Introduction to the Direct Action Project
LGBT Direct Action Bibliography, Chronology, and Inventory, 1965-74
Social movements have long engaged in direct action protests, including demonstrations, marches, parades, pickets, riots, and sit-ins. These are spectacular and embodied events, often drawing extensive public attention, serving expressive and strategic purposes, and contributing to social and political change. Social movements have used many other types of tactics, including boycotts, education, litigation, and lobbying, but in specific historical circumstances they have organized direct action protests to struggle against inequality and injustice. In 1965, influenced most directly by the African American civil rights movement, U.S. LGBT activists began a sustained period of direct action that lasted for more than a decade. Highly creative, emotionally powerful, and politically inspiring, LGBT direct action protests challenged anti-LGBT policies and practices while also breaching boundaries between the private and public, the invisible and visible, and the silent and spoken. Scholars have studied a small number of these actions, including the Dewey’s sit-in (1965), the Annual Reminders at Independence Hall (1965-69), the Compton’s Cafeteria riot (1966), the Stonewall riots (1969), the Congress to Unite Women protest (1970), and the first “gay pride” marches (1970). The vast majority of LGBT direct action protests, however, have not been researched extensively. This bibliography, chronology, and inventory, covering nearly 800 unique events from 1965 to 1974, is meant to encourage further research on the broad and diverse history of LGBT direct action.
The LGBT Direct Action Bibliography, Chronology, and Inventory was first co-published by OutHistory and Queer Pasts in March 2023; this is the second edition. The first version identified 646 direct action protests from 1965 to 1973; this one covers 777 protests from 1965 to 1974. The new version adds 84 protests in 1974 and 47 newly-identified protests and modified protest dates from 1965 to 1973. One of the goals of adding a new year to this 2023 edition is to encourage fiftieth anniversary commemmorations of 1974 protests in 2024. More generally, this project builds on the work I completed for two of my recent books: The Stonewall Riots: A Documentary History (NYU Press, 2019) and Rethinking the Gay and Lesbian Movement, 2nd edition (Routledge, 2023). Several San Francisco State University M.A. students and research assistants, including Mario Burrus, Sabrina Chamberlain, Nicolette Kafetas, Adam Joseph Nichols, and Jennifer Zoland, worked on this project under my supervision; Dylan Weir and Ruth Truman helped compile, quantify, and analyze the results. Scott C. Seyworth generously supplied information about Wisconsin. Work is underway to extend this project to cover 1975-76. This is a work in progress, and I would welcome additions and corrections, which can be sent to me at email@example.com.
Chronology, Geography, and Highlights
For the ten years covered in this inventory, we have identified 777 direct action events (averaging 78 per year), though the number falls to 498 if protests lasting for more than a single day and coordinated protests that occurred in multiple locations are each counted once. We include organized and visible LGBT contingents in non-LGBT protests, but not the many other non-LGBT protests in which individual LGBT people participated. Only direct action protests documented in mainstream, alternative, or LGBT print media are included here; we cite more than 2,000 media sources. Media outlets routinely disagree when quantifying the number of participants in direct action protests, but the minimum numbers used by the sources listed here total approximately 94,000; the maximum numbers total approximately 303,000; the number would be lower if individuals who participated in more than one protest were each counted only once. LGBT direct action protests in this ten-year period occurred, on average, every 4-5 days. The sources listed here indicate that at least 198 protesters were arrested; again, the number would be lower if individuals arrested more than once were each counted only once.
The inventory both reinforces and challenges popular beliefs about the chronology and geography of LGBT direct action in the United States. For the ten-year period, we have documented protests in 23 states and the District of Columbia, challenging the notion that these only occurred in New York, California, and a few other states. For 1965 through May 1969, we have identified 84 protests in four states and the District of Columbia. Beginning in April 1969 in San Francisco (not June in New York, as is commonly believed), the number and frequency of LGBT direct action protests increased dramatically. From August 1968 through March 1969, there were none, but there were more than 40 in April and May 1969. The total number rose from 6 in 1968 (averaging 1 every 60 days) to 116 in 1969 (averaging 1 every 3.1 days) and 171 in 1970 (averaging 1 every 2.1 days). After Stonewall, LGBT direct action also expanded in terms of participant numbers and geographic scope––for 1970, our sources count 12,000-62,000 participants in 18 cities across 9 states and Washington, D.C.
