What it Took to Create the World’s First Gay Art Museum

Queer Threads Exhibit

tom of finland stampIn the 21st Century, as society becomes more aware, individuals are able to express sexuality outside of monogamous heterosexuality in ways that would not have been safe before.  With the June 26 Supreme Court decision on Obergefell v. Hodges, same sex couples may now legally marry any adult, anywhere in the United States. Perfection is yet to come, but according to Smithsonian magazine, Soho has been a center of gay art for decades.

Smithsonian tells us that the Leslie Lohman Gallery on Broome Street, in Soho, opened in 1972. Charles Leslie and his partner, Fritz Lohman, introduced the United States to such now-famous artists as Tom of Finland. Although Lohman died in 2010 and Leslie no longer leads the museum, it continues today as a leader in gay art. The “Queer Threads” exhibition, which ran in early 2014, examined the diversity of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer experiences.

“When asked why he made this his life’s work, an answer comes quick to Leslie’s lips. ‘This is a part of human history that has been relentlessly destroyed, subdued and hidden,’ he says. ‘Finally, the time has come to save it.'”

Smithsonian: What it Took to Create the World’s First Gay Art Museum.



  1. Yes, but the museum in the article has existed since 1972. I’d love to learn more about the Schwules Museum though!

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