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PROTESTS
 

March March: Protest Song by The Chicks

Billy Porter and Stephen Stills Perform at Dem National Convention

LGBTQ Protests: In Praise of Gay Bars

Thousands Gather for BLM and LGBTQ Pride March

Indigo Girls: Go (March for Our Lives)

Americans by Janelle Monae

Black Lives Matter: Peaceful Demonstrations

LGBTQ Pride Festivals Become Black Lives Matter Protests

Merging of Two Movements: LGBTQ Pride and Black Lives Matter

When Black Lives Matter Meets LGBTQ Pride

 

 

LGBTQ Social Movements

Lessons From Stonewall for LGBTQ People Today

Sam Cooke: A Change is Gonna Come

Info: LGBTQ Activist Organizations

APA: History of LGBTQ Social Movements

Gay Pride Signs

NBC News: Pride March Turns Into Protest

Info: LGBTQ Pride Parades

LGBTQ Nation: Protest News

NYC Police Apologize for Raid on Stonewall Inn

Life Lessons I've Learned From an LGBTQ Activist

Info: Black Lives Matter

Is Pride a Protest or a Party?

How Harvey Milk Changed the Gay Rights Movement

LGBTQ Revolution

Info: Women's March

 

From Pride to Protest

 

LGBTQ Pride Month events around the country are usually marked by celebratory parades featuring floats, dancers, and celebrities. And they've been especially joyous in recent years, following the Supreme Court's decision to legalize same-sex marriage. But, recently, the parades have shifted from pride to protest. "We've converted the parade, floats, and fun to a march for civil rights,” Said Brian Pendleton, a Resist March organizer.

 

 

The celebratory tone of recent LGBTQ Pride marches from San Francisco to Istanbul have been undergirded by an atmosphere of political expression and protest. "Vulnerable communities are under attack right now, and they’re suffering systemic oppression, including transphobia, homophobia, and racism," said Natalie James, an organizer at the New York City Pride march.

 

When parades and pride marches become protest rallies, and allies and advocates become activists, the message and tone evolve from celebration to demonstration. The focus is on defending LGBTQ rights and resisting efforts to take them away.  But, it can’t stop there. As one protest organizer said, "When do we stop becoming activists and when do we start becoming leaders?"

 

 

The leader of LA's Resist March, Brian Pendleton, believes the event is taking a page from LGBTQ history to face the future of American politics. "This idea that we're getting back to our roots as a protest organization rather than as a parading organization feels right," he says. And Pendleton hopes that when people participate in a march to resist, they can walk away proud.

 

NPR: From Pride to Protest at LGBTQ Parades

NBC News: Pride March Turns Into Protest

March March: Protest Song by The Chicks

Info: LGBTQ Activist Organizations

Chicago Tribune: Gay Pride Parades Across the Nation

LGBTQ Movements in the United States

Ian McKellan Reading Harvey Milk's Hope Speech

Rainbow Riots: LGBTQ Voices From Uganda

ABC News: Pride Marches Marked by Protests

YouTube: New York City Pride Parade Highlights

Info: LGBTQ Pride Parades

Indigo Girls: Go (March for Our Lives)

Reuters: Washington DC Gay Pride Draws Thousands

 

LGBTQ Social Movements

 

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) social movements are activist efforts that advocate for the acceptance and equality of LGBTQ people in society. In these social justice movements, LGBTQ people and their allies have a long history of campaigning for what is now generally called LGBTQ rights, sometimes also called gay rights or gay and lesbian rights. In the past, it was referred to as gay liberation.

 

 

These protest are aimed at institutions that discriminate against LGBTQ people. The demonstrations can target individual companies or organizations or they can, of course, target state or federal government.

 

Although there is not a primary or overarching central organization that represents all LGBTQ people and their interests, numerous LGBTQ rights organizations are active worldwide. The earliest organizations to support LGBTQ rights were formed in the 19th century.

 

 

A commonly stated goal among these movements is social equality for LGBTQ people. But there is still denial of full LGBTQ rights and there is much work still to be done. Some have also focused on building LGBTQ communities or worked towards freedom for the broader society from biphobia, homophobia, and transphobia. There is a struggle for LGBTQ rights today. LGBTQ movements organized today are made up of a wide range of political activism and cultural activity, including lobbying, boycotts, parades, street marches, protest rallies, social groups, concerts, film, art, media, journalism, and research.