In quantitative terms, 1970 proved to be the highwater mark of LGBT direct action during these ten years. The number of direct actions declined steadily for the next few years but then increased in 1974: there were 138 in 1971 (1 every 2.6 days), 115 in 1972 (1 every 3.2 days), and 83 in 1973 (1 every 4.4 days), before increasing again to 113 in 1974 (1 every 3.2 days). This might suggest revisiting interpretations that suggest a decline in LGBT movement activism in the mid-1970s; next year’s report, which will cover 1975, will help reveal whether there were further increases beyond 1974. In terms of participation numbers and geographic scope, LGBT direct action never returned to pre-Stonewall levels. Our sources document actions in 13 states and D.C. with 21,000-30,000 participants in 1971, 16 states and D.C. with 16,000-61,000 participants in 1972, 14 states and D.C. with 11,000-70,000 participants in 1973, and 14 states and D.C. with 31,000 to 74,000 participants in 1974.
The following list of the top ten busiest months for unique actions, excluding pride events and counting multi-day protests just once, highlights both the significance of 1970 and the broader chronological range of post-Stonewall LGBT direct action:
- May 1970: 17 actions
- April 1970: 12 actions
- October 1970: 13 actions
- November 1971: 11 actions
- January 1972: 10 actions
- April 1972: 10 actions
- March 1970: 9 actions
- August 1970: 9 actions
- May 1974: 9 actions
- July 1974: 9 actions
While LGBT direct action protests expanded to more and more states during the ten-year period, the vast majority occurred in 6 cities in 5 states and D.C.: San Francisco (149), New York City (148); Los Angeles (105); Chicago (49); Philadelphia (49); and Washington, D.C. (47. Other significant sites included Detroit (32), Berkeley (20), Minneapolis (14), Boston (11), Miami Beach (11), New Orleans (8), Ann Arbor (7), Madison (7), Miami (6), and Seattle (6). (Kern River is listed below as the location of 13, but this number reflects a 13-day “camp in” in 1970.) Of the 16 cities featuring the largest number of LGBT direct action protests, most are among the largest cities in the country while three (Ann Arbor, Berkeley, and Madison) are the locations of major public universities. In total, the movement organized and participated in direct action protests in 63 cities during this period. The following is a comprehensive list of the cities where we have documented LGBT direct action protests from 1965 through 1974 (the numbers here do not add up to 777 because the locations of some protests were identifiable by state but not city):
- San Francisco, CA (149)
- New York, NY (148)
- Los Angeles, CA (105)
- Chicago, IL (49)
- Philadelphia, PA (49)
- Washington, D.C. (47)
- Detroit, MI (32)
- Berkeley, CA (20)
- Minneapolis, MN (14)
- Kern River, CA (13)
- Boston, MA (11)
- Miami Beach, FL (11)
- New Orleans, LA (8)
- Ann Arbor, MI (7)
- Madison, WI (7)
- Miami, FL (6)
- Seattle, WA (6)
- Dallas, TX (4)
- Albany, NY (3)
- Atlanta, GA (3)
- Burbank, CA (3)
- Columbus, OH (3)
- Hauppauge, NY (3)
- Louisville, KY (3)
- Sacramento, CA (3)
- Bridgeport, CT (2)
- Denver, CO (2)
- Fullerton, CA (2)
- Hackensack, NJ (2)
- Lansing, MI (2)
- Tucson, AZ (2)
- Pittsburgh, PA (2)
- Provincetown, MA (2)
- Rochester, NY (2)
- Vacaville, CA (2)
- Anaheim, CA (1)
- Arlington, VA (1)
- Bloomfield Hills, MI (1)
- Buffalo, NY (1)
- Cincinnati, OH (1)
- Collingswood, NJ (1)
- Gainesville, FL (1)
- Garden Grove, CA (1)
- Hartford, CT (1)
- Hayward, CA (1)
- Honolulu, HI (1)
- Ithaca, NY (1)
- Kern County, CA (1)
- Lynwood, WA (1)
- New Hanover, NJ (1)
- Newtown, PA (1)
- Oakland, CA (1)
- Oceanside, CA (1)
- Olympia, WA (1)
- Phoenix, AZ (1)
- Portland, OR (1)
- Riverhead, NY (1)
- Saint Paul, MN (1)
- San Diego, CA (1)
- San Pedro, CA (1)
- Southfield, MI (1)
- Springfield, MO (1)
- Tallahassee, FL (1)
As noted above, over the course of the ten-year period, LGBT direct action protests occurred in 23 states and the District of Columbia; most of the states were coastal and/or featured large cities. Beyond the East and West coasts, the six states with the largest numbers had major cities: Chicago, Illinois; Detroit, Michigan; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Minneapolis, Minnesota; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Phoenix Arizona. The following is a full list of the states/districts where we have identified LGBT direct action protests:
- California (315)
- New York (166)
- Pennsylvania (52)
- Illinois (49)
- District of Columbia (47)
- Michigan (43)
- Florida (19)
- Minnesota (15)
- Massachusetts (13)
- Arizona (8)
- Louisiana (8)
- Washington (8)
- Wisconsin (7)
- New Jersey (4)
- Ohio (4)
- Texas (4)
- Connecticut (3)
- Georgia (3)
- Kentucky (3)
- Colorado (2)
- Hawaii (1)
- Missouri (1)
