Tag Archives: protest

Rare 1969 NYPD Footage of the Gay Liberation Front at Anti-War Demonstration [Video & Text]

August 1969: Newly Formed Gay Liberation Front Holds First Protest at Anti-War Demonstration.

On August 2, 1969, just a little over one month after the Stonewall Riots the newly formed Gay Liberation Front took to the streets of Midtown Manhattan and participated in a rally and march to demand the release of political prisoners and members of the Armed Forces who were being held in military stockades. The focus was on Fort Dix 38 who were 38 prisoners made up of AWOLs, Vietnam war resisters, and conscientious objectors who rose against deplorable and inhumane conditions at the Army Base stockade in New Jersey.

There were three short films that NYPD detectives shot. We have seen these loops and they are silent and last just over nine minutes altogether. The films were digitized by the city’s Department of Records and Information Services, which manages the Municipal Archives.  They were posted on YouTube for some time but have been removed.

While the detectives did not name GLF in their report the font on the banners, including the interlocked female/ female and male/ male graphics that were GLF’s symbol, are readily recognizable.

Allen Young, who was working for the Liberation News Service in August 1969, recognized Dan Smith and Ralph Hall, two GLF members, in the film. 

NYC’s Department of Records and Information Services, which manages the Municipal Archives shared the films with Gay City News, archivists said they knew only that the film was shot on August 2, 1969.

While we still have the still shot posted above that shows the GLF symbol on the protest sign we are attempting to locate the videos once again and when they are found they will be reposted for their historical significance.

Gay History - April 24, 1965: The Protests and Sit-In at Dewey's Restaurant in Philadelphia.

Gay History – April 24, 1965: The Protests and Sit-In at Dewey’s Restaurant in Philadelphia.

The two historic protests and sit-ins at Dewey’s Restaurant in Philadelphia in 1965 was a pivotal moment in the history of the LGBT rights movement in the United States. At a time when discrimination against members of the LGBT community was widespread and often went unchallenged, a group of activists decided to take a stand and demand equal treatment under the law.

The sit-ins were organized by members of the East Coast Homophile Organizations (ECHO) and the Janus Society because of Dewey’s discriminatory denials of service to “homosexuals,” “masculine women,” “feminine men,” and “persons wearing non-conformist clothing.”

The first sit-in of April 25, 1965, a group of about 150 ECHO members gathered at Dewey’s Restaurant, a popular lunch spot in downtown Philadelphia that was known to discriminate against gay customers. Over the next five days, Janus Society activists and their supporters, led by Robert L. Sitko, demonstrated outside the restaurant and distributed 1500 fliers to passersby.

At he second protest on May 2nd, protesters, many of whom were dressed in their Sunday best, entered the restaurant and attempted to order food. When they were told that they would not be served, they sat down and refused to leave. Some of the protesters brought signs and placards that read “We are your sons and daughters” and “We demand our rights.” They sang songs and chanted slogans, drawing attention from passersby and media outlets.

The sit-in lasted for hours, with the protesters refusing to budge even as police officers arrived on the scene. The officers initially attempted to disperse the crowd, but when they realized the size and determination of the group, they decided to let the protesters stay.

The Janus Society focused on four objectives in particular, which they believe were accomplished after the second sit-in on May 2nd: “(1) to bring about an immediate cessation to all indiscriminate denials of service, (2) to prevent additional arrests, (3) to assure the homosexual community that (a) we were concerned with the day-to-day problems and (b) we were prepared to intercede in helping to solve these problems, (4) to create publicity for the organization and our objectives.”

The Dewey Restaurant protest and sit-ins did not come without some criticism from within the LGBT community itself due to the involvement of DRUM magazine., a sexually explicit, gay magazine that was controversial at the time, some in the LGBT community that DRUMS participation and support cast negative light on the Dewey’s sit-ins and provided “ammunition for enemies of the LGBT movement.”

