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A black and gold plaque affixed to a brick wall
A plaque commemorating the Furies collective, affixed to the front wall of the rowhouse in Capitol Hill. Photo by Bailey DeSimone.

LGBTQ+ History Month on Capitol Hill

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October is National LGBTQ+ History Month, and evidence of the community’s history is visible in the present. Whereas LGBTQ+ Pride Month celebrates queer present and futurity in June, the cozy fall weather gives us a moment to look back and reflect on LGBTQ+ people and places in the nation’s past.

In the District of Columbia, there are two buildings on the National Register of Historic Places associated with LGBTQ+ history. One is the former home of Franklin Kameny, and the other is the building that housed the former Furies collective. The Furies were a lesbian separatist group who lived in the house between 1971 and 1973.

A black and gold plaque affixed to a brick wall reads: "The Furies House. A Radical Lesbian Feminist Collective Circa 1972 has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior."
A plaque was posted on the brick exterior of the building formerly home to the Furies Collective. Photo by Bailey DeSimone.

The National Historic Preservation Act (80 Stat. 915) of 1966 was passed just five years before the Furies occupied the space. The collective published the monthly newspaper, The Furies, the first issue of which can be read here.

Color photograph of a brick rowhouse, formerly the home of the Furies collective, taken from the bottom of the front stairs and looking up. The sky is clear and blue, and the sun is bright, lighting up the plants and shrubs in the front yard. Pumpkins decorate the exterior porch for Halloween. There are two windows and a door on the front level, and three windows on the second level, with a flat roof.
This brick rowhouse was formerly home to the Furies collective. Photo by Bailey DeSimone.

State (or city) historic preservation offices make the final decisions regarding placing a building on the historic register. According to the DC Historic Preservation Office, this property “contributed significantly to the culture and development of the District of Columbia and the nation, specifically for its role as the headquarters of the Furies Collective and The Furies newspaper…[It] was its principal headquarters, classroom, meeting place and residence for the greatest length of time and the place most associated with the publication of The Furies newspaper and the production of the lesbian-feminist issue of the magazine motive.”

Further information about historic places, parks, and monuments can be found in Title 16 of the U.S. Code. To explore more digital LGBTQ+ history, visit the Library’s LGBTQ+ Web Archive.

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