Carl Wittman

The next person whose story intersects with this history is Carl Wittman, who was living in San Francisco when the Committee for Homosexual Freedom started picketing States Lines. Carl had been a campus organizer for SDS, Students for a Democratic Society, before coming out as gay and coming out to the West Coast. Within the first week of the picketing, Carl showed up to join in. He announced to the group that he was writing a manifesto of gay liberation and wanted to share it with everyone. Here is an article from the Berkeley Barb two weeks into the picketing that reports on the group’s plans to increase pressure on the Steamship line. It is also the first article that quotes Carl Wittman who said, “It’s a question now of a fight for survival, not just a fight for our rights. The CHF is a mutual protection society.” In the lower left is one of the weekly notices that appeared in the Berkeley Barb announcing the meetings that the CHF held at 260 Valencia Street in San Francisco’s Mission district. Gale Whittington in his memoir names many of the early members of the radical group. I’ve mentioned Hibiscus but others included Pat Brown, a “self-proclaimed Trotskyite hippie”; Charles Thorpe, Stephen Matthews, Morgan Pinney, Sheeza Mann, Darwin Dias, Lendon Sadler, and Konstantin Berlandt. Carl got to read a draft version of his manifesto to the group at one of their meetings. Gale Whittington recalled Carl’s introduction, “The whole purpose of this Manifesto is to lay out, to make crystal clear to the people and the power structure of this country — as well as the world — what we, as gay human beings, expect and demand. As you will see, it also explains that true liberation has to come from within the hearts and psyches of gay people themselves.”