- Oregon (1)
- Virginia (1)
In terms of participation numbers, the top ten actions were all pride events, as listed below, but note that media reports of numbers diverged greatly, in part because of disagreements about whom to count as, and whether to count, spectators:
- 30 June 1974: New York Pride, 4,000-43,000 participants
- 24 June 1973: San Francisco Pride, 2,000-40,000 participants
- 28 June 1970: Los Angeles Pride, 1,200-30,000 participants
- 25 June 1972: San Francisco Pride, 1,000-25,000 participants
- 30 June 1974: San Francisco Pride, 20,000 participants
- 24 June 1973: New York Pride, 3,000-20,000 participants
- 28 June 1970: New York Pride, 2,000-20,000 participants
- 27 June 1971: New York Pride, 5,000-10,000 participants
- 25 June 1972: New York Pride, 3,500-10,000 participants
- 11 June 1972: Philadelphia Pride, 2,500-10,000 participants
Excluding pride events, the ten direct actions that featured the largest number of participants, most of which have received limited scholarly attention, were as follows:
- 14 March 1971: March on the New York State Capitol in Albany by the Tri-Cities Gay Liberation Front and other groups, 1000-3000 participants
- 28 June-3 July 1969: LGBT riots to protest a police raid on the Stonewall Inn in New York, 500-3000 participants
- 5 April 1970: Gay Liberation Front Los Angeles “Gay-In” at Griffith Park, 2000 participants
- 29-30 August 1970: Gay Activists Alliance New York and Gay Liberation Front New York demonstration and march from Times Square to the Women’s House of Detention to protest police harassment and violence, 2000 participants
- 25 August 1972: Dyke Separatists, GAA Lesbians, and other feminist groups march and rally for women’s rights in New York, 2000 participants
- 4 May 1974: LGBT rally for equal rights on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village, New York, 1000 participants
- 30 May 1970: Gay Liberation Front Los Angeles “Gay-In” at Griffith Park, 500-1000 participants
- 25 July 1971: Gay Activists Alliance New York march and demonstration in Greenwich Village to protest police raids on gay bars, 1000 participants
- 3 October 1971: Gay Activists Alliance New York march to home of City Councilman Saul Sharison, 500-1000 participants
- 7-15 April 1972: LGBT march for state law reform from New York City to Albany and demonstration at state capitol, 400-1000 participants
The largest numbers of arrests occurred at the following direct action protests:
- 28 June-3 July 1969: LGBT riots to protest a police raid on the Stonewall Inn in New York, 21-22 arrests
- 18-23 August 1972: LGBT demonstrations at Republican Party National Convention in Miami, 20 arrests
- 31 October 1969: Committee for Homosexual Freedom and Gay Liberation Front San Francisco demonstration against anti-LGBT bias at San Francisco Examiner and sit-in to protest police violence at City Hall, 15 arrests
- 28 November 1970: Gay Liberation Front protest at Zephyr Restaurant during Black Panthers Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention in DC, 12 arrests
- 3 September 1971: Kalos Society demonstration against anti-lesbian discrimination at LaRosa Park West bar in Hartford, 10 arrests
- 3 October 1971: Gay Activists Alliance New York march to home of City Councilman Saul Sharison, 6-10 arrests
- 30 April 1973: Gay Activists Alliance New York demonstration at City Council meeting, 10 arrests
- 21-25 June 1971: Gay Activists Alliance New York, Daughters of Bilitis New York, and RL-NY demonstrations at City Hall, 9 arrests
- 25-26 January 1972: Gay Activists Alliance New York sit-in at Lindsay presidential campaign headquarters, 8 arrests
- 21 June 1970: “Gay-In” in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, 7 arrests
The eleven most sustained actions, including consecutive and non-consecutive days of protest, were as follows:
- 9 April-26 June 1969: Committee for Homosexual Freedom demonstrations against the firing of an openly gay employee at States Steamship Company in San Francisco, 49 days
- 25 July-15 August 1970: Society for Individual Rights, Tavern Guild, and Gay Liberation Front San Francisco daily demonstrations against bathroom arrests at Macy’s, 21 days
- 16 September-2 October 1974: Fast in Detroit to atone for Catholic Church persecution, 16 days
- 29 August-10 September 1970: Gay “Camp-In” at Yokut Group Camp on the Kern River in California, 13 days
- 15 October-30 November 1971: Gay Liberation Front DC, Gay Activists Alliance DC, MSW, and MCC-DC demonstrations against anti-trans, racist, and sexist discrimination at Lost and Found in DC, 12 days
- 24 April – 4 May 1971: LGBT participation in antiwar demonstrations in DC, 11 days
- 28 June-7 July 1970: Ten-day gay vigil and fast at Federal Building in Los Angeles, 10 days
