Indianapolis: LGBT+ History

Tour curated by: Alyssa Boge, Braden Catt, Carolyn Harris, Meghan Hillman, Callie McCune, Adrienne Nirde, Stephanie Schulze, Laura Weiss, Jordan Ryan; Jeannie Regan-Dinius and Rebecca Shrum

The narrative of Indianapolis' LGBT+ community is just beginning to be told in the mainstream. Long hidden behind closed doors, LGBT+ people have become increasingly visible in recent decades. The history of this community is the story of the struggle for civil rights and full inclusion in the fabric of our nation, of families and businesses, of churches and bars, and, ultimately, one of conflict and celebration. There are—and have been—many historically significant LGBT+ spaces, buildings, and establishments in Indianapolis. This tour will introduce you to a few of them.

This LGBT+ History in Indianapolis tour represents only a small first step in telling this story. In 2014, Indiana Landmarks initiated a survey of historic places in Indianapolis connected with LGBT+ history. Also in 2014, the Indiana Historical Society began an initiative to collect and make accessible archival materials of Indiana's LGBT+ community. The first phase of this project is the Indianapolis and Central Indiana LGBT Oral History Project. If you know of anyone who should be interviewed or of materials that should be made available, please email emundell@indianahistory.org.

Throughout this tour, the addition of the plus sign (+) after LGBT signifies all groups associated with the LGBT community.

Discover Indiana gratefully acknowledges the financial support of Indiana Landmarks in the production of this tour.

Locations for Tour

The two-story brick building, located at 26 North Arsenal Avenue, is the current location of the Damien Center, which has provided HIV/AIDS health and counseling services to Hoosiers, gay and straight, since 1987. Here in this century-old building,…

The Founding of JusticeJustice Inc. was founded in Indianapolis in 1980. Initially without a headquarters, the first several leaders of the organization lived on the near eastside of Indianapolis. The founding of Justice Inc. was a pivotal moment for…

The Christian RightIn the late 1970s, conservative political voices began to push against what they saw as an unraveling of America’s moral fiber, arising from liberal political gains in the 1960s. Eventually, this conservative push grew into the…

HistoryBetween the mid-1970s and late 1980s, the Herron-Morton Neighborhood located between Talbott Street and 22nd Street, was a center of the LGBT+ community in Indianapolis. The Herron-Morton neighborhood takes its name from the John Herron School…

Located at 231 E. 16th Street, Gregs is one of the most popular gay bars in Indianapolis and is a frequent stage for drag performances. Indianapolis has had roughly fifty gay bars in the last few decades, according to new information gathered by…

You’re standing at the corner of Vermont Street and Pennsylvania Street, where the Circle City Pride Parade has marched by every summer since 2002. The parade is a celebration of the Indianapolis LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender)…