1953 April 11

Mattachine Society Draws 500 to Gay Rights Convention in LA


The Mattachine Society, the first national gay men’s organizations in the U.S., was founded by activist Harry Hay on November 11, 1950. Its convention at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Los Angeles on this day drew five hundred people. The number was particularly remarkable, given the national homophobic scare that had erupted in the early 1950s.

The first gay rights group in the U.S. was the Society for Human Rights, founded on November 10, 1924. Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, meanwhile, helped found The Daughters of Bilitis, the first national lesbian rights organization on September 21, 1955.

Watch an interview with Harry Hayhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSO5Y8fGac4

Read: James T. Sears, Behind the Mask of the Mattachine: The Hall Call Chronicles and the Early Movement for Homosexual Emancipation (2006)

Learn more: Stuart Timmons, The Trouble with Harry Hay: Founder of the Modern Gay Movement (1990)

Learn more about the Mattachine Society of Washington, DC here.

Read about the history of the GLBT revolution: Lillian Faderman, The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle (2015)

Read the FBI file on the Mattachine Societyhttp://vault.fbi.gov/mattachine-society

Visit the GLBT Historical Society and Museum in San Francisco: http://www.glbthistory.org/

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