On our social media pages, along with the events that we run, we like to highlight some historical events as an attempt to showcase the groups who came before us who have paved the way for groups such as ourselves to exist. Here are some of our favourites, follow us on twitter and facebook for more!
Street Transvestites Action Revolutionaries (STAR)
Street Transvestites Action Revolutionaries (STAR) (1970-1973) was a collective and shelter for trans people.
Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera were concerned about the issues facing trans individuals, particularly those who had to pursue sex work to support themselves.
The first shelter they started in an abandoned tractor trailer which no longer became feasible because apparently the owner came to recover the trailer and drove off with everyone inside. STAR then moved onto to renovate a burnt outbuilding on the Lower East Side. STAR helped individuals to form a collective, sharing food, money, and company.
On September 9, 1992, sixty New York City dykes made history when they met in Middle Village, Queens on the first day of school. They didn't chain themselves to anything, or clash with cops. They did something much scarier. They stood outside an elementary school as open dykes, and gave balloons to school kids that encouraged them to "Ask about Lesbian Lives."
Gay Liberation Front
The Gay Liberation Front was a series of meetings and protests inspired by the Stonewall Riots, starting in 1970.
They wrote up demands of equal rights for homosexuals and that sex education would no longer be exclusively heterosexual among other things.
'GAY IS GOOD!
All power to oppressed people!'
Learn more about the GLF here thanks to LSE Library.
Act Up (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) is an international, grassroots political group working to end the AIDS Pandemic. The group have always taken part in activism and the fantastic film 120 BPM offers a little bit of stylised insight into the work they did.
They describe themselves as a group 'united in anger and committed to direct action to end the AIDS crisis. We meet with government officials, we distribute the latest medical information, we protest and demonstrate. We are not silent.'
Compton Cafeteria Riots
The Compton’s Cafeteria Riot occurred in August 1966 in San Fransico. The incident was one of the first LGBT-related riots in US history, preceding the Stonewall Riots. It marked the beginning of trans activism in San Franscisco.
Compton’s Cafeteria was one of the few places in which trans people could congregate publicly in the city, particularly as they were unwelcome in gay bars due to transphobia. Compton’s management and staff frequently called the police when they were present causing them to be harassed and arrested for a crime called ‘female impersonation’. The management eventually implemented a service fee directed as trans individuals and harassed them in an attempt to get them to leave. In response to police arrests, the trans community launched a picket of Compton’s Cafeteria.
The exact date of the riot is unknown because 1960 police records no longer exist and the riot was not covered by newspapers.
Cooper Do-nuts Riots
The Cooper Do-nuts Riot of May 1959 was a small uprising that was in response to police harassment of LGBTQ individuals at the 24-hour Cooper Do-nuts café in Los Angeles. This took place 10 years prior to the Stonewall riots and is viewed by some as the first modern LGBT uprising in the United States.
One evening two police officers entered the café asking for IDs and then attempted to arrest a number of LGBTQ+ individuals. One of those arrested was John Rechy (notable for writing the novel City of Night). One of the arrested began to protest the lack of room in the police car and onlookers began throwing coffee, donuts, cups, and trash at the police until they left without making the arrests. This led to rioting in the streets and the police backup came to arrest more individuals.
To learn more check out this article or read: Lillian Faderman & Stuart Timmons (2009) Gay L.A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, and Lipstick Lesbians.
All photos sourced from linked websites unless stated otherwise.