Additionally, the sit-in was notable for its peaceful and nonviolent nature. The protesters did not engage in any acts of violence or destruction, despite being met with hostility and aggression from some members of the public. This helped to dispel the myth that LGBT people were inherently violent or unstable, and demonstrated that they were capable of organizing and protesting peacefully.

Perhaps most importantly, the sit-in at Dewey’s Restaurant helped to change attitudes toward LGBT people in Philadelphia and beyond. Many people who had previously been indifferent or hostile to the LGBT community began to see them as real people with real struggles and concerns. This helped to pave the way for the eventual repeal of discriminatory laws.

Although lesser known than the later, large-scale riots at the Stonewall Inn in 1969, and the preceding the Cooper Do-nuts Riot of 1959, the Dewey’s sit-ins became iconic stepping stones in the fight for LGBT rights. Drum Magazine (of which Clark Polak was the editor) deemed it “the first sit-in of its kind in the history of the United States.”

The Dewey’s Restaurant protests and sit-ins of 1965 was a watershed moment in the history of the LGBT rights movement. The protesters who participated in the sit-in were brave and determined, and their actions helped to raise awareness of the discrimination and inequality faced by LGBT people across the country. The sit-in inspired others to take action, and ultimately helped to change attitudes toward LGBT people and bring about significant progress in the struggle for equal rights.

Gay History - April 21, 1966: NYC Gay Rights Activist Stage "Sip-In" Protesting Over Refusal To Serve Homosexuals.

Gay History – April 21, 1966: NYC Gay Rights Activist Stage “Sip-In” Protesting Over Refusal To Serve Homosexuals.

On this date a little-known but a very important milestone in gay history took place at Julius’ bar on West 10th Street in NYC that helped pave the way for the Stonewall uprising and gay rights. 

On April 21, 1966, The Mattachine Society “staged” the first civil rights “sip-in.”

“At the time, being homosexual was in itself seen as a disorder,” said Dick Leitsch, an original member of the group. It was also “illegal” to serve a homosexual liquor by order of the New York State Liquor Authority.

The Mattachine Society activists invited four newspaper reporters along, including Thomas A. Johnson of The New York Times. The plan was to convene at noon at the Ukrainian-American Village Hall, a bar on St. Marks Place. The Times reporter tipped off the owners, who shut the bar for the day.  A sign in the window made the establishment’s attitude clear: “If you are gay, please stay away.”

So the group of men then moved across the street to The Dom, a club that, by night hosted concerts by the Velvet Underground. It had a sign just as unwelcoming as the one at the Ukrainian Hall. The Dom, too, was closed.

After going to a Howard Johnson’s, at Eighth Street and the Avenue of the Americas which served them. The men then advanced to a Mafia-owned tiki bar, The Waikiki. The  amused manager told them: “How do I know you’re homosexuals? Give these guys a drink on us.”

In desperation, the troupe trudged over to Julius’ on West 10th Street.  It was established in 1864 and is now known for being one of the oldest gay bars in New York City “It was a rather dull, neighborhood place which was about three-quarters gay,” said Randy Wicker, 78, who joined the action at that stop. “I called it a closet queen bar.”

The activists knew Julius’ had to refuse them, because the night before, a man who had been served there had later been entrapped by an officer for “gay activity,” meaning the bar was in jeopardy of having its liquor license revoked. As they entered, the men spied a sign that read “Patrons Must Face the Bar While Drinking,” an instruction used to thwart cruising.  

As soon as they approached, the bartender put a glass in front of him. When the men announced they were gay, the bartender put his hand over the glass; it was captured in a photograph by Fred McDarrah for The Village Voice.

The next day’s New York Times featured an article about the event with the headline “3 Deviates Invite Exclusion by Bars.” Two weeks later, a far more sympathetic piece appeared in The Village Voice. The publicity prompted a response from the State Liquor Authority chairman, Donald S. Hostetter, who denied that his organization ever threatened the liquor licenses of bars that served gays. The decision to serve was up to individual bartenders, he said.

