Minnesota is home to a rich LGBTQ history.
MNHS welcomes and serves all people of Minnesota. We are committed to working toward reflecting the diversity of the state, including preserving and sharing the stories of LGBTQ communities in Minnesota.
Some of these stories include:
- In 1971 Jack Baker and Michael McConnell applied for a marriage license in Hennepin County but were denied;
- in 2013 same-sex marriage was made legal in the state.
- The Minnesota Men of Color non-profit was organized in 1998 to advocate for people whom the majority-white LGBT groups had overlooked.
- Alan Spear was the first openly-gay state legislator in the country and served in the state Senate for nearly three decades advocating for issues of civil/LGBT rights and criminal justice reform.
- Joseph Israel Lobdell (born Lucy Ann Lobdell) sought refuge in Minnesota Territory and was brought to trial in 1858 for "impersonating a man" in a farming community near Litchfield.
These diverse stories only scratch the surface of LGBTQ history in our state.
Over the years, MNHS has collaborated with the community to document these remarkable stories by collecting oral histories, images, and artifacts on LGBTQ experiences. Donate to the MNHS collections.
MNopedia Articles and MNHS Press Books
The online encyclopedia MNopedia includes free articles that document the experiences of LGBTQ people in Minnesota. MNHS Press publishes outstanding books for sale on the history, art, and culture of the Upper Midwest.
Article: Minnesota Men of Color
Article: Baker v. Nelson
Article: Minnesota Amendment 1
Article: Spear, Allan Henry (1937–2008)
Article: Execution of William Williams, 1906
Article: Haupers, Clement (1900–1982)
Book: Precious & Adored
Book: Queer Voices
History is Now!
A collection of digital photographs of same-sex weddings held in Minnesota during the month of August 2013 resulting from the marriage equality bill.
Oral History Projects
Audio, video, and transcripts of interviews with members of LGBTQ communities.
The Minnesota History Center’s Gale Family Library is free and open to the public. Visit the library to see resources about the history of the LGBTQ communities in Minnesota.