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!
The Homosexual in America
The first cover story on gay rights in a national magazine
On Oct. 31, 1969, Time devoted it cover story to “The Homosexual in America.” According to Time “inverts” are divided into six “homosexual types.” Time reported: “Though they still seem fairly bizarre to most Americans, homosexuals have never been so visible, vocal or closely scrutinized by research. They throw public parties, frequent exclusively ‘gay’ bars (70 in San Francisco alone), and figure sympathetically as the subjects of books, plays and films. Encouraged by the national climate of openness about sex of all kinds and the spirit of protest, male and female inverts have been organizing to claim civil rights for themselves as an aggrieved minority. Their new militancy makes other citizens edgy, and it can be shrill. … Most straight Americans still regard the invert with a mixture of revulsion and apprehension, to which some authorities have given the special diagnostic name of homosexual panic. A Louis Harris poll released last week reported that 63% of the nation consider homosexuals ‘harmful to American life,’ and even the most tolerant parents nervously watch their children for real or imagined signs of homosexuality.”
The Candlestick Murder
Charleston, South Carolina, News and Courier, November 2, 1958
Jack Dobbins, a 30-year-old Charleston chemical company executive was clubbed to death with a heavy brass candlestick, in his home Halloween night 1958.
Charleston Air Force Base, Airman 3rd Class John Joseph Mahon surrendered “upon having read of Dobbins’ death.” He was charged and held without bail. Facing the death penalty at trial, Mahon’s lawyers used a homosexual-panic defense. Despite the conflicting testimony, Mahon received a not guilty verdict after only eight minutes of jury deliberation.
June 29, 1986. Marchers carrying a banner and signs protesting California Proposition 64 — known as the LaRouche Initiative, after political activist Lyndon LaRouche, who proposed it — parade down San Francisco’s Market Street during the 17th annual Freedom Day Parade. The LaRouche Initiative, which was on the Nov. 4, 1986, ballot, proposed that all AIDS patients be quarantined and barred from school and food service jobs. It was rejected.
Photo: Jim Gerberich / The Associated Press
The Briggs Initiative Protest, 1978
The Briggs Initiative sought to ban gays and lesbians from serving as public school teachers in California. It also would have allowed for civil lawsuits against school employees seen to be supporting gay rights.
Photo by Pat Rocco. Courtesy ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives
AIDS patient David Freeman with some of the 112 pills he was taking daily to fight the disease, 1997.
© Randy Bazemore/Miami Herald/Newscom
AZT [Zidovudine], the first antiretroviral medication approved to fight HIV.
© NDX Photos/Newscom.
Gay Cancer, pre-GRID — precursor to the AIDS Crisis
New York Times, 1981