Tag Archives: LGBT History

Gay History - August 14, 1961: Police Raid The Tay-Bush Inn in S.F. The Largest Gay Bar Raid in S.F. History

Gay History – August 14, 1961: Police Raid The Tay-Bush Inn in S.F. The Largest Gay Bar Raid in S.F. History

In 1954 when the California state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, joined by police and the Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board, declared war on gay bars in San Francisco. Mayor George Christopher, elected on a law-and-order platform in 1955, encouraged the campaign. Gay bars were subjected to constant harassment , raids and surveillance.

The campaign was still active early Sept. 14, 1961, when 242 patrons – nearly all of them men – were packed into the Tay-Bush Inn.

At 3:15 am, three undercover police officers in the bar gave a prearranged signal, the jukebox went silent, a loudspeaker outside blared and uniformed cops barged in. They began herding the patrons onto the sidewalk and arresting them.

It was the largest gay bar raid in San Francisco history.  In the end 103 patrons were sent in seven patrol wagons to city jail and arrested on ‘lewd behavior’ charges.  The arrested included actors, actresses, dancers, a state hospital psychologist, a bank manager, an artist and an Air Force purchasing agent.  An article was published in San Francisco Examiner which gave the names, addresses, occupations and employers of the arrested.

The headline on The Chronicle’s story the next day read, “Big Sex Raid – Cops Arrest 103.” The secondary headline said, “139 Get Away.” (Police later insisted only five or so had escaped.)

 In the end charges against all but two of those arrested were dropped. 

Gay History - July 20: The Mattachine Society's "Mission and Purposes, Cruising in Paris, Gerry Studds, and the Murder of John O'Connell

Gay History – July 20: The Mattachine Society’s “Mission and Purposes”, Cruising in Paris, Gerry Studds, and the Murder of John O’Connell

1845: In Paris, a mob attacks a group of about 50 men arrested by police in a sweep of the Tuileries Gardens, a popular cruising area.

The Archives de la Bastille contain hundreds of reports of conversations between “sodomites” and police decoys in public spaces such as the Luxembourg and Tuileries gardens. The reports include many of the same comments and gestures, as well as numerous variants in their opening lines. Thus, for example: Charles Gentil accosted a man listening to music emanating from the Tuileries palace by noting that “there are some fine instruments in this ensemble” and adding that “there are others that do not make so much noise but give more pleasure” (from the Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal, Archives de la Bastille, November 1, 1728). He explained by exposing himself, as countless others did without the clever verbal prelude. Many “sodomites” discussed their endowments or endurance, preferences and adventures, all in order to impress and entice the object of their desires. Some declared that they had never liked women (sometimes in misogynistic terminology) and always liked men—which begins to sound like an assertion of personal sexual identity.

1951: The “Missions and Purposes” of the Mattachine Society are ratified under California corporation law.

The Society, founded upon the highest ethical and social principles, serves as an example for homosexuals to follow and provides a dignified standard upon which the rest of society can base a more intelligent and accurate picture of the nature of homosexuality than currently obtains in the public mind. The Society provides the instrument necessary to work with civic-minded and socially valuable organizations and supplies the means for the assistance of our people who are victimized daily as a result of our oppression. Only a Society, providing an enlightened leadership, can rouse the homosexuals — one of the largest minorities in America today — to take the actions necessary to elevate themselves from the social ostracism an unsympathetic culture has perpetrated upon them.

1983: The House votes 420 to 3 to censure Representatives Gerry E. Studds (D-Mass.) and Daniel B. Crane (R-Ill.) for sexual misconduct with House pages. Studds later reads reporters a statement saying that the censure was not warranted: his affair with the page was private and mutually voluntary. He adds that he hopes “to emerge from the present situation a wiser, a more tolerant and a more complete human being.” The censure strips Studds of his chairmanship of the Coast Guard and Navigation Subcommittee.   “We are here to repair the integrity of the United States House of Representatives,” proclaims Newt Gingrich (R-Georgia).

After retiring from Congress in 1997, Studds worked as a lobbyist for the fishing industry.

Studds and partner Dean T. Hara (his companion since 1991) were married in Boston on May 24, 2004, one week after Massachusetts became the first state in the country to legalize same-sex marriage.

Gerry Studds died on October 14, 2006, in Boston, at age 69, several days after suffering a pulmonary embolism. Due to the federal ban on same-sex marriage, Hara was not eligible, upon Studds’ death, to receive the pension provided to surviving spouses of former members of Congress.. Hara later joined a federal lawsuit, Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, that successfully challenged the constitutionality of section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act.