 

PFLAG Founder Dies

Jeanne Manford Raised the Flag for Intolerance

12 Year Old Mexican Boy Faces Down Protesters During March

Info: LGBTQ Pride

LGBTQ Revolution

I Wish I Could Have Been That Brave Kid

How Harvey Milk Changed the Gay Rights Movement

Protesting White Supremacists

Info: Women's March

Protesting Anti-LGBTQ Protesters with Conga Line

Stunning Photo of Courageous Boy

92 Year Old Woman Holds Same Sign for 30 Years

Powerful LGBTQ Activism Quotes

Zach Wahls' Speech to Iowa House of Rep

Info: Black Lives Matter

Dance Party Protest

 

 

Stand Up and Fight

 

"Out of the closet and into the streets."

-Queer Nation

 

"Burst down those closet doors once and for all. And stand up and start to fight."

-Harvey Milk

 

"A right delayed is a right denied."

-Martin Luther King Jr

 

"Protest beyond the law is not a departure from democracy. It is absolutely essential to it."

-Howard Zinn

 

"When injustice becomes the law, resistance becomes a duty."

-Thomas Jefferson

 

 

"I believe in social dislocation and creative trouble. We need, in every community, a group of angelic troublemakers."

-Bayard Rustin

 

"It takes no compromise to give people their rights. It takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression."

-Harvey Milk

 

"It takes some intelligence and insight to figure out you're gay and then a tremendous amount of balls to live it and to live it proudly."

-Jason Bateman

 

"Love wins!"

-Rob Bell

 

"Will we be extremists for hate or will we be extremists for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice? Or will we be extremists for the cause of justice?"

-Martin Luther King Jr, Letter from Birmingham Jail

 

"We're here!  We're queer!  Get used to it!"

-Queer Nation

 

 

"We must fix what ain't right in our society."

-Dorothy Cotton

"Being gay is like glitter. It never goes away."

-Lady Gaga

 

"By any measure, LGBTQ people are targets of discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. More people are being murdered because of their sexual orientation than for any other bias reason. Our young people are still routinely bullied in schools. The examples of injustices in the area of partner and family recognition are too many to list. America is in the midst of another ugly chapter in its struggle with the forces of bigotry. People of good will can either rise up to speak for lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender Americans, or look back upon themselves 20 years from now with deserved shame."

-Matt Foreman, NGLTF Executive Director

 

"It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have."
-James Baldwin

 

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”

-Jimi Hendrix

 

Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network
Parents & Friends of Lesbians & Gays
Gay Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation

Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network
National LGBTQ Task Force

Human Rights Campaign

Southern Poverty Law Center

Campus Pride

Trevor Project

 

 

LGBTQ Activists

Harvey Milk - US Gay Rights Activist

Frank Kameny - Grandfather of US Gay Rights Movement

Bayard Rustin - US Civil Rights Activist w MLK
Angela Davis - US Political Activist
Larry Kramer - US Playwright and AIDS Activist

Cleve Jones - US LGBTQ and AIDS Activist, Founder of AIDS Quilt

Candace Gingrich - US Gay Rights Activist
Kate Kendell - NCLR Executive Director
Ruth Ellis - US Civil Rights Activist
Barbara Gittings - US Gay Rights Activist

Kate Bornstein - US Writer and Activist

Susan B Anthony - US Women's Suffrage Activist
Sarah McBride - US Trans Rights Activist

Jazz Jennings - US Trans Rights Activist

David Kato Kisule - US Teacher, Human Rights Activist

George Bellinger Jr - US AIDS Activist

Marsha P Johnson -  Stonewall Rebellion Activist

Sylvia Rivera - Stonewall Rebellion Activist

Alicia Garza - Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter

 

 

 

LGBTQ Activism

 

People who engage in civil disobedience should understand the risks involved, and most do. As a long-time political organizer from the 1960s onward, as an anti-war, LGBTQ, anti-racism, social justice activist, I have studied the philosophies and strategies of the abolitionist, suffrage and first-third wave feminist, union workers, civil rights, and other progressive movements. 

 

For example, we in ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) conducted highly visible demonstrations, often involving acts of nonviolent civil disobedience in which we on occasion placed ourselves at risk for arrest and even injury. ACT UP New York, as an early example, staged a sit-in on Wall Street in 1987 during rush hour to protest price gouging by pharmaceutical companies for antiviral drugs.

 

 

Our purpose was not to make nice. It was, rather, to make people uncomfortable and angry. We wanted to cause inconvenience by waking people up to realities around us. We challenged not only the status quo, but the complacency and, yes, the collusion of the so-called bystanders who would rather not have been inconvenienced by having to face the injustices surrounding them. 

 

In our AIDS activism, we not only challenged traditional means of scientific knowledge dissemination, but more importantly, we questioned the very mechanisms by which scientists conducted research, and, therefore, we helped redefine the very meaning of science.

