1965 April 17

Mattachine Society Pickets White House to Demand Equal Rights for Homosexuals


The Mattachine Society picketed the White House on behalf of equal rights for homosexuals on this day in one of the few, very early public demonstrations for gay rights prior to the Stonewall Inn riots, on June 28, 1969 (the riots actually lasted for several days).

The Mattachine Society was founded as the first national gay men’s organization on November 11, 1950. The leading organizer was Harry Hay. The first national lesbian organization was the Daughters of Bilitis, founded on September 21, 1955. The Stonewall Inn riots are generally credited with launching a major, national and militant lesbian and gay rights movement.

Learn about the history of the Mattachine Society: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkK02_6NBKI

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)

Watch a documentary on Mattachine Society founder Harry Hay: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWddMmLOgHw

Examine the FBI file on the Mattachine Society: http://vault.fbi.gov/mattachine-society

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

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