It Didn't All Start at Stonewall! Meet Two Pioneers of Queer Liberation Jan. 15

author: 
Mark Gabrish Conlan/Zenger's Newsmagazine

It Didn’t All Start at Stonewall!
Meet Two of the REAL Pioneers of Gay Liberation
Monday, January 16 • 7 p.m.
Joyce Beers Community Center, Hillcrest (end of Vermont Street north of University Avenue)

Three months before the Stonewall Inn riots in New York city in June 1969 which are commonly — but wrongly — thought to be the start of the Gay liberation movement, a group of Gay activists in San Francisco started the nation’s first Gay Liberation Front. After one of their members was fired from his job for being Gay and “outing” himself via a photo in the Bay Area’s legendary underground newspaper, the Berkeley Barb, the San Francisco Gay Liberation Front mounted the first Gay-rights demonstration against a private employer in U.S. history in March 1969. Later on the San Francisco Gay Liberation Front built a coalition with other radical groups in the Bay Area and ultimately got the Black Panther Party to endorse the Gay rights movement. Two participants in this history live in San Diego today and will be speaking to Activist San Diego at its January 16, 2012 general meeting. They are:

• Leo E. Laurence, co-founder of the San Francisco Gay Liberation Front and its predecessor organization, the Committee for Homosexual Freedom, and currently associate editor of Zenger’s Newsmagazine and activist with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (L.E.A.P.), supporting an end to laws against marijuana; and

• Pat Brown, a participant in the early actions of the Gay Liberation Front who is currently active in the anti-circumcision and alternative AIDS movements.

Come to Activist San Diego's January 16 general meeting and hear a slice of Gay movement history that has been ignored or swept under the rug by East Coast-centric historians who have a hard time accepting that the roots of the Gay movement are in California. Hear from two of the pioneers who are both still active in human rights struggles. For more information on the history of San Francisco’s Gay liberation pioneers, visit http://www.galechesterwhittington.com/beyondnormal.html, the Web site of Gale Whittington, the man who appeared with Leo Laurence in the Barb photo and whose firing by the States Steamship Lines sparked the first Gay-rights demonstration ever against a discriminatory private employer in the U.S.