Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


I am your worst fear. I am your best fantasy.
June 24, 2011 4:18 PM   Subscribe

Gay Pride in New York in the 1970s - a collection of photos.
posted by desjardins (55 comments total) 42 users marked this as a favorite

 
Dude with the sign "I am proud of my gay son", you fucking rock.
posted by bwg at 4:24 PM on June 24, 2011 [32 favorites]


Great shots.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:26 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fashion seems to have come around full-circle; other than afros, that's pretty much what a protest consisting of young people looks like today, too.

Too bad we have to keep having these marches over and over regarding the same darn things so many years later.

Oh, all the "Anita" stuff a ways down - I think it refers to this.
posted by AzraelBrown at 4:27 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't understand what the, "We are only number two, but we try harder," sign means.
posted by cmoj at 4:28 PM on June 24, 2011


I love this one - they look so comfortable, so peaceful, so secure in their surroundings. I've been to plenty of pride events and I always loved the feeling that no one would harm me. I was safe amongst "my people."
posted by desjardins at 4:29 PM on June 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Brave people.
posted by Trurl at 4:31 PM on June 24, 2011


The 70s were just awesome. I love how everyone looks.
posted by Ideefixe at 4:32 PM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Actually, I don't understand a lot of these. "Suk don't fuk?" Was sodomy THAT taboo?

There are several that either seem to or explicitly do equate lesbianism with stickin' it to the man. I guess there's a lot of overlap between lesbians and feminists, but it seems like a bizarre attitude that your sexual preference is a choice made out of defiance.

Awesome shots, though... I want to know a lot of these people.
posted by cmoj at 4:32 PM on June 24, 2011


It's awesome to see pictures of the women who marched. Stonewall may have kicked things off, but damn, the ladies done represent.

It's also totally offputting to be all "woah, she's cute," and then remember that the woman in question is probably the same age as my mom.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 4:33 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, god.....the facial hair.......
posted by schmod at 4:35 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


LGBT Community Rallies for PFC Bradley Manning at Pride Events
posted by jeffburdges at 4:36 PM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


"New York's first gay pride was 1970."

Actually that was the first Gay Pride ever, anywhere.

Here is a video of people who were there that day describing their experience complete with archival footage of the event.
posted by hippybear at 4:37 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Avis adopted the slogan "We Try Harder" in the 1960s because they were a distant #2 to Hertz. I'm guess the joke here is that LGBT have to try harder because they are are distant #2 (in number, in status, take your pick) to the heteronormative population. It'd be like saying "Where's the beef?" in the '80s or something.
posted by 2bucksplus at 4:37 PM on June 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


Dude with the sign "I am proud of my gay son", you fucking rock.
posted by bwg at 7:24 PM on June 24 [3 favorites +] [!]


That photo is making me cry (with joy) - the PFLAG marchers always do. Supportive parents and family and friends are so very precious.
posted by jb at 4:38 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The 70s were just awesome. I love how everyone looks.

Oh, god.....the facial hair.......


Yes. Being born in 1968 means, for me, the "look" of the '70s is permanently imprinted on me as being how people should look. I love all that. The clothes, the hair, the facial hair....

*sigh* *swoon*
posted by hippybear at 4:39 PM on June 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


It feels like popular images of gays in the 80's and 90's were shadowed by AIDS. But, these pictures of beautiful people expressing love look a lot like what Pride looks like now. Thanks for this post. It has made me very happy.
posted by munchingzombie at 4:43 PM on June 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Old enough to recall those times, though not gay, but as noted, it broke wide open like Gay Spring (Arab Spring) because of
STONEWALL RIOTS, 1969
posted by Postroad at 4:50 PM on June 24, 2011


Frank Kameny is holding the "Gay is Good" sign.
posted by ryanshepard at 4:53 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


cmoj: "I guess there's a lot of overlap between lesbians and feminists, but it seems like a bizarre attitude that your sexual preference is a choice made out of defiance."

Lesbian Feminism is still a thing, but not as popular as it was then. There was a strong Leftist current (less prominent today) that rejected pretty much all explanations of human behavior via biology as being intrinsically fascist. This included embracing the idea that you could treat your selection of sexual partner as a political choice.
posted by idiopath at 4:55 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Stonewall Uprising is the preferred term. There's an excellent documentary on it which American Experience is hosting for online viewing. Highly recommended.
posted by hippybear at 4:55 PM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


The San Francisco Chronicle has a small collection of photos and news articles from the 1970s and 1980s with some video of the 1978 parade down at the bottom.

Somewhere online there's video of KTVU covering one of the early parades, but I can't find it (partly because I keep wanting to google KTVU and I remember that not being in the title of the video because I remember thinking 'Oh, hey, it's KTVU').
posted by hoyland at 4:58 PM on June 24, 2011



There are several that either seem to or explicitly do equate lesbianism with stickin' it to the man. I guess there's a lot of overlap between lesbians and feminists, but it seems like a bizarre attitude that your sexual preference is a choice made out of defiance.