- 7-15 April 1972: LGBT march for state law reform from New York City to Albany and demonstration at state capitol, 9 days
- 17-24 December 1969: Gay Liberation Front New York peace vigil at Women’s House of Detention, 8 days
- 7-15 August 1970: Chicago Gay Liberation daily demonstrations against antigay discrimination at Astro Restaurant, 8 days
- 17-24 December 1969: Gay Community Alliance, HELP, and MCC demonstrations against police brutality in Los Angeles, 8 days
The five actions sustained over the longest period of time were as follows:
- 4 July 1965-1969: Annual Reminder demonstrations in Philadelphia, annual for 5 years
- 7 February 1970-25 November 1971: Demonstrations against discrimination at Barney's Beanery, 1 year 9 months
- 9 April-26 June, 2 July-6 August 1969: Committee for Homosexual Freedom demonstrations against the firing of an openly gay employee at States Steamship Company in San Francisco, 4 months
- 15 October-30 November 1971: Demonstrations at Lost and Found in DC, 1.5 months
- 25 July-15 August 1970: Society for Individual Rights, Tavern Guild, and Gay Liberation Front San Francisco daily demonstrations against bathroom arrests at Macy’s, 3 weeks
The targets of LGBT direct action were diverse, but we have identified several noteworthy patterns. Using fourteen categories and counting each protest more than once if more than one category was applicable, our sources indicate that businesses were the most common targets of LGBT direct action. These included bars, restaurants, department stores, and public utilities, which were criticized for employment discrimination, denials of service, mistreatment of patrons, sexual censorship, and discriminatory practices affecting women, people of color, and trans people. The number of business targets would have been even greater if we had counted many of the media targets as businesses, which they were. The second most frequent targets of LGBT direct action were national, state, and local government buildings and policies. Pride events, marches, parades, and protests were third; police policies and practices were fourth. LGBT targets and media, arts, and cultural organizations were tied for fifth. The full range of targets and associated numbers were as follows:
- Businesses (243)
- National, state, and local government policies and buildings, including courts (135)
- Pride events, marches, parades, and protests (105)
- Police and policing (94)
- LGBT targets, including organizations and businesses (72)
- Media (including newspapers, magazines, film, radio, television), arts, and culture (72)
- Electoral politics, including politicians, public officials, and political parties (58)
- Military, militarism, and war (56)
- Religion, religious institutions, and religious policies (54)
- Universities, colleges, schools, and educational institutions (47)
- Science, medicine, psychology, and psychiatry (32)
- Prisons and jails (28)
- Gay-ins and other LGBT gatherings (27)
- Miscellaneous (14)
Businesses: Some of the earliest targets were businesses: Dewey’s restaurant in Philadelphia (1965); Julius bar in New York (1966); Compton’s Cafeteria in San Francisco (twice in 1966); the Black Cat bar in Los Angeles (1966); the Redd Foxx Club in Los Angeles (1967); and the Patch bar in Los Angeles (1968). From 13 business-oriented protests in 1965-68 the number grew significantly to 74 in 1969 before falling to 59, 34, 20, 23, and 20 in the next five years.
Many 1969 business targets were in San Francisco: States Steamship, Tower Records, Funland, Safeway, Delta Airlines, Western Airlines, Tom Cat Theater, Trap bar, and Greyhound Bus. Others were States Steamship in Los Angeles and the Stonewall Inn in New York.
In 1970, there was a wave of business-oriented protests in Los Angeles; targets included Barney’s Beanery, Park Theater, May department store, and a set of bars, including Hayloft, Sewers of Paris, Farm, New Generation, Stampede, and Hub. Business targets elsewhere included the Household Finance Co., Gold Rail bar, and Finale restaurant in New York; Normandy bar and Astro restaurant in Chicago; Honda and Macy’s in San Francisco; Zephyr restaurant in D.C.; Queen Bee bar in Louisville; White Horse Inn in Berkeley; and Morrie’s bar in Ithaca.
Most of the 1971 business targets were again located in three big cities: Fidelifacts, Clancy’s bar, Christopher’s End bar, and Kooky’s bar in New York; Stud bar, Mark Hopkins Hotel, Bank of America, Pacific Telephone, and Hilton Hotel in San Francisco; and a set of bookstores, Lillian’s restaurant, and Barney’s Beanery in Los Angeles. Once again, most of these were bars and restaurants, as were most of the 1971 business targets located elsewhere: Plus One bar and Lost and Found bar in D.C.; LaRosa Park West bar in Hartford; Hudson’s department store in Detroit; and Poodle bar in Minneapolis.