1981: Despite having privately acknowledged her “bisexuality” to officials from the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Czechoslovakian- born tennis champion Martina Navratilova is finally
granted U.S. citizenship, six years after she defected.

1984: Forty-year-old gay San Franciscan John O’Connell is murdered, and another man injured, when five men, all in their late teens or early twenties, drive into the city from nearby Vallejo looking to “beat up some fags.”  The murderers are all released in 1990, after only serving four years of their 15-year-to-life terms.

Via UPI:

A 9 p.m. in the Polk Street district, a favorite area of homosexuals, two men walking along the street were accosted by four of the Vallejo group, one of them shouting anti-homosexual epithets.

John O’Connell, 42, suffered two blows and fell to the pavement. The medical evidence was that it was the fall, not the blows, that produced the cerebral trauma that caused death. 

The defendants left the scene laughing.

2005: Bill C-38 receives Royal Assent, legalizing same-sex marriage in Canada nationwide. The first same-sex couple to receive a marriage license under the new law is a couple from Alberta.

Travel firm ranks Canada as top destination for LGBTI honeymoons

1975 - California decriminalizes same-sex acts between consenting adults. Assembly member Willie Brown  and state Senator George Moscone (who will later in his career be assassinated along with LGBT civil rights great Harvey Milk in San Francisco)  co-sponsor AB 489, the “Consenting Adults Bill,” which decriminalizes sexual activity between consenting adults.

Gay History – May 12, 1975: California Legalizes Same-Sex Acts Between Consenting Adults, But Not Sodomy

1975 – California decriminalizes same-sex acts between consenting adults. Assembly member Willie Brown  and state Senator George Moscone (who will later in his career be assassinated along with LGBT civil rights great Harvey Milk in San Francisco)  co-sponsor AB 489, the “Consenting Adults Bill,” which decriminalizes sexual activity between consenting adults.  Governor Jerry Brown signs the bill into law on May 12, 1975, and it goes into effect January 1, 1976.

Interestingly though prior to 2003, SODOMY was not legal in California. And could not be made so while it was illegal on the Federal level. The monumental Supreme Court case, Lawrence v Texas, ruled that systematically criminalizing sodomy is unconstitutional. The case serves as a precedent, and most U.S. states responded by decriminalizing gay sex.

In 2014, California became the first state in the U.S. to officially ban the use of gay panic and transgender panic defenses in murder trials.[ Public schools are also required to teach about the history of the LGBT community and transgender students are allowed to choose the appropriate restroom or sports team that match their gender identity.

California is seen as one of the most liberal states in the U.S. in regard to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights, which have received nationwide recognition since the 1970’s

Gay History - April 8: The APA Removes Homosexuality As "Sickness" and Remembering Ryan White.

Gay History – April 8: The APA Removes Homosexuality As “Sickness” and Remembering Ryan White.

April 8, 1974 – The American Psychiatric Association remove its “sickness” definition of homosexuality and outrages homophobic bigots across America. 

Until then homosexuality was seen as a mental disorder and those “afflicted” could be confined to a mental institutions, undergo crude conversion therapy techniques, castration, and the possibility of being lobotomized.

“We object to the sickness theory of homosexuality tenaciously held with utter disregard for the disastrous consequences of this theory to the homosexual, based as it is on poor science,” wrote Frank Kameny in a letter to the editor of Psychiatric News published in the July 7, 1971

One of the most memorable moments in APA history came when the 1972 Annual Meeting in Dallas included a certain “Dr. H. Anonymous,” his face hidden behind a rubber Halloween mask, in the session “Psychiatry: Friend or Foe to the Homosexual? A Dialogue.”

“I am a homosexual. I am a psychiatrist. My greatest loss is my honest humanity,” he said. “How incredible that we homosexual psychiatrists cannot be honest in a profession that calls itself compassionate and helping.”

April 8, 1990 – Ryan White at age 18 dies of AIDS after a five-year battle with the disease.  Ryan became the national poster child for HIV/AIDS in the United States, after being expelled from middle school in Kokomo Indiana because of his infection. As a hemophiliac, he became infected with HIV from a contaminated blood treatment and, when diagnosed in December 1984, was given six months to live. Doctors said he posed no risk to other students, but AIDS was poorly understood at the time, and when White tried to return to school, many parents and teachers in Kokomo rallied against his attendance. A lengthy legal battle with the school system ensued, and media coverage of the case made White into a national celebrity and spokesman for AIDS research and public education. Surprising his doctors, Ryan lived five years longer than predicted but died in April 1990, one month before his high school graduation the discrimination it brought upon him and his family. – Watch Ryan’s story in the short documentary below.