At that point, the Commission on Human Rights became involved. It’s chairman, William H. Booth, told The Times in a later article: “We have jurisdiction over discrimination based on sex. Denial of bar service to a homosexual solely for that reason would come within those bounds.”

From that moment on gay men could not be refused service in any New York State Liquor Authority  licensed establishment.

In 2016, Julius Bar was designated as a New York City landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, recognizing its significance as a site of cultural and historical importance.

 It is one of only eleven sites in New York City listed on the National Register specifically for LGBT associations.

The small grill within the bar also makes one helluva cheeseburger .

Gay History - April 17, 1965: Frank Kameny Leads The First Gay & Lesbian Protest At The White House

Gay History – April 17, 1965: Frank Kameny Leads The First Gay & Lesbian Protest At The White House

On April 17th, 1965 Dr. Frank Kameny along with gay rights pioneer Jack Nichols, who co-founded the Mattachine Society of Washington, DC  bravely led the first “homosexual rights” protest at the White House at a time in history when being gay and lesbian was viewed as an abomination in this country.

The Mattachine Society fought for the equal treatment of gay employees in the federal government, the repeal of sodomy laws, and the removal of homosexuality as a mental disorder in the American Psychiatric Association’s manual of mental disorders..

Ten MSW members along with members of the Daughters of Bilitis picketed in front of the White House against Cuban and the US governments repression of homosexuals.

The group also included:  Gail Johnson,  Gene Kleeberg, Judith Kuch, Paul Kuntzler, Perrin Shaffer, Jon Swanson, Otto Ulrich, Lilli Vincenz (editor of MSW’s quarterly).

Of the protest, Jack Nichols wrote “Never before had gay people as an organized group paraded openly for our rights.”

Nichols recalls:

The picket took place during mid-afternoon. It was the Saturday before Easter, and tourists walked the downtown streets. Lige [Clarke], driving the convertible, took me to the White House curb and helped me unload signs. Then he drove off to work the afternoon shift at the Pentagon. Gail arrived at the site on the back seat of Ray’s motorcycle. It was agreed I should lead the picket line. The reason for this was that I was tall and an all-American sort. Also, I suppose, because I’d conceived the event. Frank Kameny marched behind me and Lilli Vincenz behind him ..

As we marched, I looked about at our well-dressed little band. Kameny had insisted that we seven men must wear suits and ties, and the women, dresses and heels. New Yorkers later complained that we Washingtonians looked like a convention of undertakers, but given the temper of the times, Kameny’s insistence was apropos. “If you’re asking for equal employment rights,” he intoned, “look employable!” In the staid nation’s capital, dressing for the occasion was, in spite of New York critics, proper.

We paraded in a small circle. Behind lampposts stood unknown persons photographing us. Were they government agents? Perrin and Otto wore sunglasses so absolute identification would be difficult should they fall prey to security investigations. We walked for an hour that passed, as I’d predicted, without incident. A few tourists gawked and there were one or two snickers, more from confusion than from prejudice.

We’d hoped for more publicity than we got. Only “The Afro-American “carried a small item about what we’d done. But we’d done it, and that was what mattered. We’d stood up against the power structure, putting our bodies on the line. Nothing had happened except that we’d been galvanized, and, to a certain extent, immunized against fear.”

The Mattachine Society protest was not welcomed by the even more conservative leaders of the gay movement who felt picketing would draw adverse publicity and even greater hostility. 

The Mattachine Society’s protest of the White House, along with the Stonewall Riots are among two of the most significant events in LGBT History. But sadly as we look at the pictures and read the slogans on the picket signs of our LGBT activist forefathers and we realize many of the slogans on these signs could still be carried in protests today almost 60 years later.

This is still our time.  This is still our fight.

Homophiles': The LGBTQ rights movement began long before Stonewall

‘Trans Day of Vengeance’ Protest in DC Canceled Over ‘Credible threat to life’.

‘Trans Day of Vengeance’ Protest in DC Canceled Over ‘Credible threat to life’.

