries.
Barbara Gittings, a pioneer of the modern LGBT rights movement, edited the nation’s first lesbian magazine and led the charge both to promote positive LGBT literature in public libraries and to change the American Psychological Association’s classification of homosexuality as a mental illness. A Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission marker honors the home at 21st and Locust Streets that she shared with photojournalist partner, Kay Lahusen.
The Pride and Progress mural, located on the west wall of the William Way Center, Philadelphia’s LGBT community center, was designed and created by artist Ann Northrop and her team of 15 assistants. It depicts a Pride festival in the midst of nearby landmarks, including the Drake Hotel. The bespectacled Barbara Gittings is portrayed at the front of the work.
This March, in celebration of Women’s History Month, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame will celebrate the achievements of some of music’s most notable female rockers. One of those women being bisexual soul singer, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on April 14, 2018.
Visitors can learn more about Sister Rosetta, as well as other queer female rockers like the Indigo Girls, Tracy Chapman, Melissa Ethridge, Lady Gaga, Tegan and Sara, and others who are a part of a long lineage of out women who have changed the world of rock and roll.
Although Georgia O’Keeffe’s sexuality has been the subject of intense (and largely unsubstantiated) conjecture—what is known is that she was was married to photographer, Alfred Stieglitz—her work, evocative of the female form, has been embraced by feminist and queer art lovers worldwide. The eponymous museum, the country’s first entirely dedicated to a woman artist, houses a collection of over 3,000 works including 140 O’Keeffe oil paintings, nearly 700 drawings, and hundreds of additional works dating from 1901 to 1984, the year failing eyesight forced O’Keeffe into retirement.
Visitors to the museum can see a changing selection of her works throughout the year as well as exhibitions that combine examples of her art with pieces by American modernist contemporaries.
27 rue de Fleurus, Paris
Located in the 6th arrondissement of Paris’s Left Bank, 27 rue de Fleurus is the location of the former home of Gertrude Stein and her partner, Alice B. Toklas. It was a renowned Saturday evening gathering place for both expatriate Americans, artists, and writers like Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, Thornton Wilder, and Henri Matisse.