Hippie Faggots! Smash the Church, Smash the State!
Out in Berkeley, California, the only gay bar in the city, the White Horse Inn, refused to serve hippie faggots. Nick Benton writes in the recent anthology, Smash the Church, Smash the State! The Early Years of Gay Liberation, “A picket line [was] thrown up in front of the bar by some gay radical brothers and sisters, protesting the fact that long-haired, hippie type gays were not welcome in the bar and that touching was, naturally in that day, also prohibited.” Such discrimination is not unusual within freedom movements. In their drive for mainstream acceptance, the gay and lesbian movement, like the civil rights movement before it, has been divided over how much to compromise in efforts to gain mainstream acceptance. Older gay men, for whom just being able to go to a gay bar was a huge step forward, were understandably worried about loosing their toehold on propriety by associating with social outcasts like hippies or drag queens, both of whom were pushing the boundaries of acceptable behavior.
There should be no compromise!
Le Journal de Montreal, October 1977, front page coverage of police raids on gay bars Truxx and Le Mystique.
About two thousand of Montreal’s gay community took to the streets and jammed downtown Ste. Catherine Street very early on Sunday morning shouting “fascist dogs” and “gestapo” at motorcycle police who were called to clear the area. The focus of the anger was the brutal “morality squad” raids early Saturday morning at Truxx and Le Mystique, two gay bars. Police barged in wielding machine guns and bullet-proof vests as they arrested 144 men for being in a “bawdy house” or for “gross indecency” — common charges for anyone who was thought to be gay.
Those raids capped two years of nearly constant police harassment and raids which had begun as a campaign to “clean up” the city in preparation for the 1976 Olympics. But with this latest raid, the gay community fought back in what was later dubbed, “Quebec’s Stonewall.” Also different this time, gays and lesbians had the news media’s support. By the end of the year, the Parti Québéois adopted Bill 88 which ensured that sexual orientation would be covered under the province’s Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms which prohibited all forms of discrimination. However, the change failed to have much of an appreciable affect, and police raids would continue until Montreal’s “other” Stonewall rebellion in 1990 following a riotous raid of a loft party.
Demonstration at the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix Office, 10 June 1975
In Saskatchewan’s first gay demonstration twenty people demonstrated at the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix office to protest the newspaper’s refusal to print an advertisement submitted by the Gay Community Centre. The ad reported the results of a poll taken of candidates running in the 1975 provincial election.
Photo: Neil Richards
Star-Phoenix Picketed. Gay Community Protests Ad Decision
An account of the first gay demonstration in Saskatchewan. In June 1975 a small group marched at the office of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix angered by the the newspaper’s decision not to accept an ad from the Gay Community Centre. The ad listed the positions of Saskatoon election candidates relating to human rights legislation. The protestors declared that the ad refusal was just “one example of how gay people were refused access to the press.”