1964 September 19

Nation’s First Gay Rights Demonstration Held


The New York League for Sexual Freedom and The Homosexual League of New York conducted a demonstration on this day at the Whitehall Army Induction Center in New York City to protest the military’s anti-gay policies. This event is believed to be the first gay rights demonstration in the U.S.

The campaign for lesbian and gay rights became a national movement after the Stonewall Inn riots on June 28, 1969. The next year, lesbian and gay rights activists organized the first Gay Pride marches, which became annual events. See June 27, 1970 and June 28, 1970.

Among many important milestones in the fight for lesbian and gay rights, the U. S. government finally dropped the ban on homosexuals serving in the military on September 20, 2011.

The first lesbian and gay rights movement in the world originated in Berlin, Germany, in the 1860s. This included the invention of the word “homosexuality.” Read Robert Beachy, Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity (2014).

Listen to people talk about coming out in the 1960s: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuTKpVug_ss

Learn more: Vern Bullough, Before Stonewall: Activists for Gay and Lesbian Rights in Historical Context (2002)

Visit the GLBT History Museum in San Francisco: http://www.glbthistory.org/museum/

Learn more at a valuable documentary history: Jonathan Katz, ed., Gay American History: Lesbian and Gay Men in American History, A Documentary (1976)

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