Learn more about important topics and issues in our community’s history—and meet folks with shared interests—by attending thought-provoking and lively events offered throughout the year.

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Upcoming events


Wednesday, April 17 | 4:15 pm

The White House Sidewalk
Lafayette Square
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, DC

Registration appreciated

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On April 17, 1965, the Mattachine Society of Washington held the nation’s first picket for gay rights. The picket took place on the White House Sidewalk, Lafayette Park, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, on April 17, 1965. For exactly one hour, from 4:20 pm to 5:20 pm, members of the Mattachine Society of Washington walked in a circle, non-stop, in silence, carrying posters of their demands. The White House picket is the origin story for public demonstrations for gay rights in the U.S., and the origin story for Pride Marches and the annual LGBTQ Pride celebrations which occur across the globe.

Frank Kameny, Ph.D., was fired by the U.S. Army Map Service in 1957 for being gay, kicking off his life-long battle for LGBTQ rights. He founded the Washington chapter of the Mattachine Society, an early national gay rights organization. Lilli Vincenz, Ph.D., was the first lesbian to join the Mattachine Society of Washington, shortly after she was expelled from the U.S. Army for being gay. The Mattachine Society’s efforts in the early 1960s led to the 1965 White House picket and countless other pickets and media outreach during the late 1960s.

Led by Dr. Kameny and Dr. Vincenz, picketers demanded action on the Mattachine Society’s four major issues: the exclusion of homosexuals from Federal employment; the punitive policies of the U.S. Military; blanket denial of security clearances to gay people; and, government refusal to meet with the LGBTQ community.

“We ask, Mr. President, for what all American citizens – singly and collectively – have the right to ask,” Kameny wrote in a letter to President Lyndon B. Johnson, outlining their demands, “That our problems be given fair, unbiased consideration… consideration in which we, ourselves, are allowed to participate actively and are invited to do so.”

The Rainbow History Project will reenact the historic 1965 White House picket on its 59th anniversary in honor of its co-organizer, Dr. Lilli Vincenz, who passed away in 2023. The reenactment will educate community members and the media on the demands of gay and lesbian activists from the early gay rights movement. RHP’s volunteers will carry replicas of the original protest signs and hand out literature explaining the picket to passersby and tourists.  The last surviving picketer will carry a replica of his own poster.

Frank Kameny and Lilli Vincenz participated in the Rainbow History Project’s 2008 picket reenactment. Although Dr. Kameny died in 2011, and Dr. Vincenz in 2023, RHP and its all volunteer corps will picket in their honor and demonstrate there is a new generation of young activists ready to take up their signs and their fight for equal rights for all LGBTQ people.

WHAT: Historical reenactment of the first picket for gay rights at the White House.

WHEN: April 17, 2024, 4:15pm-5:15pm ET.

WHERE: The White House Sidewalk; Lafayette Square; 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, DC

WHO: Rainbow History Project board members and volunteers; DC community members; and, Paul Kuntlzer, the last surviving participant of the 1965 picket.

DC Latinx LGBTQ History Tour

Sunday, April 21 | 2:00 pm

1801 Columbia Road NW
Washington, DC 20009

Registration required

DC Latinx LGBTQ History Tour

Sunday, April 21 | 2:00 – 3:30 pm

1801 Columbia Road NW
Washington, DC 20009


Join historian Jose Gutierrez in this educational and inspirational walking tour! Its highlights will include: Salud Inc., one of the first DC Latino HIV/AIDS organizations, El Faro, the first DC Latinx LGBTQ bar, ENLACE, LLEGO, Bar Noa Noa, Restaurant Perry’s, Restaurant El Migueleno, Empodérate Youth Center of La Clinica del Pueblo, Restaurant Haydees, the 1991 DC Latino Riots, LCDP, LAYC, and La Casa de la Cultura. The tour will end at the Columbia Heights metro station.

The Tour Guide

Jose Gutierrez is a co-founder and former Board member of the Rainbow History Project, as well as founder of and the Latino GLBT History Project.

We will present this tour again June 15 during Pride Month, and on September 21 to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month!

Rainbow History Project Volunteer Working Groups for May

Saturday, May 4 | 1:30 pm

MLK Library Room 401-A
901 G Street Northwest Washington, DC 20001

Registration required

Come join Rainbow History’s Volunteer working groups!

On the first Saturday of each month, RHP’s volunteers gather to share LGBTQ history. We exchange status updates, work on our projects, brainstorm future plans, and invite prospective volunteers to get involved. All are welcome!

Team leads will present on their projects and ways to get involved. In 2024, current projects involve:

  • • Gay Pride in DC: 50 Years of Protests and Parties Exhibit (Ongoing)
  • • Places and Spaces social geography (Ongoing)
  • • Archiving & Oral history (Ongoing)


  • • Arrival social/intros (20)
  • • Ongoing project updates (20)
  • • Break (15 min)
  • • Small groups on events work (20-30 min)
  • • Next steps (10 min)

Post Meeting Social Event:

We’ll go wherever people want!

Past events

Learn more about our public panels and programs. Many of our past public panels and programs have been recorded on video and are available for viewing on the RHP YouTube channel.

Walking tours

Get to know historic LGBTQ neighborhoods with guided or self-guided walking tours.

Become a volunteer

Rainbow History Project is an all-volunteer organization and we encourage you to get involved. We always need volunteers to help grow our collection and develop public programs.