The Trans Radical Activist Network (TRAN) has called off its planned Trans Day of Vengeance rally in Washington, DC on Saturday due to a “credible threat to life and safety” after Monday shooting in Nashville that killed six, including three children by a transgender active shooter.

“The safety of our trans community is first priority. This threat is the direct result of the flood of raw hatred directed toward the trans community after the Tennessee shooting,” the coalition said on social media. “Individuals who had nothing to with that heinous act have been subjected to highly serious threats and blamed only because of their gender identity. This is one of the steps in genocide, and we will continue our efforts to protect trans lives. While we wholeheartedly believe in the mission and message we put forth for trans day of vengeance, we must prioritize the safety of our community and the people that make it up.””

Twitter removed thousands of tweets that promoted the event because “Vengeance’ does not imply peaceful protest.”

Despite the rally’s name, Trans Day of Vengeance is a meme that has been used by the trans community for years and was never intended to encourage further violence, TRAN insisted. Although many cannot confirm this. And the group has received major blowback from many in the LGB community for the suggestion of violence in the events name.

“This protest is about unity, not inciting violence. TRAN does not encourage violence and it is not welcome at this event,” the group said on its website.

‘Trans Day of Vengeance’ Protest in DC Canceled Over ‘Credible threat to life’.

TWITTER Removes All Tweets About “Trans Day of Vengeance” Protest in DC

Twitter says it has removed 5000 tweets showing a poster promoting a “Trans Day of Vengeance” protest in support of transgender rights in Washington, D.C., on Saturday.

“We do not support tweets that incite violence irrespective of who posts them. “Vengeance” does not imply peaceful protest. Organizing or support for peaceful protests is ok,” Irwin wrote in the tweet.

Twitter used automated processes to do it quickly at a large scale, without considering what context the tweets were shared in. Because of this, both tweets that were critical of and those that supported the protests were removed. This angered not only trans activist and supporters but also angered many conservative Twitter users who said the rules were unfairly applied to them because they were posting the image of the protest flyer to speak out against it.

Many of the tweets Twitter removed were from conservative users sharing an image of the flyer in an attempt to connect the planned protests with the recent school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee. 

One of those “conservatives” Marjorie Taylor Greene’s account was restricted. for seven days after she repeatedly posted an image of a poster about a rally called “Trans Day of Vengeance. Greene initially deleted her tweet and then posted it again voicing frustration about the action from Twitter — along with sharing the poster again, she called on the Department of Justice to investigate. Twitter again deleted the tweet — prompting yet another tweet and repost from Greene. “The people need to know about the threats they face from Antifa & trans-terrorism!!!” Greene said.

On its website, the group organizing Saturday’s protest said it does not condone violence. In a statement posted on the site, the Trans Radical Activist Network and other organizers also strongly rejected any connection between the school shooting in Nashville and Saturday’s protest, which organizers said was planned before the shooting took place.

“Vengeance means fighting back with vehemence,” the protest’s organizers wrote on their website. “We are fighting against false narratives, criminalization, and eradication of our existence.”

While I have never been opposed to a good protest I am adverse to a bad planned one. Promoting this protest as a “Day of Vengeance” in this current political climate just dares the other side to show up and fight.

What was the trans community thinking? Do they ever think and plan or only lash out and go off half cocked?

Whatever the reason trans-activist need to pull their shit together. Get some leaders, start some trans organizations, and for Goddesses sake. Get a PR person already. At this point it could only help.

Please be peaceful and aware of those around you if you join the protest on Saturday.

Keep safe.

Wilton Manors in Florida Sets Protest Against Anti-LGBT State Laws.

Wilton Manors in Florida Sets Protest Against Anti-LGBT State Laws.

Well it took a couple of months but its nice to see some LGBT’s in Florida finally standing up against Florida’s heinous and oppressive anti-LGBT laws.

