In recent years, preservation agencies at the federal, state, and locals levels have advanced more inclusive approaches to historic preservation by commissioning theme studies, surveys, and nominations to registers of historic places that address previously neglected aspects of US heritage. Much of the work done under the broad umbrella of inclusive histories has been focused on communities defined by a single aspect of identity. This essay raises questions about the effectiveness of single-community studies in addressing previously overlooked aspects of history at the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, and more. We encourage preservation professionals to take seriously the concept of intersectionality, which acknowledges the multivalent quality of lived experience, addresses the complexity of identity, and recognizes the multiplicity of communities with a stake in the preservation and interpretation of any given historic property. This essay argues for the strategic importance of learning from recent studies of LGBTQ resources to refine intersectional approaches to preservation planning, while identifying hidden barriers to inclusion and cultural equity in programs and projects that use a single lens to identify cultural resources associated with underrepresented groups.

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