Gay History - January 31, 1989: AIDS Protestors Shut Down The Golden Gate Bridge

Gay History – January 31, 1989: AIDS Protestors Shut Down The Golden Gate Bridge

On January 31, 1989 a group of about 80 to 100 courageous demonstrators shut down the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco at the height of rush hour to demand faster government action in stopping the spread of AIDS.

The CDC’s reported a cumulative total of 117,781 cases since AIDS reporting began in 1981. 

Below is the original AP wire service article about the protest:

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*January 31, 1989: From Los Angeles Times wire services

SAN FRANCISCO — A group of about 80 demonstrators shut down the Golden Gate Bridge at the height of rush hour this morning to demand faster government action in stopping the spread of AIDS.

The bridge remained closed for about half an hour until police arrived and made 20 to 30 arrests, authorities reported. The group, which called itself “Stop AIDS Now Or Else,” spread a banner across the width of the heavily traveled span and handed out leaflets to blocked motorists. Bridge Officer Lou Garcia said the demonstrators started blocking lanes about 7:30 a.m. and quickly succeeded in stopping traffic in both directions. The closure snarled traffic heading into San Francisco from Marin County on U.S. 101. Frustrated motorists shut off their engines and got out of their cars in an effort to see what was going on.

A spokeswoman for the group said they chose the bridge for the protest because it would be ″the most disruptive to people.″

″AIDS is disrupting our lives and until people’s lives are disrupted, they don’t pay attention,″ said Darla Rucker, spokeswoman for the group of AIDS victims and friends of AIDS patients.

″We don’t have the time to wait. My friends are dying all around me.″

The demonstrators closed all the traffic lanes by spreading a banner that read: ″AIDS Genocide; Silence Death; Fight Back,″ according to Highway Patrol officers, who called for police vans to cart off those arrested.

Some motorists stuck along U.S. 101 north and south of the bridge expressed anger at the demonstration and traffic tie-up.

Ruth Wheeler, of Larkspur, said she veered off the highway in Marin County, parked at a Safeway store and queued up with some 20 people to use five public telephones.

″People at Safeway were very upset. They said it was going to defeat their (the protesters’) cause,″ said Wheeler, who finally arrived at her destination about 9:30 a.m. ″The people said, ’Hey, if they think I’m going to be for them, doing something like this, forget it.‴

You can read the entire article about the event by clicking HERE

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Gay History - January 13, 1958: Landmark Case One, Inc. v. Olesen, Supreme Court rules in favor of magazine “One: The Homosexual Magazine.”

Gay History – January 13, 1958: Landmark Case One, Inc. v. Olesen, Supreme Court rules in favor of magazine “One: The Homosexual Magazine.”

January 13, 1958: In the landmark case One, Inc. v. Olesen, the United States Supreme Court rules in favor of the First Amendment rights of the gay community magazine “One: The Homosexual Magazine.”

In the original case  One, Inc. v. Olesen, 241 F.2d 772 (9th Cir. 1957), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a magazine published for a homosexual audience was obscene and was therefore not constitutionally protected under the First Amendment . The case arose when the postmaster of the city of Los Angeles, Otto K. Olesen, ordered federal postal authorities to seize One informing the publisher that he considered it “obscene, lewd, lascivious and filthy” and “non-mailable” under federal law

On appeal, the Ninth Circuit emphasized that it would base its ruling on the effect of the words on the reader, insisting that it was not “its brothers’ keeper as to the type of reading to be indulged in.” However, in announcing the opinion for the circuit court, Judge John Rolly Ross noted that although the magazine stated its aim was to provide educational and informative material, it “has a primary purpose of exciting lust, lewd and lascivious thoughts and sensual desires in the minds of the persons reading it.”

The judge described one of the articles, as “cheap pornography.” and added that he believed homosexuality could only be discussed from a “scientific, historical and critical point of view.”  found the magazine as a whole “obscene and filthy” and upheld the lower court’s ruling that the postmaster was justified.

On January 13, 1958, the Supreme Court accepted the case and, without hearing oral argument, issued a terse per curiam decision reversing the Ninth Circuit. The decision, citing its June 24, 1957, landmark decision in Roth v. United States 354 U.S. 476 (1957), read in its entirety:

On the same day, the court issued a similar per curiam decision also citing Roth in Sunshine Book Co. v. Summerfield, which concerned the distribution of two nudist magazines.

One, Inc. v. Olesen was the first U.S. Supreme Court ruling to deal with homosexuality and the first to address free speech rights with respect to homosexuality.