Celebrate our history | 7th June | LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA!

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Directed by: Gregorio Adam Davila
Produced by: Richard Xavier Corral & Mario J. Novoa

Most consider the NY Stonewall Riots of 1969 to be the birth of the LGBTQ civil rights movement. But there have been activists, artists and innovators in L.A. since the turn of the 20th century. These unsung pioneers paved the way for the Stonewall Riots and for us all.


LA A Queer History seeks to shed light on a part of American history and historical figures who are largely unacknowledged, and in turn, create a newfound dialogue about not only LGBTQ history, but how our Gay and Lesbian brothers and sisters effect the world we live in today. This dialogue will ultimately create a better understanding of the truly unique and utterly American culture of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender community.

The evening’s screening will world premiere clips from L.A. A Queer History as well as Davila’s award winning short Nancy From East Side Clover. Also rarely seen LGBTQ shorts from the ’60s and ’70s by L.A. filmmakers Marshall Goldman and Pat Rocco.

Sunday, 5:00-9:30p
TICKETS

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Before there was Stonewall

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L.A. HEROES STANDING UP TO ABUSE AND FIGHTING BACK AGAINST DISCRIMINATION BEFORE 1969

Cops here routinely raided bars arresting anyone whose perceived gender didn’t match what was on their ID, sometimes they’d even single out a few victims for special attention in the form of insults and beatings. Entrapment was common – attractive vice cops would go to Gay bars, bathrooms and cruising spots, pick up folks and arrest them, or wait outside of Gay hangouts, trail two men as they walked home and break in to catch them in flagrante delicto.

MAY 1959 At the first recorded protest by Homophiles in the world, LGBT patrons clashed with police at Cooper’s Donuts on Main Street, a hang-out for drag queens and street hustlers who were frequently harassed by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). Police arrested three customers but others began pelting the police with donuts and coffee cups. The LAPD called for back-up and arrested a number of rioters; the three original detainees were able to escape.

MAY 1966 A coalition of Homosexual organizations organized demonstrations for Armed Forces Day to protest the exclusion of LGBT from the U.S. armed services. The Los Angeles group held a 15-car motorcade, which has been identified as the nation’s first Gay pride parade.

JANUARY 1967 The LAPD raided the New Year’s Eve parties at two Gay bars, the Black Cat Tavern and New Faces. Several patrons were injured and a bartender was hospitalized with a fractured skull. Several hundred people spontaneously demonstrated on Sunset Boulevard and picketed outside the Black Cat to protest police raids on Gay establishments.

FEBRUARY 1967 Organized by the owner of Gay bar Pandora’s Box, and built on the Black Cat protests of weeks earlier, about 200 LGBTs watched as around 40 picketers demonstrated in front of the Black Cat in solidarity with other minority groups who had been targeted by police for harassment and violence.

MARCH 1968 Two drag queens known as “The Princess” and “The Duchess” held a St. Patrick’s Day party at Griffith Park, a popular cruising spot and a frequent target of police activity. More than 200 Gay men socialized through the day to protest entrapment and harassment by the LAPD.

MAY 1968 LGBT groups organized a “Gay-in” in Griffith Park.

AUGUST 1968 Following the arrest of two patrons in a raid, The Patch owner Lee Glaze organized the other patrons to move on the police station. After buying out a nearby flower shop, the demonstrators caravanned to the station, festooned it with the flowers and bailed out the arrested men.

REFERENCES: Queerty, Wikipedia, Gay L. A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, And Lipstick Lesbians
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Equality Rules! 26th June 2013 – LA

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With Sharp, David Villegas, Dave Alexson, Kersu Dalal, Justin Emerick, Tom Trafelet, Durk Dehner (and Mack) and Esteban Bartholo Iriarte

The Black Cat Tavern was established in 1966. Two months later, on the night of New Year’s 1967, several plain-clothes police officers infiltrated the Black Cat Tavern. After arresting several patrons for kissing as they celebrated the occasion, the undercover police officers began beating several of the patrons and ultimately arrested thirteen patrons and three bartenders. This created a riot in the immediate area that expanded to include the bar across Sanborn Avenue called New Faces where officers knocked down the owner (a woman) and beat two bartenders unconscious.

Several days later, this police action incited a civil demonstration of over 200 attendees to protest the raids. The demonstration was organized by a group called PRIDE (Personal Rights in Defense and Education). The protest was met by squadrons of armed policemen. Two of the men arrested for kissing were later convicted under state law and registered as sex offenders. The men appealed, asserting their right of equal protection under the law, but the U.S. Supreme Court did not accept their case.

It was from this event that the publication The Advocate began as a newspaper for PRIDE (Personal Rights in Defense and Education). Together the raid on the Black Cat Tavern and later the raid on The Patch in August 1968 inspired the formation of the Metropolitan Community Church.

These events in Los Angeles pre-dated the Stonewall riots by over two years.

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