Tag Archives: 1970

May 4, 1970: Revisiting The Kent State Massacre.

May 4, 1970: Revisiting The Kent State Massacre.

While many were posting “May the Forth” and Star War memes yesterday the memory of the most shocking and brutal school shooting that have ever happened in America at Kent State University was overlooked.

The Kent State massacre is a tragic event in American history that occurred on May 4, 1970, at Kent State University in Ohio. The incident involved the shooting of unarmed college students by the Ohio National Guard during a protest against the Vietnam War. The tragedy resulted in the deaths of four students and the injury of nine others, with a lasting impact on American society and politics.

The protest at Kent State was part of a larger movement against the Vietnam War, which had escalated in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Students across the country were mobilizing against the war, which they saw as unjust and immoral. The protest at Kent State began on May 1, with a series of peaceful demonstrations and rallies on campus. However, tensions rose on May 2, when the Ohio National Guard was called in to disperse the crowd.

On May 4, a group of about 2,000 students gathered on the Kent State campus to protest the presence of the National Guard. The atmosphere was tense, with some students throwing rocks and other objects at the guardsmen. The National Guard responded by firing tear gas canisters and ordering the students to disperse. However, some students refused to leave, and a small group even taunted the guardsmen.

At around noon, the National Guard opened fire on the students, without warning. The guardsmen fired a total of 67 rounds in 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others. The victims were Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer, and William Schroeder. Two of the students who were killed were not even participating in the protest, but were walking to class.

The Kent State massacre had a profound impact on American society and politics. The incident sparked a wave of protests and demonstrations across the country, as well as international condemnation. It also led to a nationwide student strike, with over 4 million students participating. The massacre became a symbol of government oppression and the dangers of militarism, and it contributed to the growing disillusionment with the Vietnam War.

In addition, the Kent State massacre had legal and political consequences. The victims’ families filed a lawsuit against the National Guard and the state of Ohio, and in 1979, the government agreed to pay a settlement of $675,000. The incident also led to changes in the way that the National Guard was used to control civil disturbances, with new guidelines issued to ensure that deadly force was only used as a last resort.

The Kent State massacre was a tragic event that had a profound impact on American society and politics. The shooting of unarmed college students by the National Guard was a shocking and brutal act, and it contributed to the growing opposition to the Vietnam War. The legacy of the massacre continues to be felt today, as a reminder of the dangers of government overreach and the importance of protecting the rights of citizens to protest and dissent.

Gay History - April 13, 1970: The Gay Activists Alliance Protests Mayor John Lindsey at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Gay History – April 13, 1970: The Gay Activists Alliance Protests Mayor John Lindsey at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

We’ve seem to have forgotten that our power lies in protest!

On April 13, 1970, a group of approximately 300 gay rights activists gathered outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City to protest an event being hosted by Mayor John Lindsay. The event was a fundraiser for the Cultural Council Foundation, an organization that supported cultural programs in the city.

The protesters, who were members of the newly formed Gay Activists Alliance (GAA), were there to draw attention to the discrimination and violence that the gay community faced in the city. They were also calling for an end to police harassment and the repeal of discriminatory laws, such as those that criminalized homosexual behavior.

The GAA had organized the protest in response to Lindsay’s decision to veto a bill that would have prohibited discrimination against gay people in employment, housing, and public accommodations. The bill, which had been passed by the New York City Council, was seen as a major step forward for gay rights, but Lindsay had vetoed it on the grounds that it would be difficult to enforce and would create more problems than it solved.

The protesters, who had gathered in front of the museum, were met by a large contingent of police officers who were there to maintain order. Despite the police presence, the protest was largely peaceful, with demonstrators holding signs and chanting slogans like “Gay is Good” and “Equal Rights Now”.

At one point, tensions escalated when a group of protesters tried to enter the museum to confront Lindsay directly. The police intervened, using force to prevent the protesters from entering the building. Several people were injured in the ensuing scuffle, and dozens were arrested.

The protest, while barely remembered today had a significant impact on the gay rights movement. It brought national attention to the issues facing the community and helped to galvanize support for the fight for equal rights. It also highlighted the growing militancy of the gay rights movement and the increasing willingness of activists to confront those in power directly.

The protest did have an impact on Lindsay. Although he remained opposed to the anti-discrimination bill, he later acknowledged that the protest had made him more aware of the issues facing the gay community and had prompted him to take a more active role in advocating for their rights.

In 1972, in response to the unrelenting pressure, Lindsay at last signed an executive order prohibiting city agencies from discriminating against job candidates based on sexual orientation.

Today, the protest serves as a reminder of the struggle that LGBT people have faced to gain equal rights and the importance of activism in achieving social change. Something that is sorely missed in today’s LGBTQIA+ community.

