Tag Archives: protest

GAY HISTORY: September 19, 1964 - The Little Known First Ever Gay Protest

GAY HISTORY: September 19, 1964 – The First Organized Little Known Gay Protest In NYC Takes Place

 

Many people believe that the first protest against gay discrimination happened in Washington, D.C. and was led by the late, great gay activist Frank Kameny on April 17, 1965.  

Well, they are  wrong.

The first true organized protest against gay discrimination took place in the middle of Manhattan, on September 19, 1964 at the U.S. Army’s Whitehall Induction Center,over the army’s failure to keep gay men’s draft records confidential.  New York City activist Randy Wicker organized it along with Craig Rodwell (known as the Father of Pride), who would go on to open the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookstore. They were joined by eight other members of the Sexual Freedom League, (six of them straight), and they gathered outside the army’s induction center at 39 Whitehall Street in New York City to protest the armed forces’s anti-gay discrimination and complicity in the MacCarthy era witch-hunts. 

Other marchers included Renai Cafiero,who would go on to become  one of the first openly gay delegates to the 1972 Democratic National Convention and Nancy Garden and Jeff Poland of the New York League  for Sexual Freedom. Picket signs declared, “Homosexuals died for U.S., Too,” “Love and Let Love,” and “Army Invades Sexual Privacy.”

Let’s give some credit where credit is due and remember these often overlooked and brave people who stood up and spoke out out at a time when very few were willing to do so..

You can see Randy Wicker’s original photos from that event here

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 mainstream gay movement of the time.  The more conservative leaders of the gay movement felt picketing would draw adverse publicity and even greater hostility. (Which sounds very familiar to what we hear today from some LGBT rights groups.)

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 I realize many of the slogans on these signs could still be carried in protest today.

In 2009 I wrote an article for Cincinnati CityBeat  the Queen City’s alternative newspaper called Reason To Rally where I offered an explanation of why I believe the momentum of our fight for equality has stalled to a snail’s pace

Since then, (the Stonewall riots) the cause for Equality has undertaken many different forms.

An angry queer in a T-shirt and jeans might have symbolized the gay activism of the 1970s, but the AIDS epidemic of the ’80s caused a significant change in approach.

By the end of the 90’s gay advocacy became symbolized by well groomed and overpaid white people sitting on boards, issuing press releases, asking for contributions and hosting fabulous galas instead of multitudes taking to the streets and demanding our rights

We now donate instead of protest. We sign countless petitions and then sit behind our computers and bitch and moan about our oppression instead of doing something about it ourselves.

Our cause has been splintered, fragmented and hijacked into piecemeal specific issues such as gay marriage, the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act instead of what we should be doing: standing together as one and fighting for and demanding federal recognition and protections in toto

Now with the push of “religious liberty” laws by those who hate us to roll back the rights we have fought so hard for we must  stand together, side-by-side and fight the hatred and bigotry that we deal with everyday and let them know that we’ll no longer accept being treated as second-class citizens and allow them spread lies and propaganda about us and our lives.

Too many years have passed and too many of our friends have left us without knowing what true equality is.

We must ALL stand up and start fighting again.

We must not only fight  for ourselves and those in out community but also for the memory of those who bravely began this fight and are no longer with us and left this world without achieving equality.

We must achieve that goal for them, for us, and those who will come after.

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

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

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

March 24, 1987 – ACT UP stages its first major demonstration on Wall Street in New York City.

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

ACT UP’s first demonstration takes place three weeks later on March 24th, 1987 on Wall Street, the heart of the  the financial center in NYC, to protest the profiteering of pharmaceutical companies (especially Burroughs Wellcome, manufacturer of AZT). Over 250 people participated in the protest and seventeen were arrested.

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

NO MORE BUSINESS AS USUAL!

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

MASSIVE AIDS DEMONSTRATION

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!

AIDS IS THE BIGGEST KILLER IN NEW YORK CITY
OF YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN

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.