In 1972 and 1973, there were no business targets in Los Angeles and fewer in San Francisco (San Francisco Hotel, Hilton Hotel, and Pacific Telephone), but there again was a significant number in New York: Park West Village, Hilton Hotel, Taxi Commission, Bandy’s bar, Salty Dog bar, Barney Google’s bar, 162 Spring Street bar and Rainbow Grill restaurant. Other business targets in 1972 and 1973 included Hudson’s department store in Detroit; Poodle bar and Northwestern Bell in Minneapolis; Pizza Hut in Fullerton (CA); Rollaway Link in Lynwood (WA); Stonewall bar in Tucson; Steps bar in Philadelphia; Rubaiyst bar/restaurant in Ann Arbor; and Merchandise Mart in Chicago.
Many of the 1974 protests against businesses took place in Los Angeles (Barney’s Beanery, Paradise Ballroom, After Dark bar, and Hollywood Businessmen’s Association) and Philadelphia (Mr. Livingroom, bridal shops, and pornography businesses). Other targets included Ramrod Bar in San Francisco, Up Stairs bar in New Orleans, Desert Hills Hotel in Phoenix, Pizza Pete in Seattle, and Chubby’s Coffee in Dallas.
Government Buildings and Policies: Compared to the yearly numbers for business-oriented protests, which peaked in 1969 and then declined, the numbers for government-oriented protests were relatively steady: 19 in 1965-68, then 12, 21, 28, and 26 in the next four years before falling to 8 in 1973 and then rising again to 21 in 1974. Protesters returned to some of the same iconic government buildings multiple times; many of these were federal buildings, state capitols, city halls, and local courthouses. Pre-Stonewall targets included the White House 5 times, Independence Hall 4 times, the California State Fair in Sacramento 2 times; and
and the United Nations, U.S. Civil Service Commission, U.S. State Department, Pentagon, and Federal Building in San Francisco. Post-Stonewall targets in 1969 included the Federal Building and City Hall in San Francisco; Independence Hall in Philadelphia; the California State Building in Los Angeles; and City Hall in New York City.
In 1970, government targets included City Hall and the Criminal Court building in New York and the Federal Building in Los Angeles. In 1971, government targets were located in a broader range of cities, including City Hall in New Orleans; the Board of Education, City Clerk’s Office, and City Hall in New York City; the State Capitol in Albany, New York; the Federal Building and California Civil Service office in San Francisco; the County Medical Center in Los Angeles; the State Capitol in Sacramento; the Federal Building in Chicago; the Ohio State House in Columbus; City Hall in Bridgeport, Connecticut; the Suffolk County Courthouse and District Attorney’s office in New York; the courthouse in Hauppage, New York; and the State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan. In 1972, government targets included the Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington, Virginia; the New York State Association of City Councils in Buffalo; City Hall and the home of the District Attorney in New York City; the Federal Building in San Francisco; the State Capitol in Albany; the State Capitol in Columbus, Ohio; the Bergen County Courthouse in Hackensack, New Jersey; the Board of Education in Chicago; and the State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan. In 1973, LGBT direct action returned to Independence Hall in Philadelphia while also targeting City Council in New York; Traffic Court in Detroit; Ann Arbor City Council; City Hall in Philadelphia; California Public Utilities Commission in San Francisco; City Hall in Rochester, New York; and the State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan. In 1974, government targets included the Federal Building and City Council in Los Angeles; Ann Arbor City Council; the Human Rights Commission, General Welfare Committee, Statue of Liberty, and City Hall in New York City; the White House in D.C.; the Washington Capitol in Olympia; the Civic Center in Chicago; City Hall in Garden Grove, California; and the Federal Building in San Francisco. Protests at government buildings commonly focused on civil service, immigration, and military policies at the federal level, along with state sodomy laws, state liquor licensing laws, local cross-dressing laws, local anti-discrimination laws, and local policing.
