California's "Gay Revolution" in the Stonewall Era


Tuesday, June 25, 2019 6:00PM

California's "Gay Revolution" in the Stonewall Era
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California's "Gay Revolution" in the Stonewall Era


Where: California Historical Society Headquarters, 678 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

Cost: $5 General Admission, Free for CHS Members, plus one guest per membership.

On the Fourth of July in 1969, the Berkeley Barb published one of the earliest media reports on the Stonewall Riots in New York City. The article was authored by Leo Laurence, one of the co-founders of San Francisco’s Committee for Homosexual Freedom, and “Gays Hit NY Cops” began by declaring, “Homosexuals took to the streets in New York City last weekend and joined the revolution.” Laurence’s account was supportive of the rioters, but deliberately noted that those who had fought back at Stonewall were “joining” rather than “starting” the revolution. J. Marks, identified as the author of Rock and Other Four-Letter Words and an eyewitness to the riots, was quoted as telling Laurence, “The gay community in New York City has been inspired by your homosexual liberation stories in the BARB.” These stories, which began appearing several months before Stonewall, had reported on the Bay Area’s “gay revolution” as well as the alliances that gay radicals had tried to forge with other leftist movements, and the demonstrations that CHF had organized to protest police violence, capitalist exploitation, and the war machine.

This presentation introduces a set of California developments that are highlighted in Marc Stein’s forthcoming book, The Stonewall Riots: A Documentary History (NYU Press, June 2019). After reviewing pre-Stonewall direct action protests in California, the presentation turns to the Stonewall era, focusing on how news about the riots reached the West Coast, how Californians viewed the uprising in relation to pre-Stonewall developments, and how Golden State residents responded to the news from New York.

About our Speaker:

Marc Stein is the Jamie and Phyllis Pasker Professor of History at San Francisco State University and the vice chair of the GLBT Historical Society Board of Directors. He is the author of City of Sisterly and Brotherly Loves: Lesbian and Gay Philadelphia (University of Chicago Press, 2000), Sexual Injustice: Supreme Court Decisions from Griswold to Roe (University of North Carolina Press, 2010), and Rethinking the Gay and Lesbian Movement (Routledge, 2012). He also served as editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia of LGBT History in America (Scribners, 2003) and guest editor of the Homophile Internationalism special issue of the Journal of Homosexuality (2017). His next book, The Stonewall Riots: A Documentary History, will be published in June 2019 by NYU Press. To learn more about the book, explore its NYU Page.


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