Donald Trump Denies Instigating Protest Violence: MAGA "Loves Black People"

Donald Trump Denies Instigating Protest Violence: MAGA “Loves Black People”

Donald Trump has denied any culpability when questioned if he was helping incite further violence against the George Floyd protesters across the country with his irresponsible and frankly irrational tweets calling protestors “thugs” and for a “MAGA night” at the White House to counter protestors that have been gathering there.

MAGA. Make America great again. These are people that love our country. I have no idea if they were going to be here, I was just asking. I have no idea if they were going to be there, MAGA is make America great again.

By the way, they love African-American people, they love black people. MAGA loves black people.

I heard that MAGA wanted to be there and a lot of MAGA was going to be there and I have no idea. They love our country.” – Donald Trump

“MAGA loves black people”… indicating of course that his vision of “making America great again” does not include black people. Or gay and lesbian people also as a matter of fact.

By the way. No MAGA Trump supporters showed up at the White House to counter the protestors who gathered there last night.

Kentucky Right-Wing Anti-Lockdown Protestors Hang Democrat Gov Beshear In Effigy With Sign Quoting John Wiles Booth

Kentucky Right-Wing Anti-Lockdown Protestors Hang Democrat Gov Beshear In Effigy With Sign Quoting John Wiles Booth

Via The Louisville Courier-Journal:

What started out as a freedom-loving celebration of the Second Amendment ahead of Memorial Day turned into Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear being hanged in effigy and protesters chanting outside the governor’s mansion.

The Second Amendment rally, meant to inspire people “about what it really means to be FREE,” according to Take Back Kentucky, attracted at least 100 people to the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort on Sunday.

It began as a celebration of constitutional rights but turned into a protest of coronavirus restrictions and Beshear’s administration. Folks toted guns and waved American and “Don’t tread on me” flags. Taps honored the fallen, and free flags were given to veterans from all military branches.

A sign hung on the effigy said, “sic semper tyrannis,” which translates to “thus always to tyrants,” a phrase famously used by John Wilkes Booth after shooting President Abraham Lincoln.

The effigy was hung just a short walk from where the Governor, First Lady, and their two young children live.

The “Memorial Day COVID Freedom Rally” was hosted by Frank Harris a Libertarian (aka Republican) who is running for Kentucky’s 6th. District US House seat and was promoted by the group Take Back Kentucky. Neither have taken responsibility nor condemned the hanging of the effigy.

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

On this date a little-known but 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. 

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.

On April 21, 1966 Mattachine Society activists invited along four newspaper reporters, 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 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 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 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.

Andrew Dolkart, co-director of the New York City L.G.B.T. Historic Sites Project, is seeking to have Julius’ made the second gay history site to enter the national register, after the Stonewall Inn. The building, which dates from 1826, has been a bar since 1864 and has had a gay clientele since the 1950s. It has been a setting for films including: The Boys in the Band, The Normal Heart, and most recently Can You Ever Forgive Me.

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

 

Protester Arrested at NYC COVID-19 Field Hospital Run by Anti-Gay Extremist Franklin Graham

Protester Arrested at NYC COVID-19 Field Hospital Run by Anti-Gay Extremist Franklin Graham

William Talen, 69 was arrested Sunday afternoon at a COVID-19 field hospital in New York City’s Central Park that is being run by Samantha’s Purse an evangelical “christian” group whose leader Franklin Graham has long history and notorious history of anti-LGBT beliefs. and comments.

They have no business being in New York City,” Talen, shouted as six New York police officers, one of whom was carrying Talen’s rainbow flag, as they removed him from the park. “They are the virus.”

The 68-bed field hospital requires volunteers to adhere to a Statement of Faith, which says “marriage is exclusively the union of one genetic male and one genetic female

Talen allegedly jumped over the outer perimeter barrier of the Samaritan’s Purse Field Hospital, and was instructed to leave. He refused and proceeded to plant a rainbow flag on a pole into the ground.