Political lesbianism is a radical feminist position - although political lesbians weren't necessarily lesbian in the sense of having sex with women. Sheila Jeffrey's Love your Enemy? is probably a key text, and says of political lesbianism:

"We do think that all feminists can and should be lesbians. Our definition of a political lesbian is a woman-identified woman who does not fuck men. It does not mean compulsory sexual activity with women."
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:58 PM on June 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


This is a spectacular collection of pics - thanks for sharing. If I started picking favorites, I think I'd end up with a hundred links.
posted by scody at 4:59 PM on June 24, 2011


Thank you for posting this! We are sitting watching the NY Senate, hoping that the dreams of many of those people comes true tonight.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:00 PM on June 24, 2011


Hahaah!
Serendipity!
posted by Senor Cardgage at 5:09 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow and Village Cigar is still there.
posted by 2bucksplus at 5:13 PM on June 24, 2011


Best wishes to those of you in New York
posted by desjardins at 5:13 PM on June 24, 2011


BTW, if any of you fools are in the Bay Area, the best movie theater in the world (that Ive been to) is screening Stonewall Uprising for free no less.


TUESDAY JUNE 28 FREE SCREENING!

KQED Presents
STONEWALL UPRISING 7:00

When police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in the Greenwich Village section of New York City on June 28, 1969, the street erupted into violent protests that lasted for the next six days. The Stonewall riots, as they came to be known, marked a major turning point in the modern gay civil rights movement in the United States and around the world. Directed by Kate Davis and David Heilbroner. 2010 | 82 min
posted by Senor Cardgage at 5:15 PM on June 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


If you like this sort of thing, check out Gay Sex in the 70s. It's very ... seventies.

Between this and the cocaine post, I want some Quaaludes. Again.
posted by adipocere at 5:21 PM on June 24, 2011


Great stuff. Thanks.
posted by Splunge at 5:24 PM on June 24, 2011


MetaFilter should adopt rainbow colors for the whole site this weekend.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:29 PM on June 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Sadly they discontinued the slow background color change option. :(
posted by hippybear at 5:31 PM on June 24, 2011


bwg: "Dude with the sign "I am proud of my gay son", you fucking rock."

But mom! Dad! I'M NOT GAY!
posted by symbioid at 5:33 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter should adopt rainbow colors for the whole site this weekend.


And blind everyone who visits
posted by Senor Cardgage at 5:35 PM on June 24, 2011


The eyeballs are the tastiest bits, or so I've heard. Or I assume those are the balls they were refering to.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:46 PM on June 24, 2011


Live tweets on the NY gay marriage vote (you don't need a Twitter account to view)
posted by desjardins at 5:53 PM on June 24, 2011


This is like "Your Dad Was the Original Hipster" - but super awesome gay style.

In many ways, these people are the parents to all of us who've come out in more recent years. Also - can I say I find the whole 70's vibe so fucking hot?
posted by helmutdog at 5:54 PM on June 24, 2011


For anyone who's interested, the New York Senate is voting on the gay marriage bill tonight. You can watch it live here (don't let the elevator music fool you, they're just in recess at the moment).
posted by flyingsquirrel at 6:18 PM on June 24, 2011


You can watch the New York State Senate session live here. The vote is reported to be imminent.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:21 PM on June 24, 2011


BTW, this page of 70s photos are truly fabulous, and the perfect thing to peruse as I wait impatiently for the Senate to START VOTING ALREADY.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 6:29 PM on June 24, 2011


I've got a book of these photographs, and it's pleasantly ensconced with all my painfully earnest and well-worn gay lit from my emergence into the world of cultivated queerness. I was too young to have had a clue about such things in the seventies, though my friend and I were exploring the parameters of same sex attraction at the end of the seventies, stealing "marriage manuals" from the mailbox at the steer farm across the street and marveling at black & white photographs of men with droopy mustaches getting it on. I didn't understand the point of facial hair back then, largely because I had yet to experience the multifaceted cosmic delight of beard hair in my armpit, for instance, but I loved the seventies body—from the last age before overly detailed ab cultivation wrecked the simplicity of the male form.

In my teen years, as I built up the nerve to make my big debut in the world of recognized faggotry, the pertinent literature available to me was all vestigal work of the seventies, hyperpolitical works where lesbians Valerie Solanas would have found a bit overbearing suggested that women should get as fat as possible to take space away from men and sexually florid men expounded at length on the spiritually transcendental properties of rimming (something that made me wrinkle my nose in abject horror at fifteen, though I've changed my tune in the following decades).