Pride: LGBT people began to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall rebellion in 1970; for that year we have identified 17 pride marches, parades, and protests in Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and Provincetown. The number grew to 23 in 1971 and 23 in 1972 before falling back to 17 in 1973 and rising again to 25 in 1974. New locations in 1971 included Bridgeport, Connecticut; Sacramento; Boston; and San Jose. In 1972 new locations included D.C.; Columbus; Miami Beach; Philadelphia; Hackensack, New Jersey; Dallas; Atlanta; and Detroit. In 1973, new locations included Cincinnati; Pittsburgh; Berkeley; Minneapolis; Portland, OR; Ann Arbor; and Madison, WI. In 1974, new locations included Honolulu, Tucson, and Phoenix. In total, there were pride marches, parades, and protests in 27 cities from 1970 to 1974. Of these, 7 were in the Northeast; 7 were in the Midwest; 7 were in the West; and 6 were in the South and Southwest. This illustrates the geographic breadth of pride events in the years from 1970 to 1974, though the largest were on the East and West Coasts.
Police and Policing: Direct action protests that targeted the police and policing began in the 1960s, peaked in 1970, and then declined significantly in the next three years. There were 13 protests against the police in the 1965-69 era, 39 in 1970, and 19, 5, 9, and 9 in the next four years. Protesters in the 1960s challenged police practices at Compton’s Cafeteria and the San Francisco Examiner in San Francisco; the Black Cat and Patch bars in Los Angeles; Aquatic Park in Berkeley; and the Stonewall Inn in New York. LGBT direct action protesters continued to target police practices in these four cities in subsequent years, but expanded their targets in 1970 to Chicago; in 1971 to Bridgeport, Connecticut; Hauppauge, New York; Riverhead, New York; and Gainesville, Florida; and in 1972, 1973, and 1974 to Arlington, Virginia; D.C.; Seattle; Detroit; Madison; Philadelphia; and San Diego.
LGBT Businesses and Organizations: LGBT direct action protests against LGBT businesses and organizations began with 3 in 1966–1968 (targets included Julius bar in New York and the Black Cat and Patch bars in Los Angeles). They continued with 8 in 1969 (including the Stonewall Inn in New York and the Society for Individual Rights and the Tavern Guild in San Francisco), peaked at 23 in 1970 and 19 in 1971, and then fell to 3 in 1972, 8 in 1973 and 8 in 1974. Targets in 1970 included screenings of the film Boys in the Band in Los Angeles and Chicago; LGBT bars and theaters in Chicago, Los Angeles, Louisville, and Berkeley; and the North American Conference of Homophile Organizations convention in San Francisco. Targets in 1971 included LGBT bars in D.C.; San Francisco; and New York, along with the Society for Individual Rights and Tavern Guild in San Francisco. Targets in 1972, 1973, and 1974 included the Society for Individual Rights in San Francisco; the Metropolitan Community Church in Philadelphia; and LGBT bars in Ann Arbor, Tucson, Detroit, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Garden Grove (CA).
Media, Arts, and Culture: LGBT direct action protests began targeting newspapers in 1966: one targeted the Brooklyn Heights Press and one targeted the Chicago Daily News and Chicago Sun-Times. In 1969, there were 4 media-oriented protests against the Village Voice and TIME magazine in New York, San Francisco Examiner, and Los Angeles Times. While the earliest LGBT direct action protests in this category focused on newspapers and magazines, this expanded to include television, film, and other types of targets in 1970, when the number of protests against media, arts, and culture targets grew to 13; targets included KGO-TV in San Francisco; screenings of the film Boys in the Band in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Madison; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, WNEW-TV, Harper’s magazine, the Imperial Theatre, and a New York City Cultural Council event in New York; and a Frank Zappa concert and the Park Theater in Los Angeles. In 1971 there were 6 protests against WLS-TV in Chicago; WIBG in Philadelphia, Los Angeles Times; and The Bandy Show in New York. There were 7 in 1972 against Radio City Music Hall, New York Daily News, and the Inner Circle dinner in New York; the Academy of Music and WPVI-TV in Philadelphia; and the Academy Awards in Los Angeles. The number of LGBT protests against media, culture, and arts targets peaked at 21 in 1973; targets included the Jack Paar Show, Inner Circle Dinner, Museum of Natural History, the Dick Cavett Show, and the CBS Evening News in New York; Marcus Welby, M.D. in New York and Los Angeles; The Tonight Show and NBC Studios in Burbank, California; The Mike Douglas Show in Philadelphia; the home of newspaper advice columnist Ann Landers in Chicago; Sanford and Son in Chicago and New York; Atlanta Journal Constitution in Atlanta; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the premier of the film So Long, Blue Boy in Los Angeles; screenings of the film The Laughing Policeman in San Francisco; and a screening of the film The Boys in the Band in Madison and Ann Arbor. There were 19 targets in 1974; these included M*A*S*H, Kojak, Marcus Welby, M.D., and Police Woman in New York; the Chicago Daily News in Chicago; Ann Landers in Boston; the Academy Awards and Los Angeles Times in Los Angeles; the Bay Area Reporter and Marcus Welby, M.D., in San Francisco; the Philadephia Inquirer in Philadelphia; the Michigan Catholic in Detroit; the San Diego Tribune and San Diego Union in San Diego; Marcus Welby, M.D., in Dallas; and Police Woman in Burbank.