Samaritan’s Purse is working with the Mount Sinai Health System, a New York hospital network, to address the overflow of patients due to the coronavirus pandemic. In a statement emailed Monday, a Mount Sinai spokesperson said all staff members within its hospital system, including the Samaritan’s Purse field hospital, “will adhere” to Mount Sinai’s “principles and guidelines when it comes to not discriminating against patients or staff.”

Last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio called the views of Samaritan’s Purse “troubling” and said his administration will monitor the situation to ensure that there is no discrimination, according to NBC New York.

Talen was charged with resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration, criminal trespass and disorderly conduct, according to a police spokesperson, who said he is so far the only person to have been arrested at the field hospital.

.

White Queer Black Lives Matter Protester Disrupts Black Leaders Endorsement of Pete Buttigieg - VIDEO

White Queer Black Lives Matter Protester Disrupts Black Leaders Endorsement of Pete Buttigieg – VIDEO

A meeting of Black Leaders in Indiana to showcase black support and endorsements for Pete Buttigieg took a trip on the crazy-train Wednesday night when a white, queer, Black Lives Matter protester rushed the stage to hi-jack the event and was nearly clobbered by a cane-wielding elderly lady.

Caught on camera by local network WSBT 22, the protester charging toward the front of the room where South Bend Councilwoman Sharon McBride was speaking.

“Who chose these people as black leaders?” the man yelled out — as a person in the audience stood up, positioned a cane over their head and took aim at the belligerent event crasher.

McBride and others managed to thwart the cane attack.

The protester then wrestled the microphone away from McBride, shouting into it, “Who organized this? We have a police crisis in this town. Why are we talking about Pete Buttigieg? What kind of nonsense is this?”

Less than a dozen other Black Lives Matter protesters stood silently with signs in the back of the room and did not get involved.

Buttigieg who himself wasn’t present at the event, but his campaign did help organize it.

Oh Thursday the 2020 Presidential nominee contender said of the ruckus.

“It shows kind of where politics has come to, especially for somebody to interrupt an African American woman who was speaking about her truth and in her experience,” the 2020 hopeful told NBC.

“But this is the climate that we’re in and we need to continue making sure that everyone is empowered to speak their truth, their experience, and in particular, when it comes to South Bend’s story,” he added.

Too bad the elderly black lady with the cane missed.

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

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

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 the Fort Dix 38 who were 38 prisoners made up of AWOLs, Vietnam war resisters and conscientious objectors who rose up against deplorable and inhumane conditions at the Army Base stockade in New Jersey.

The three films that NYPD detectives shot 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. 

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.

Over 30,000 Protest Anti-LGBT World Congress Of Families Meeting In Italy

Over 30,000 Protest Anti-LGBT World Congress Of Families Meeting In Italy [VIDEO]

Via The Guardian:


An estimated 20,000 people (some estimate 30,000) have protested in Verona against a conference which has brought a global network of anti-gay, anti-abortion and anti-feminist activists to the northern Italian city.


The hosting of the World Congress of Families (WCF), a US coalition that promotes the values of the Christian right, has been especially contentious in Italy as it is supported by the far-right League, a partner in the country’s coalition government. Matteo Salvini, the party’s leader and Italy’s deputy prime minister, spoke at the event on Saturday evening.


Other speakers have included Brian Brown, the WCF president, who fought against same-sex marriage in the US; Theresa Okafor, a Nigerian activist who likened gay people to the Boko Haram terrorist group; and Lucy Akello, a Ugandan politician who helped pass an anti-gay law that sets life imprisonment as the maximum penalty for homosexuality in Uganda.

News outlets report that LGBT activists came from as far afield as Britain, Croatia, Germany, Poland and Switzerland to protest. Many sang “Bella Ciao”, an anthem of the Italian resistance during WWII, and banners carried slogans including “Our bodies and our desires, it’s we who decide”.

As many of you know Brian Brownshirt is also the current President of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) who alongside Moo-gie Maggie Gallagher fought against same-sex marriage in America and failed miserably.