 

 

The legislative tactics used by an increasing number of states to discourage nonviolent peaceful protest will have the reverse effect since it will empower increasing numbers of people to stand up to these injustices.

 

Joining together with my remarkable, dedicated, and steadfast friends in acts of civil disobedience has continually made real for me Margaret Mead’s insightful and stirring statement: Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

 

[Source: Warren J. Blumenfeld, LGBTQ Nation]

 

NPR: From Pride to Protest at LGBTQ Parades

NBC News: Pride March Turns Into Protest

March March: Protest Song by The Chicks

Ian McKellan Reading Harvey Milk's Hope Speech

Indigo Girls: Go (March for Our Lives)

Info: Women's March

Chicago Tribune: Gay Pride Parades Across the Nation

How Harvey Milk Changed the Gay Rights Movement

NYC Police Apologize for Raid on Stonewall Inn

Info: LGBTQ Pride Parades

Powerful LGBTQ Activism Quotes

ABC News: Pride Marches Marked by Protests

LGBTQ Movements in the United States

YouTube: New York City Pride Parade Highlights

Rainbow Riots: Freedom

The Activism of Harvey Milk

Reuters: Washington DC Gay Pride Draws Thousands

Info: LGBTQ Activist Organizations

LGBTQ Revolution

Rainbow Riots: Equal Rights

 

 

Gay Liberation

 

On June 27, 1969, New York's Stonewall Inn bar was raided by police, launching the now-famous Stonewall Riots.  This event is said to have been the beginning of the movement for Gay Rights or Gay Liberation.

 

The Gay Liberation movement of the late 1960s through the mid-1980s urged lesbians and gay men to engage in radical direct action, and to counter societal shame with gay pride. In the feminist spirit of the personal being political, the most basic form of activism was an emphasis on coming out to family, friends, and colleagues, and living life as an openly lesbian or gay person. In this period, annual political marches through major cities, usually held in June (to commemorate the Stonewall uprising), were still known as "Gay Liberation" marches.

 

 

It wasn't until later in the seventies (in urban gay centers) and well into the eighties in smaller communities, that the marches began to be called "gay pride parades." The movement involved the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities in North America, South America, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

 

Gay Liberation is also known for its links to the counterculture of the time, to groups like the Radical Faeries, and for the gay liberationists' intent to transform or redefine fundamental institutions of society such as gender and the nuclear family. In general, the politics were very radical. In order to achieve such liberation, consciousness raising and direct action were employed.

 

 

While HIV/AIDS activism and awareness (in groups such as ACT UP) radicalized a new wave of lesbians and gay men in the 1980s, and radical groups have continued to exist, by the early 1990s the radicalism of Gay Liberation was becoming eclipsed in the mainstream by newly-out, assimilationist, white gay men who stressed civil rights and mainstream politics.

 

Wikipedia: Stonewall Riots (New York)

Stonewall Riots: Beginning of the LGBTQ Movement

NYC Police Apologize for Raid on Stonewall Inn

Things You Missed in History: What Was the Compton’s Cafeteria Riot?

Wikipedia: Compton’s Cafeteria Riot (San Francisco)

Before the Riot at Stonewall, There Was a Sit In at Dewey's

 

Acting Up to Fight AIDS

 

ACT UP was formed in 1987, at the The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in New York. The writer Vito Russo wrote at the time that "living with AIDS in this country is like living through a war that's happening only for those people in the trenches. Every time a shell explodes you look around to discover that you've lost more of your friends. But nobody else notices, it isn't happening to them."

 

Larry Kramer had been asked to speak at the Lesbian and Gay Community Center as part of a rotating speaker series, and his well-attended speech focused on action to fight AIDS. Kramer spoke out against the Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC), which he perceived as politically impotent. Kramer had actually co-founded the GMHC but had resigned from its board of directors in 1983. According to Douglas Crimp, Kramer posed a question to the audience: "Do we want to start a new organization devoted to political action?" The answer was "a resounding yes." Approximately 300 people met two days later to form ACT UP.

 

 

They became confrontational about the government's complete lack of urgency towards the plight of the thousands of Gay men dying of AIDS. That was the face of AIDS at the time and no one seemed to care that so many were dying. And many were actively blocking (as many still do) the use of condoms for AIDS prevention. They called out Ronald Reagan and Cardinal O'Connor and Pope John Paul for their responsibility in the deaths of millions while they prevented treatment and prevention. Because of ACT UP, political leaders and the media were forced to pay attention to what was happening. Because of ACT UP things moved for the care and treatment of people living and dying with AIDS.


