Democrat Rep. Mark Pocan has reintroduced two bills to create a “National Museum of American LGBTQ+ History and Culture” within the Smithsonian in DC.
Pocan, who is gay, originally introduced the pair of bills in September 2022.
“This is a museum, much like we’ve done to recognize African-Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, and most recently, Asian-Americans,” Pocan said in a video posted to X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “As our community faces unprecedented attacks and attempts to erase our history, we must preserve and protect our stories for future generations.”
BREAKING: I’ve just introduced legislation to create a National Museum of American LGBTQI+ History and Culture. As our community faces unprecedented attacks and attempts to erase our history, we must preserve and protect our stories for future generations. pic.twitter.com/xkxdcCXAo0
— Rep. Mark Pocan (@RepMarkPocan) October 27, 2023
“It is vital to remember our collective past — particularly when certain states, and even Members of Congress, seek to constrain and repeal existing rights by passing bills that harm LGBTQI+ youth and our community at large,” Pocan continued. “Let’s tell these stories, the good and the bad, and honor the many contributions the LGBTQI+ community has made to this nation with a museum in Washington, D.C.”
The first bill is to commission a study on the potential creation of the museum. If passed, an eight-member panel will be formed of “individuals with various expertise in museum planning or LGBTQ+ research and culture.”
The commission will be tasked with creating a plan of action for establishing and maintaining the museum, developing a fundraising plan, finding a location, and submitting to Congress a legislative plan of action to establish and construct the museum.
According to Rep. Pocan’s office, the bill would also direct the commission’s recommendations to address whether the museum should be part of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum and research complex. The commission would have 18 months to complete the full study.
Once the commission is done with their work, the second bill would be sent to Congress to approve creation of the museum.
In order for a new Smithsonian Museum to be created, both of these bills must be signed into law. It is unlikely, however, that they will pass through the Republican majority Congress.
The proposed legislation did not receive a floor vote last year.
The bills are co-sponsored by all eight LGBTQ co-chairs of the “Equality Caucus.” This includes Reps. Pocan, Becca Balint, Angie Craig, Sharice Davids, Robert Garcia, Chris Pappas, Eric Sorensen, Mark Takano, and Ritchie Torres — all Democrats.