According to the 2010 Census, Wilton Manors is the country’s “Second Gayest City” – at least in terms of couples. It has about 140 per 1,000, putting it second only to Provincetown, Mass

Via ABC affiliate Local 10.com:

The LGBTQ community in Wilton Manors is preparing to march Sunday against new measures that Republicans in Florida are pushing forward. Christ Caputo, a Wilton Manors commissioner, said it’s time for the community to stand against “discriminatory” Florida bills Caputo said he is especially concerned about House Bill 1011 and Senate Bill 668, which set limits to flags at governmental agencies. “A new bill that came out, a House bill, essentially bans pride flags from flying in government property,” Caputo said. “Crazy enough, there was an amendment to it where it would have been OK to fly a Confederate flag but not to fly a Pride flag. I mean that’s unbelievable.”

The protest march “in heels” means no white plumber’s boots.

Gay History - March 24, 1987: ACT UP Stages Its First Major Protest In NYC, 17 Arrested - Video

Gay History – NYC March 24, 1987: ACT UP Stages Its First Major Protest on Wall Street, 17 Arrested – [VIDEOS]

On March 24, 1987, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) staged a massive protest on Wall Street, New York City, to draw attention to the ongoing HIV/AIDS crisis and to demand more action from the US government and pharmaceutical companies.

Outraged by the government’s mismanagement of the AIDS Crisis LGBT’s and straight allies unite to form the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power. ACT UP.

The demonstration began with a rally in the morning, where thousands of protestors gathered outside the New York Stock Exchange. Activists dressed in white lab coats and carried signs that read “AIDS Is Wall Street’s Business” and “Money for AIDS, Not for War.” The protestors then marched through Lower Manhattan, blocking traffic and chanting slogans such as “Healthcare is a right, not a privilege!” and “ACT UP, Fight Back, Fight AIDS!

The protest aimed to highlight the financial interests ((especially Burroughs Wellcome, manufacturer of AZT) that were hindering progress in finding a cure for HIV/AIDS. ACT UP accused pharmaceutical companies of prioritizing profits over saving lives and called on the government to increase funding for AIDS research and access to affordable healthcare for those living with HIV.

The demonstration received national attention and helped to bring the issue of HIV/AIDS into the mainstream media. It also led to increased funding for AIDS research and improved access to medication for those living with HIV/AIDS.

In the end 17 protestors were arrested.

Overall, the Wall Street protest was a pivotal moment in the fight against HIV/AIDS and demonstrated the power of grassroots activism to effect change

ACT UP’s flyer for the event listed its demands:


Come to Wall Street in front of Trinity Church at 7AM Tuesday March 24 for a


To demand the following

1. Immediate release by the Federal Food & Drug Administration of drugs that might help save our lives.

These drugs include: Ribavirin (ICN Pharmaceuticals); Ampligen (HMR Research Co.); Glucan (Tulane University School of Medicine); DTC (Merieux); DDC (Hoffman-LaRoche); AS 101 (National Patent Development Corp.); MTP-PE (Ciba-Geigy); AL 721 (Praxis Pharmaceuticals).

2. Immediate abolishment of cruel double-blind studies wherein some get the new drugs and some don’t.

3. Immediate release of these drugs to everyone with AIDS or ARC.

4. Immediate availability of these drugs at affordable prices. Curb your greed!

5. Immediate massive public education to stop the spread of AIDS.

6. Immediate policy to prohibit discrimination in AIDS treatment, insurance, employment, housing.

7. Immediate establishment of a coordinated, comprehensive, and compassionate national policy on AIDS.

President Reagan, nobody is in charge!



The first few minutes of the clip below from Fight Back Fight AIDS: 15 Years of ACT UP and the tweet from ACT UP below is the only remaining footage of the first protest.

Fight Back Fight AIDS: 15 Years of ACT UP clip from Frameline on Vimeo.


Proud Boys Descend On NYC LGBT Center To Protest Drag Queen Story Hour. Counter-Protestors Push Back - [VIDEOS]

Proud Boys Descend On NYC LGBT Center To Protest Drag Queen Story Hour. Counter-Protestors Push Back – [VIDEOS]

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Eyewitnesses claim that the NYPD did not do enough. As usual.

