LGBTQIA + Communities in Minnesota.

Minnesota is home to a rich LGBTQIA+ 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 LGBTQIA+ 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 LGBTQIA+ 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 LGBTQIA+ experiences. Donate to the MNHS collections.

MNopedia articles, Minnesota History Magazine articles, and MNHS press books

Both the online encyclopedia MNopedia and the Minnesota History Magazine include free articles that document the experiences of LGBTQIA+ people in Minnesota. These themes can also be found in some MNHS Press books. MNHS Press publishes outstanding books for sale on the history, art, and culture of the Upper Midwest.

YouTube playlist

Twin Cities LGBTQ+ History Tours with Twin Cities Pride

The Twin Cities LGBTQ+ History Tours are an ongoing collaboration between Twin Cities Pride and the Minnesota Historical Society.

The tours comprise fifty-eight sites across the Twin Cities (thirty- eight in Minneapolis, including Loring Park, and twenty in St. Paul). The sites can be explored from anywhere, via tablet, desktop computer, or smartphone. Users can enable location services on their smart devices to understand their current location in proximity to any given site listed on the map. Users can explore beyond the maps by following the external links to MNopedia, online essays, and newspaper articles. TC Pride and MNHS welcome suggestions for future sites and have included a suggestion form with the maps for community members to make their voices heard.

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.

View Finding Aid

Oral history projects

Audio, video, and transcripts of interviews with members of LGBTQIA+ communities.

Library resources

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 LGBTQIA+ communities in Minnesota.


Collections from organizations and individuals that reflect the history of LGBTQIA+ people in Minnesota.

We collect and share artifacts, photographs, and publications that tell the story of the LGBTQIA+ communities in Minnesota. Donate an item to the MNHS collections.