Anthony Fauci was one of the main targets. On the passing of Larry Kramer last year, Fauci write an appreciation of his friend, "Back then, I was the scientist leading the AIDS effort at the National Institutes of Health. To him, I was the face of the federal government. He decided the best way to bring attention to all of this was to come out and attack me — which he did publicly and in a somewhat vicious manner. He wrote an article I laugh about now, but it was on the front page of the magazine section of the San Francisco Examiner: an open letter to an incompetent idiot Dr. Anthony Fauci. He called me a murderer for being negligent about HIV. That shocked me a bit, but it got me to think that I needed to know a little more about this guy. So I reached out — and over the years we went from acquaintances who were adversarial to acquaintances who were less adversarial to friends to very, very dear friends."
The work is not finished and the ACT-UP model is one that has been replicated by many dealing with entrenched hostility and animus."
 

ACT UP Chronology: Actions and Accomplishments

ACT UP Changed Everything

ACT UP: AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power

Lessons From the AIDS Fight

 

Stonewall Riots

 

The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the LGBTQ community against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn, located in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. They are widely considered to constitute the single most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBTQ rights in the United States.

 

Gay Americans in the 1950s and 1960s faced an anti-gay legal system. Early homophile groups in the US sought to prove that gay people could be assimilated into society, and they favored non-confrontational education for homosexuals and heterosexuals alike. The last years of the 1960s, however, were very contentious, as many social movements were active, including the African American Civil Rights Movement, the Counterculture of the 1960s, and antiwar demonstrations. These influences, along with the liberal environment of Greenwich Village, served as catalysts for the Stonewall Riots.

 

 

 Very few establishments welcomed openly gay people in the 1950s and 1960s. Those that did were often bars, although bar owners and managers were rarely gay. At the time, the Stonewall Inn was owned by the Mafia. It catered to an assortment of patrons and was known to be popular among the poorest and most marginalized people in the gay community: drag queens, transgender people, effeminate young men, butch lesbians, male prostitutes, and homeless youth. Police raids on gay bars were routine in the 1960s, but officers quickly lost control of the situation at the Stonewall Inn. They attracted a crowd that was incited to riot. Tensions between New York City police and gay residents of Greenwich Village erupted into more protests the next evening, and again several nights later. Within weeks, Village residents quickly organized into activist groups to concentrate efforts on establishing places for gays and lesbians to be open about their sexual orientation without fear of being arrested.

 

 

After the Stonewall Riots, gays and lesbians in New York City faced gender, race, class, and generational obstacles to becoming a cohesive community. Within six months, two gay activist organizations were formed in New York, concentrating on confrontational tactics, and three newspapers were established to promote rights for gays and lesbians. Within a few years, gay rights organizations were founded across the US and the world. On June 28, 1970, the first Gay Pride marches took place in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago commemorating the anniversary of the riots. Similar marches were organized in other cities. Today, Gay Pride events are held annually throughout the world toward the end of June to mark the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

 

PFLAG Founder Dies

Jeanne Manford Raised the Flag for Intolerance

Ian McKellan Reading Harvey Milk's Hope Speech

Lessons From Stonewall for LGBTQ People Today

Indigo Girls: Go (March for Our Lives)

12 Year Old Mexican Boy Faces Down Protesters During March

I Wish I Could Have Been That Brave Kid

Info: Black Lives Matter

Stunning Photo of Courageous Boy

92 Year Old Woman Holds Same Sign for 30 Years

The Activism of Harvey Milk

Zach Wahls' Speech to Iowa House of Rep

Powerful LGBTQ Activism Quotes

Dance Party Protest

Info: Women's March

 

ACT UP Changed Everything

 

The HIV/AIDS protest group was the first great leap for the queer movement after Stonewall. In the years following Stonewall, diverse and vibrant queer cultures flourished, not necessarily hidden, but unknown to most straight people. AIDS devastated those communities, brutally killing so many and unleashing relentless attacks from religious and governmental homophobes.

Queer people responded by establishing social-service organizations and all varieties of care and support groups, but it was ACT UP that challenged the homophobic regime and forced the changes necessary to mitigate the AIDS crisis. ACT UP was the first great leap for the queer movement after Stonewall.

Although much political work was done from 1969 to 1987, ACT UP transformed queer organizing. Like any other activist group, ACT UP did not always live up to its best ideals, but its members encouraged, coaxed, and cajoled each other into fighting every day to make the change necessary to end the AIDS crisis.

 

I don’t think you can exaggerate the strength gained from lesbians, gay men, trans people, straight women, and a few straight men working together, learning from one another the wisdom of previous struggles. No doubt the most important experience came from the women’s movement and especially the feminist health movement, which understood the systems of oppression against women, people of color, and queer people endemic to the US health-care system. ACT UP made “health care is a right” into a mainstream idea, even if that concept is still being challenged 30 years on.