Electoral Politics: LGBT direct action activists began targeting electoral politics in 1969, when they disrupted two events featuring New York City mayoral candidates. The number of protests grew to 12 in 1970 and 7 in 1971 before peaking at 33 in 1972 and then falling back to 3 in 1973 and 1 in 1974. The peak in 1972 corresponds to the national elections that year. The protests in 1970 focused on U.S. Vice President Spiro Agnew (at an appearance in Louisville), New York State Governor Nelson Rockefeller, New York State gubernatorial candidates, New York City Mayor John Lindsay, New York City Council members, and the New York State Republican Committee. In 1971 they promoted the congressional candidacy of gay activist Frank Kameny in D.C., and targeted U.S. President Richard Nixon (at an appearance in Chicago); a New York City Council member; Philadelphia mayoral candidates Frank Rizzo and Thacher Longstreth; and Illinois gubernatorial candidate Thomas Foran. In 1972, LGBT direct action protests targeted U.S. President Richard Nixon’s campaign headquarters and a Nixon campaign fundraising event in Philadelphia; U.S. Vice President Agnew (at an appearance in Minneapolis), and a set of U.S. presidential and vice-presidential candidates, including former U.S. Vice President Hubert Humphrey, U.S. Vice Presidential candidate Sargent Shriver, U.S. Senator George McGovern, U.S. Senator Edmund Muskie, and Mayor Lindsay in various locations. In that year LGBT direct action protesters also targeted an Illinois gubernatorial candidate, the Pennsylvania Republican State Committee, the New York State Senate Majority Leader, the New York City District Attorney, a New York City Council member, and the Democratic and Republican Party National Conventions in Miami and Miami Beach. Targets in 1973 included a campaign fundraising event in Chicago; Philadelphia District Attorney Arlen Specter; and the Republican members of the Ann Arbor City Council. The lone 1974 target was President Gerald Ford.
Military, Militarism, and War: LGBT direct action protests against the military, militarism, and war began in 1965-66, when there were 7, including 1 at the Pentagon in 1965 and 5 at nationally-coordinated protests on Armed Forces Day in 1966. Some of the government-oriented protests discussed above for 1965-68 referenced antigay military policies as well. Military-oriented protests resumed in 1969, when there were 9 (in San Francisco, Berkeley, New York, and D.C., and at Fort Dix in New Jersey). While the pre-1969 protests focused on antigay military policies, most of the 1969 and post-1969 ones were antiwar demonstrations and marches. The total numbers grew to 16 in 1970 and 17 in 1971 before falling to 5 in 1972 and 2 in 1973. We identified none in 1974, perhaps because of developments related to the Vietnam War. Locations in 1970 included Chicago, New York, D.C., Los Angeles, Seattle, Provincetown, and San Francisco, along with Fort MacArthur in San Pedro, California, and the Edward Air Force Base in Kern County, California. Locations in 1971 included Chicago, San Francisco, D.C., Los Angeles, and New York. Locations in 1972 and 1973 included New York, Los Angeles, D.C., and San Diego.
Religion: LGBT direct action targeted religion, religious institutions, and religious policies 54 times in this ten year period, beginning with an isolated protest at Grace Cathedral (Episcopalian) in San Francisco in 1965. After a single church action in Berkeley in 1969, the number of religiously-oriented direct action protests grew to 9 in 1970 and 10 in 1971 (primarily in California), fell to 1 in 1972 and 0 in 1973, and then increased dramatically to 32 in 1974. This may have reflected growing opposition to the rise of the anti-LGBT Christian Right. One early wave of religiously-oriented direct action protests began in February 1970 at the First Congregational Church in Los Angeles and continued later that year at St. Basil Catholic Church, Christ Unity, St. James Episcopal Church, Blessed Sacrament Church, and First Baptist Church in Los Angeles; an Easter sunrise service on Mt. Davidson and Grace Cathedral in San Francisco; Christ Church Cranbrook in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; a Michigan Episcopal Diocese convention in Detroit; a Catholic University conference in D.C.; and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. Targets in 1971 and 1972 included St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in D.C.; the Earl Lectures and Pastoral Conference in Berkeley; St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the Young Men’s Christian Association in New York; the Bible Presbyterian Church in Collingswood, New Jersey; the Billy Graham Crusade and St. Sebastian’s Church in Chicago; the Billy Graham Crusade in Oakland, California; and a Catholic cathedral in Sacramento. Religiously-oriented protests in 1974 targeted the Metropolitan Community Church and Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Philadelphia; Bay Area Reporter in San Francisco; St. Patrick’s Cathedral, an Orthodox Jewish synagogue, and the Rabbinical Council of America in New York; the Michigan Catholic newspaper and Holy Trinity Church in Detroit; the Billy Graham Crusade in Hollywood; and Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri.