*Photo above – GAA member Marty Robinson detained by police at the MMA April 13, 1970

READ: Carl Wittman's "Refugees from Amerika: A Gay Manifesto" (1970)

READ: Carl Wittman’s “Refugees from Amerika: A Gay Manifesto” (1970)

In 1969, Peace and Gay activist Carl Wittman wrote Refugees from Amerika: A Gay Manifesto published by The Red Butterfly cell of the Gay Liberation Front January 1970.[ It is considered one of the most influential gay liberation writings of the 1970s.

The document stemmed from a particular social and cultural background where aspirations toward equality and justice were constantly clashing with discrimination, marginalization, and harassment. This paper focuses on the historical context, through analyzing the coeval American society, highlighting the leading role played by the city of San Francisco and commenting on some of the key events that marked that epoch.

Wittmann offers a sharp criticism of the patriarchal and intrinsically intolerant society. He describes the oppression and the condition in the ghetto where they live, where mafia and corrupted law enforcement exploit gays and lesbians (Wittmann, 1970). The author discloses concepts about homosexuality, analyses the conditions of women, and opens new perspectives on how to live sexuality. Perhaps, the most significant contribution to the history of the LGBT movement is the invitation to come out and stop pretending to be straight sexually and socially 

“Exclusive heterosexuality is fucked up. It reflects a fear of people of the same sex, it’s anti-homosexual, and it is fraught with frustration. Heterosexual sex is fucked up too; ask women’s liberation about what straight guys are like in bed. Sex is aggression for the male chauvinist; sex is obligation for the traditional woman.” — Amerika: A Gay Manifesto

Wittmann’s Manifesto is an iconic text within the movement for LGBT liberation. The document, published in the heyday of the gay activism of the 1960s and 1970s, offers a 360° perspective on the homosexual world.

You can read the entire 10 page “Refugees from Amerika: A Gay Maifesto” by CLICKING HERE.



For the past 15years Back2Stonewall has brought independent news, LGBT History, and media from across the globe. We have paid for all hosting, research and postings all those years and no one draws a salary. But now dur to severe medical issues I have suffered and overwhelming medical bills we are very close to closing. If you can afford to DONATE ANY AMOUNT to keep us going , please do. It means hundreds of thousands will be able to access the only Library of Congress indexed LGBT History & Independent News website and we would greatly appreciate it.

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Remembering Raquel Welch - WATCH: "Myra Breckenridge" (1970) - FULL MOVIE

Remembering Raquel Welch – WATCH: “Myra Breckenridge” (1970) – FULL MOVIE

Raquel Welch was never afraid to take a part and was an ally to the LGBT community which led her in part to make Myra Breckenridge.

Like the novel written by the very very gay Gore Vidal, the picture follows the exploits of Myra Breckinridge (née Myron), a transgender woman who has undergone a sex change operation. Claiming to be her own widow, she manipulates her uncle into giving her a position at his acting school, where she attempts to usurp Hollywood’s social order by introducing femdom into the curriculum.

Controversial in it’s day and dubbed “One of the worst movies ever made.” todays its more camp and fun and includes other famous actors including  John Huston as Buck Loner, Mae West as Leticia Van Allen, Farrah Fawcett, Rex Reed, Roger Herren,  Roger C. Carmel. and Tom Selleck made his film debut in a small role as one of Leticia’s “studs.”

Sit back, relax and Enjoy Myra Breckinridge brought to you by Back2Stonewall.com

*Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, education and research

#PRIDE2022 - Learn All About The First Christopher Street Liberation Day (PRIDE) March - RARE VIDEO

#PRIDE2022 – Learn All About The First Christopher Street Liberation Day (PRIDE) March – RARE VIDEO

On November 2, 1969, just 4 months after the Stonewall riots Craig Rodwell, his partner Fred Sargeant, Ellen Broidy, and Linda Rhodes of the newly formed Gay Liberation Front proposed the first “gay pride parade” which was then called the “CHRISTOPHER STREET LIBERATION DAY MARCH.” to be held in New York City by way of a public resolution at the Eastern Regional Conference of Homophile Organizations (ERCHO) which meeting in Philadelphia..

Using Philadelphia’s smaller Annual Reminder protest which happened every year on the Fourth of July in front of Freedom Hall Rodwell, Sargeant,  Broidy, and Rhodes proposed the following to ECHO:

We propose that a demonstration be held annually on the last Saturday in June in New York City to commemorate the 1969 spontaneous demonstrations on Christopher Street and this demonstration be called CHRISTOPHER STREET LIBERATION DAY. No dress or age regulations shall be made for this demonstration.

We also propose that we contact Homophile organizations throughout the country and suggest that they hold parallel demonstrations on that day. We propose a nationwide show of support.

All at the meeting in voted in favor of the march except for Mattachine Society of New York City, which abstained.(HYMN).