 


The care and creativity that went into designing posters and the cleverness that brought forth so many memorable, delightful chants altered the way demonstrations looked and sounded. Leadership was fluid; new people stood up as people died or exhausted themselves. Education within the movement was also democratized, so that everyone could be a spokesperson, not just a small elite. Ideas and needs arose from the membership, not imposed by leadership. The result was that ACT UP responded to the needs of the many, not to the needs of the elite. This is all very queer.

ACT UP brought real power to queer people for the first time. The events and subsequent grassroots political action that we now refer to as Stonewall brought visibility and self-esteem. Stonewall may have been more important for the changes it brought to the community than to the changes it made to the larger society. ACT UP, in contrast, changed the whole country. For the first time, the general public saw queer people as determined, strong, smart, articulate, and having a modicum of power.

 

Finally, ACT UP made gay sex joyous again. AIDS had re-stigmatized gay sex and provided our right-wing and homophobic enemies the ammunition to assault the queer community. The attacks were against the entire queer community—the homophobes did not care that lesbians rarely got AIDS. They were determined to obliterate our progress against heterosexual domination.

ACT UP was successful, but its fight didn’t end. Today HIV/AIDS is too often ignored as a problem of the past. Too many people are still being forgotten, especially people of color and trans people, and do not get the health care they need. The availability of pre-exposure prophylaxis, better known as PrEP, is not democratized. And people with HIV/AIDS are being criminalized and thrown in jail.


 

 

The elite, more conservative elements of the gay movement hijacked the success of AIDS activism to push for gay marriage and gays in the military. Gay marriage has become the new closet. It promotes a desexualized, normalized, contained, and controlled married gay person that straight people can be comfortable with. LGBTQ people have the right to marry and to fight in the military, but not the right to be queer.

ACT UP made progress, because it offered specific solutions to particular problems. Its actions engaged with the most profoundly intimate of subjects: sex, caregiving, and death. The challenges of the future (climate change, plutocracy, racism, homophobia, misogyny) will require different types of radical change, but it must include a commitment to sexual liberation.

[Source: Jim Hubbard, June 2019, Filmmaker, United in Anger: A History of ACT UP]

Remembering the Early Pioneers

Photo Left: PFLAG Moms, Mrs. Elizabeth Montgomery and Mrs. Jean Manford, show their support during the 1974 Pride Day Parade in New York City. Photo Right: PFLAG Dad, Dick Ashworth, a founding member of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG,) marching on June 3, 1974.

 

In 1972, Morton Manford was physically attacked at a gay rights demonstration in New York. Morty’s parents, Jeanne and Jules Manford, saw the attack on a local newscast and witnessed the failure of the police to intervene. Their outrage turned them into activists. The concept of PFLAG began in 1972 when Jeanne Manford marched with her gay son in New York’s Pride Day parade. After many gay men and lesbians ran up to Jeanne during the parade and begged her to talk to their parents, Jeanne decided to begin a support group. Approximately 20 people attended the first formal meeting held in March 1973 at a local church.


 

In the next years, through word of mouth and in response to community need, similar groups sprung up around the country, offering “safe havens” and mutual support for parents with gay and lesbian children. Following the 1979 National March for Gay and Lesbian Rights, representatives from these support groups met for the first time in Washington, DC. In 1981, members decided to launch a national organization. The first PFLAG office was established in Los Angeles under founding President Adele Starr.

 

In 1982, the Federation of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), then comprising some 20 groups, changed from a federation to a membership-based organization and was incorporated in California and granted non-profit, tax-exempt status. In 1990, following a period of enormous growth, PFLAG hired an Executive Director, expanded its staff, and consolidated operations in Washington, DC. In 1993, the word “Families” was added to the name.

 

LGBTQ Social Movements

Info: Women's March

NPR: From Pride to Protest at LGBTQ Parades

LGBTQ Revolution

March March: Protest Song by The Chicks

Info: LGBTQ Activist Organizations

APA: History of LGBTQ Social Movements

Gay Pride Signs

How Harvey Milk Changed the Gay Rights Movement

NBC News: Pride March Turns Into Protest

NYC Police Apologize for Raid on Stonewall Inn

Info: LGBTQ Pride Parades

LGBTQ Nation: Protest News

Life Lessons I've Learned From an LGBTQ Activist

Info: Black Lives Matter

The Activism of Harvey Milk

Is Pride a Protest or a Party?

 

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QUEER CAFE │ LGBTQ Information Network │ Established 2017