Approximately 200 parents and children enjoyed the read-a-thon, led by the Drag Kings, Queens and Royalty of Drag Story Hour NYC at The Center, a resource hub for New York City’s LGBT community hosted by state Attorney General Letitia James on on Sunday.

Then the Proud Boys showed up.

Outnumbered by 4 to 1 Proud Boys, Orthodox Jewish Rabbi’s, and one lowly self hating homo from Gay’s for Trump named “Paul” however, got more than they bargained for while trying to intimidate the people attending the event. Chants of “Fuck the Proud Boys rang” out from counter-protestors at the venue, letting the violent chaos agents know that they WERE NOT welcome.

Despite police attempting to keep the two groups separated, a few broke through the ranks. One man wearing a gold Guy Fawkes mask attacked those defending the story hour, deeming his adversaries “ANTIFA” as he threw punches and grabbed at press cameras..

According to longtime LGBT Civil Rights Activist Ken Kidd who was in attendance and spoke with us:

I saw it happen. And was one of the ones who insisted that the cops make the cuff. They were ignoring it. It took at least 10 minutes of our chanting at them to do their jobs and, ultimately reminding them that we had the assault AND THEIR REFUSAL TO DO ANYTHING on video (When the video becomes available we will add it to this post/)

Kidd continued:

Oh, and those haters were just screaming obscenities and hate language, and their posters had incredibly offensive photos on them—really racy, PG-13 to R rated stuff that they were shoving down the throats of the kids and parents just trying to pass safely through us to hear a story told by someone in fun makeup and a bright outfit. We kept drowning them out by chanting BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH over and over until I came up with the idea of putting all the BLAH BLAH BLAHS to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. It was so much fun, so simple, joyful, and SHADY.

While one Proud Boy by the name of Robert Porco, 53, who was arrested for punching a protestor. Later out of nowhere and with no witnesses a Proud Boy trotted around with blood on his nose claiming a counter-protestor punched him. “I came here to help, not get the shit beat out of me”. The thug’s accusation of violence has over 2 million views on social media at this writing. Many believe it is a set up call to arms to further embolden Proud Boys and supporters to become more violent. Which is dangerous for our community and very disturbing in light of Donald Trump’s impending arrest Tuesday.

Please. Every LGBT and Ally should be on heightened alert to keep safe and be prepared to stand up and fight back for what is right.

Evil never backs down. And neither should we.

Chicago Bakery Cafe Closing After Harassments and Threats Over Family Friendly Drag Show.

Chicago Bakery Cafe Closing After Harassment and Threats Over Family Friendly Drag Show.

UpRising Bakery & Café in Lake in the Hills has announced it will close at the end of the month.

Owner Corrina Sac hosted several community events at UpRising since the bakery and café opened. Last July, she organized a family-friendly show at UpRising featuring drag performances, according to the news release.

The night before the performance, the doors and windows of the bakery were smashed and hate messages were painted on the building. After the attack, the village of Lake in the Hills told Sac she can no longer hold events at the bakery due to a zoning issue. When she tried gain last December the event had to be canceled after Homeland Security warned Sac of a possible Domestic Terror threat.

Then her staff and the bakery’s costumers were also attacked. Protesters spent days outside UpRising, harassed patrons and photographed their license plates, according to the release. Sac and her children were also threatened on social media.

“Closing our doors is the direct result of the horrific attacks, endless harassment, and unrelenting negative misinformation about our establishment in the last 8 months,” Sac said in the news release.

“From an award-winning bakery that donates to local organizations and supports diversity and inclusion, we have been rebranded by misinformation as ‘gay only’ and ‘pedophiles.’ Local customers no longer come here because of the perceived threat that tarnished our good name and the fears of their license plates are photographed, and they are harassed.”

Sac has tried in vain for months to get help from the McHenry County State’s Attorney and Illinois Attorney General. No help has been given.

Several fundraisers are planned for March to potentially save the bakery, or to at least provide financial support to Sac and her staff.