Educational Institutions: From 1 in 1966, 2 in 1968, and 3 in 1969, the number of educationally-oriented direct action protests grew to 18 in 1970 before falling to 8 in 1971, 10 in 1972, 3 in 1973, and 2 in 1974. The earliest college and university targets were the University of California, Berkeley, in 1966, Columbia University in 1968, and Bucks County Community College (in Pennsylvania) in 1968. The University of California, Berkeley, was targeted repeatedly in 1969 and 1970. Other targets in 1970 included the University of California, Los Angeles; Los Angeles City College; New York University; and Catholic University in D.C. Targets in 1971 included the New York City Board of Education; California State University, Hayward; New York University; the University of Chicago; the University of Southern California; and LaSalle College in Philadelphia. Targets in 1972 included the University of California, Berkeley; the University of California Medical Center in San Francisco; the University of Minnesota; the Chicago Board of Education; the University of California, Los Angeles; and Temple University in Philadelphia. Targets in 1973 included the Universities of Washington, Wisconsin, and Michigan. In 1974, they included the University of California, Los Angeles, and Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri.
Science: LGBT direct action protests began to target science, medicine, psychology, and psychiatry in 1968, when there were protests at a psychiatric panel at Columbia University in New York and the American Medical Association convention in San Francisco. There were no direct action protests against scientific, medical, psychological, and psychiatric targets in 1969, but annual totals were 7, 7, 9, 4, and 3 from 1970 to 1974. Many of these protests targeted the American Psychiatric Association’s annual conventions.
Targets in 1970 included a psychology lecture at the California Federal Building, the annual Behavioral Modification Conference, and the annual National Association for Mental Health convention in Los Angeles; the APA’s annual convention in San Francisco; the American Medical Association’s annual convention in Chicago; and Bellevue Hospital in New York. Targets in 1971 included psychiatrist David Reuben in Chicago; Century City Medical Plaza, Primal Institute, and Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center in Los Angeles; the APA’s annual convention in D.C.; and psychiatrist Samual Hadden in Philadelphia. Targets in 1972 included the University of California Medical Center in San Francisco; the California State Medical Facility in Vacaville, California; the Eastern Psychological Association’s annual convention and the Massachusetts Psychological Assocation in Boston; psychiatrist Warren Gadpaille in Minneapolis; and the Association for the Advancement of Behavioral Therapy annual convention in New York. Targets in 1973 included the Los Angeles County Medical Association; the Western Psychological Association annual convention in Anaheim; a University of Washington psychology class; and the Museum of Natural History in New York. Targets in 1974 included the Western Psychological Association convention in San Francisco, the APA annual convention in Detroit, and psychiatric David Reuben in Philadelphia.
Prisons and Jails: LGBT direct action did not target prisons and jails until after the Stonewall rebellion of 1969. There were 10 protests in the second half of 1969 (all at the Women’s House of Detention in New York); 2 in 1970 (also at the Women’s House of Detention in New York); 4 in 1971 (at the Men’s and Women’s Houses of Detention in New York and in a Chicago march); 7 in 1972 (at a prison conference in Berkeley, the California State Medical Facility in Vacaville, the Sybil Brand Institute for Women in Los Angeles, the Charles St. Jail in Boston, and the Cook County Jail in Chicago); 4 in 1973 (in a San Francisco march and a Sacramento march) and 1 in 1974 (at an LGBT rally at Cook County Jail in Chicago).
Gay-Ins: Of the 27 “gay-ins” identified, most took place in California in 1970 and 1971, and many were quite large. They began in April and May 1970 in Griffith Park (Los Angeles), after which there were 2 in June 1970 in Golden Gate Park (San Francisco). In August/September 1970 there was a two-week “camp-in” at Yokut Group Camp on the Kern River in California, followed by further Griffith Park gay-ins in September 1970, April 1971, and June 1971; there also were gay-ins at Seminole Reservation in Florida in November 1970, City Park in New Orleans in February 1971, and Genesee Valley Park in Rochester in May 1971. In 1972, there was a gay-in at Rock Creek Park in D.C. In 1973, there were gay-ins in Berkeley and Madison. In 1974 there was one in Griffith Park in Los Angeles.
The next update of this report is planned for 2024 and will add 1975. We welcome media references and other information on LGBT direct action protests from 1965 through 1976, along with corrections and recommendations; please send those to Marc Stein at firstname.lastname@example.org.