LGBT History in California
Many people consider the June 27, 1969 Stonewall Riot in Greenwich Village, New York as the starting point for the gay rights movement in this country. The New York Police Department would routinely close down gay clubs and bars during the 1960s, but when they came to shut down the Stonewall Inn, the bar's patrons and community residents protested, ultimately resulting in what has been termed a riot, and giving rise to the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) rights movement.
Stonewall was integral in the formation of the modern gay rights movement, but did you know that gay and lesbian citizens had been organizing for civil rights as far back as 1950? And that California was home to many important trailblazers?
Gay rights pioneer Harry Hay founded the Mattachine Society in 1950, the first official gay rights organization in the United States, right here in Los Angeles. He continued working for the cause in various capacities for the rest of his life. For more information about Hay's life and work, take a look at this collection of his original writings:
In 1952, again in Los Angeles, Jim Kepner and members of Mattachine discussed the idea of publishing a magazine for the LGBT community. They named their organization ONE Inc. and put out the first issue in January 1953. In 1956, ONE opened the Institute for Homophile Studies, and today, ONE is the oldest remaining LGBT organization in the US and the largest repository of LGBT materials in the world. ONE is discussed in the following book:
Pre-Gay L.A.: A Social History of the Movement for Homosexual Rights by C. Todd White
To find out more about ONE, see their website:
In San Francisco in 1955, the Daughters of Bilitis came together as the first lesbian civil rights group. Among other things, the women in this group worked to educate the public, partnered with professionals to advocate for lesbian rights, and published the first widely distributed lesbian periodical - The Ladder. For more information, check out the following book:
Different Daughters: A History of the Daughters of Bilitis and the Rise of the Lesbian Rights Movement by Marcia M. Gallo
We even have issues of The Ladder in the reference section. Just ask us to retrieve them for you to read in the Social Science department.
For more information about the role the Los Angeles LGBT community played in the road toward equality, come to Central Library on June 21 at 11:00 am for an image collection program presented by The Lavender Effect:
The following books on LGBT history in California will be on display
in the department:
The End of San Francisco by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore
Behind the Mask of the Mattachine: The Hal Call Chronicles and the Early Movement for Homosexual Emanicpation by James T. Sears
The Trouble with Harry Hay: Founder of the Modern Gay Movement by Stuart Timmons (REFERENCE)
The Empress is a Man: Stories From the Life of José Sarria by Michael Robert Gorman
Wide Open Town: A History of Queer San Francisco to 1965 by Nan Alamilla Boyd
From the Closet to the Altar: Courts, Backlash, and the Struggle for Same-Sex Marriage by Michael J. Klarman
Forging Gay Identities: Organizing Sexuality in San Francisco, 1950-1994 by Elizabeth A. Armstrong
Mapping Gay L.A.: The Intersection of Place and Politics by Moira Kenney
Gay and Lesbian San Francisco by William Lipsky
Gay by the Bay: A History of Queer Culture in the San Francisco Bay Area by Susan Stryker
Monday, June 16, 2014