Meetings to organize the march began in early January at Rodwell’s apartment in 350 Bleeker Street not far from the site of the Stonewall bar.  At first there was major difficulty getting some of New York organizations like Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) to send representatives. In the end Rodwell , Sargeant, and Broidy, along with Michael BrownMarty Nixon, Brenda Howard of the the Gay Liberation Front and Foster Gunnison of the Mattachine Society made up the core group

For funding Gunnison sought donations from the national homophile organizations and sponsors, while Rodwell and Sargeant solicited donations via the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop customer mailing list. Nixon worked to gain financial support from GLF in his position as treasurer for that organization.  Believing that more people would turn out for the march on a Sunday they  scheduled the date for Sunday, June 28, 1970, the 1st. anniversary of the Stonewall riots.

The parade route covered 51 blocks from Christopher Street to Central Park ending in a “Gay-In” in Sheep’s Meadow.

On the same weekend gay activist groups on the West Coast held a march in Los Angeles on June 28, 1970 and a march and ‘Gay-in’ in San Francisco.

In Los Angeles, Morris Kight (Gay Liberation Front LA founder), Reverend Troy Perry (Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches founder) and Reverend Bob Humphries (United States Mission founder) gathered to plan a commemoration. They settled on a parade down Hollywood Boulevard. But securing a permit from the city was no easy task. They named their organization Christopher Street West.”   But they had more difficulty with Los Angeles than New York City.  Rev. Perry recalled the Los Angeles Police Chief Edward M. Davis telling him, “As far as I’m concerned, granting a permit to a group of homosexuals to parade down Hollywood Boulevard would be the same as giving a permit to a group of thieves and robbers.” Grudgingly, the Police Commission granted the permit, though there were fees exceeding $1.5 million. After the American Civil Liberties Union stepped in, the commission dropped all its requirements but a $1,500 fee for police service. That, too, was dismissed when the California Superior Court ordered the police to provide protection as they would for any other group. The eleventh hour California Supreme Court decision ordered the police commissioner to issue a parade permit citing the “constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression.” From the beginning, L.A. parade organizers and participants knew there were risks of violence. Kight received death threats right up to the morning of the parade. Unlike what we see today, the first gay parade was very quiet. The marchers convened on McCadden Place in Hollywood, marched north and turned east onto Hollywood Boulevard. The Advocate reported “Over 1,000 homosexuals and their friends staged, not just a protest march, but a full blown parade down world-famous Hollywood Boulevard.”

The first marches were both serious protests and fun, they served to inspire the widening activist movement. The marches were repeated in the following years, and more and more pride marches started up in other cities throughout the world. In Atlanta and New York City the marches were called Gay Liberation Marches, and the day of celebration was called “Gay Liberation Day”; in Los Angeles and San Francisco they became known as ‘Gay Freedom Marches’ and the day was called “Gay Freedom Day”. As more cities and even smaller towns began holding their own celebrations, these names spread and evolved.

In the 1980’s there was a cultural shift in the gay movement. Activists of a less radical nature took over, mostly due to the advent of big organizations like the HRC and  also because of the AIDS crisis which took the lives of so many of the original activist.  At this point many groups started dropping the original “Gay Liberation” and “Gay Freedom” from the names, replacing them with “Gay Pride”.

Watch the rare video below of the first Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade which took place on June 28, 1970.  




READ: The First 4 Issues of the Gay Liberation Front's Magazine "Come Out" - 1969/1970

Gay History – READ: The First 4 Issues of the Gay Liberation Front’s Magazine “Come Out” – 1969/1970

Come Out! was the first periodical published by the gay and lesbian community after the Stonewall riots in June, 1969. The Gay Liberation Front, one of the first militant activist gay rights organizations birthed by the riots, published Come Out! from their base in New York City.

For those familiar with the gay rights movement, Stonewall is probably the most oft-told and inaccurately told story. Come Out! has some great accounts of what happened during and after.

Below are links to the first 4 issues of Come Out! so you can take a glance at out past and try to understand what our history is all about.

True to many activist groups, the GLF had a manifesto:

“Gay Liberation Front is a coalition of radical and revolutionary homosexual men and women committed to fight the oppression of the homosexual as a minority group, and to demand the right to the self-determination of our own bodies.” 

Come Out – Volume 1 – Issue 3.pdf
The Front’s manifesto reflects the paradigm change within the gay rights movement, calling on gays and lesbians to take a more active and visible approach to the struggle for equal rights. The imperative title is the publication’s main goal, and the main goal of the GLF – to get gay men and women to come out, to make themselves visible. Come Out! aligns itself politically and critically with the feminist/women’s/lesbian movements occurring contemporaneously, moving away from specifically male- and female- oriented gay serials that preceded it 

Featured in this issue of Come Out! are firsthand accounts and photographs of marches and rallies that capture the spirit of the movement at this pivotal point in its history, interviews with prominent members of the community, articles related to other international struggles (human rights issues in Cuba, for instance), and even poems.