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Houston Voice, April 8, 2005
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Houston Voice, April 8, 2005 - File 013. 2005-04-08. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. December 14, 2017. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/4133/show/4120.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(2005-04-08). Houston Voice, April 8, 2005 - File 013. Montrose Voice. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/4133/show/4120

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Voice, April 8, 2005 - File 013, 2005-04-08, Montrose Voice, University of Houston Libraries, accessed December 14, 2017, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/4133/show/4120.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Voice, April 8, 2005
Contributor
  • Crain, Chris
  • Fisher, Binnie
Publisher Window Media
Date April 8, 2005
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
  • Gay liberation movement
Place
  • Houston, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 31485329
Rights In Copyright: This item is protected by copyright. Copyright to this resource is held by the creator or current rights holder, and the resource is provided here for educational purposes. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without permission of the copyright owner. Users assume full responsibility for any infringement of copyright or related rights.
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 013
Transcript GAY HOUSTON NIGHTLIFE, ARTS & CULTURE www.houstonvoice.com Anwar Robinson next? Those damned bloggers seem determined to have a gay contestant on 'American Idol.' Page 19 APRIL 8, 2005 pivotal protest APRIL 17 MARKS THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF HISTORIC, PRE-STONEWALL DEMONSTRATION By BRIAN MOYLAN ORTY YEARS AGO, JACK NICHOLS and his partner, Elijah Clarke, sat on the floor of their home in D.C. making signs for a gay civil rights protest. Nichols' friend and gay roommate said. "You guys are crazy. People are going to attack you." "No they aren't," Nichols replied. "They're just going to stand there and ooh and ah, just like you are now." Nichols was right. On April 17,1965, he and nine other protesters — including gay civil rights pioneers Frank Kameny and Lilli Vincenz — held a gay civil rights protest in front of the White House for two hours, and no one was attacked. To honor the anniversary of this pivotal protest, the Rainbow History Project, a group dedicated to preserving Washington, D.C.'s gay history, has posted information about these early gay civil rights advocates on the group's Web site at www.rainbowhistoryorg/pickets.htm. "With the possible exception of a picket in New York, this was the first pubUc demonstration by gay men and lesbians," says David K. Johnson, author of "The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government" and a history professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa. "This was the beginning of a whole series of organized demonstrations." The previous protest in New York was a spontaneous event led by six civil rights activists in New York City who publicly voiced their objection, in front of the Whitehall Induction Center, to the military's anti-gay policies. That first demonstration in D.C. was arranged overnight, but it was a long time coming. It all began in 1961, when Kameny founded a D.C. chapter of the Mattachine Society, a social and political group for gays that started in Los Angeles in 1950. In April 1965, Nichols and Clarke heard reports that Fidel Castro was putting gay people into work camps in Cuba, and they decided this would be the perfect reason for a picket. They called Kameny, who eventually agreed that the time was right for a demonstration. "I always felt that we would [picket] some day and soon," Nichols, 27 at the time. says. "But nothing ever seemed to be so significant that it required that we do it. But putting people away [in camps] filled the bill." The two men started calling up friends and fellow activists to try to round up a group for the next day; Nichols made the signs. "Except for Lilli Vincenz's," he says. "She made her own. She was always very independent." Vincenz, 27. says that she got a call from Nichols and agreed to attend, even though she was to take the two- part test for Mensa {the "high IQ" club) the next day. "I was [at the test] with my shopping bag and my HE!B!j A group of protesters picketing for gay civil rights in 1965 in front of the Pentagon. This was part of a series of actions that year after the initial demonstration in front of the White House on April 17 (Photo by Kay Tobin Lahusen) sign," she recalls. "But the picket was at a certain time, so I didn't have time to take the second test." Twenty-two then, Paul Kuntzler, a Mattachine member says he got a call from Kameny and agreed to attend. Nichols also recruited Gail Green, who also was 22 at the time and married to her first husband. The other five protesters who attended that day were Gene Kleeberg, bisexual Judith "J.D." Kuch, Perrin Shaffer, Jon Swanson, and Otto Ulrich. Shaffer and Ulrich are now deceased. GREEN, WHO RECALLS THE EVENT AS "EXCITING," said she was a bit afraid. "We were more or less afraid we would lose our jobs," she says. Nichols says he wouldn't let Clarke attend the protest because he worked in the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and would likely lose his job. Vincenz. who was expelled from the military in 1963 for being a lesbian, was working as a waitress at the time. "I was between careers, and I could afford to do it," she says. "We all could afford to do it or could take the risk.' Vincenz eventually became a psychoanalyst. The news media were not notified before the event so that no one could prevent the demonstration or investigate the people who were there. The picket was covered briefly in the Washington Afro-American. The protest took place without a hitch and bolstered everyone's spirits. Shaffer and Ulrich wore sunglasses during the event to partially hide their identities. "On a deep level, I had the feeling that we were doing something important by helping our society," Green says. Vincenz echoed Green. "Next to my wedding ... that was the most important day of my life," she says. Both Vincenz, 67, and Kameny say that the direct action their group took put them at odds with many gay people at the time, who would have preferred to stay in the closet. "There were people who disapproved on a variety of levels, saying that this was undignified," Kameny says. Nichols had other feelings about the protest. "I was certainly glad that we had the gumption to do what we did, but I wasn't patting myself on the back," he says. There were more protests to come. FIRST, IT WAS BACK AT the White House on May 29, then in front of the U.S. Civil Service Commission on June 26, next at the Pentagon on July 31, on to the U.S. State Department on Aug. 28, and finally back at the White House on Oct. 23. The final White House picket had a contingent from the newly formed Chicago Mattachine Society, bolstering the numbers to 65. By then, the Mattachine Society had a system for notifying the media before and after each protest to gain attention and coverage. News organizations like Reuters, magazines like Confidential, and even CBS News covered the protests, organizers said. Certain guidlines were established for protests that included men wearing suits and ties and women wearing dresses. The idea was to give homosexuality the best image possible for the public, organizers said. Also that year, Mattachine joined the Philadelphia chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis, a lesbian group, and began holding an annual protest on July 4 in front of Philadelphia's historic Independence Hall. It took place every year through 1969, but was called off in 1970 in observance of Christopher Street Liberation Day, one of the nation's first Gay Pride events nation. THIS YEAR, ON MAY 1, PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Edward Rendell, a Democrat, is scheduled to unveil a plaque in front of Independence Hall commemorating the protests. "We were the fringe of the fringe of the outer fringe," Kameny says. "We've gone from the fringe to being remembered personages." M0VIN' IN: A gay former Houstonian is back with the touring cast of the hit Broadway show, 'Movin' Out.' Page 15 MARTHA D0ESNT KNOW: Don't get your Houston gardening advice from Martha Stewart. Page 16
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