Zapping the New York Academy of Medicine, April 6, 1976
"Some of us have decided to revolt"
On April 6, 1976, two gay liberation organizations "zapped" (demonstrated) at the New York Academy of Medicine, in New York City, which was hosting a panel on homosexuality sponsored by the Association for Psychoanalytic Medicine, and featuring three anti-homosexual psychiatrists, Irving Bieber, Charles Socarides, and Lionel Ovesey.
John D'Emilio, a member of the Gay Socialist Action Project, and a graduate student at Columbia University, had heard about the upcoming panel and had alerted the Gay Activist Alliance, which organized a demonstration outside of the Academy on the evening of the panel. Here is the Gay Activists Alliance flyer calling people to demonstrate.
On the evening of the event, D'Emilio, Jonathan Ned Katz, and other members of the Gay Socialist Action Project dressed up in their best clothes and infiltrated the meeting. When the panel began, they interrupted the proceedings from different places in the audience, and began to read the following statement, written by Katz with input from Project members -- an appeal to hear the voices of homosexuals. After just a bit of this appeal was read, the meeting was shut down by its organizers. The psychiatrists refused to listen to the homosexuals. Years later, D'Emilio recalled this "perfectly executed disruption" as his group's "most emotionally gratifying action."
Here is the entire statement in its original format, as typed by Katz:
- Documents from the personal collection of Jonathan Ned Katz. John D'Emilio, "By Way of Introduction" in Making Trouble: Essays on Gay History, Politics, and the University (New York: Routledge, 1993), pp. xxxii-xxxiii.