LGBTQ History Walking Tour guides people through Roanoke's gay scene

Tour offered once a month

ROANOKE, Va. - People got a chance to step through Roanoke's LGBTQ history on Sunday with a walking tour. 

During the tour, participants visited about 13 stops around downtown, including Southwest Virginia's first gay bar and places associated with the gay liberation movement. 

The tour is part of a larger initiative called the "Southwest Virginia LGBTQ Plus History Project".  Organizers are creating an archive of materials including old gay newspapers and recorded interviews with elder gay community members. 

The project is meant to highlight the gay experience in Roanoke from the late 19th century until the 1970's. 

"The awesome thing about the walking tour is that we retrace what it was like to be gay in the 30, 40, 50 years ago, and see that there were really only a few places that you could feel safe.  That world has changed which is good thing, but when it changes it means we forget the history," said Dr. Gregory Rosenthal, founder of the Southwest Virginia LGBTQ Plus History Project. 
 
Organizers plan on launching another walking tour in September to focus on gay history in Old Southwest. 
 
 

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