For some insane reason, there was an actual gay & lesbian section in the Waldenbooks in the otherwise small and provincial Laurel Mall, a place otherwise only famous for the George Wallace shooting and the collapse of Gladys Noon Spellman, and I bought armloads of weird old seventies gay books on their twentieth printing that filled my head with weird notions that would further complicate my coming out process. Saying "I'm gay" is one thing, but trying to explain that I was, in fact, a two-spirited man of a Uranian temperament (thank you very much, Karl Heinrich Ulrichs) to your friends who aren't at that place where they still think Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is terribly profound is just...tricky.

"You're what now?"

"I'm discovering my winkte identity."

"Oh, for pete's sake, Joe."

Still, this was the saddle-shaped literary slump between the ardent earnestness of the early seventies and the uncontrolled fuckathon of the pre-AIDS early eighties, so I took in all the zany overthinking philosophical dead serious debating techniques of the seventies and annoyed everyone I knew until people started avoiding me. I was Gay Lib-savvy, Gay-Is-Good conversant, and intimate with my own butthole in that certain Harry Hay way, and the world was gonna accept me even if I had to shoot Andy Warhol.

Then, of course, AIDS. Everyone died. The fun sort of went away.

Me, though—I stuck to my atavistic seventies gay guns for a while, culminating in an inexplicable meeting of the minds in 1986 in the tiny studio of WINX-AM, a little station then located across the street from F. Scott Fitzgerald's grave, where I somehow ended up debating the issues of gay youth with Phyllis Schlafly, a horrible celebrity artifact of the same stinking wave of xenophobic ass-backwardism that gave us Reagan and pretty much the America we live in today. It was a curious match, with my awkward seventies rhetoric and her parallel universe 1957 brainworm infestation, particularly because I was seventeen, still relatively handsome and definitively full of myself, and well-read enough to find all sorts of embarrassing ill-considered comebacks.

"Why, among homosexuals," she keened at one point, "it's very common for them to actually consume each others' feces."

"Well, the practice of 'rimming,' as it's known colloquially, brings some men a deep sense of spiritual transcendence," I said, thinking I'd scored a point. The engineer blanched behind the glass, and the MSW scrawled a quick note and handed it to me across the desk.

"SOMETHING ELSE OTHER THAN RIMMING!" it read, and I steered Phyllis away from that obscene siren singing us to wreck on the rocks of censorship. In the end, I felt like I'd won a minor victory on the airwaves, underlined by the fact that the braying voice of professional WTF, John Lofton, my neighbor and, at the time, father-in-law to my boss at Pal Jack's Pizza, actually stormed into my workplace, yelling at me for being disrespectful to a noble icon of the Right, called me a little know-it-all punk, and threw a sandwich at me.

It's all so embarrassing, and yet, the faces back then, back when you'd somehow convinced yourself that a gauzy white boy 'fro and glasses as big as saucers was ever so hip and modern, remind me of the bright, shiny moment when I felt that way, too, climbing out of that little secret spot behind the furnace where my friend and I refined the scientific study of just where a dick can usefully go, emerging in the light of day. The light dimmed as the generations ahead of me died off in one big rainbow-colored mass extinction of talent, but man, the light...the light.
posted by sonascope at 6:37 PM on June 24, 2011 [14 favorites]


Apparently, Rachel Maddow is now showing the New York State Senate debate on MSNBC.

desjardins, everyone, please chime in if you think the NY Sen talk is too off-topic.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:46 PM on June 24, 2011


I had to look up the Mattachine Society -- what a fascinating side story.
The Mattachine Society, founded in 1950, was one of the earliest homophile organizations in the United States, probably second only to Chicago’s short-lived Society for Human Rights (1924). Harry Hay and a group of Los Angeles male friends formed the group to protect and improve the rights of homosexuals. Because of concerns for secrecy and the founders’ leftist ideology, they adopted the cell organization of the Communist Party. In the anti-Communist atmosphere of the 1950s, the Society’s growing membership replaced the group’s early Communist model with a more traditional ameliorative civil rights leadership style and agenda. Then, as branches formed in other cities, the Society splintered in regional groups by 1961.
The photos were amazing; thanks for the post.
posted by Forktine at 6:48 PM on June 24, 2011


I've got a book of these photographs

We have several lurking around the house.

If we were the kind of people to have a large social circle and coffee tables upon which books would be placed for perusal, we'd have them out regularly for such things.

As it is, they sit on a shelf largely unlooked at, because Mr hippybear is 60 and lived through most of the gay revolution as it happened and is from NY state and he finds it difficult to reflect upon the years between 1980 and 1992 or thereabouts. And that tends to overwhelm being able to look at the 70s, because all those people are gone.

I find the books to be an amazing document of a time which should be celebrated and explored. He finds them to be a mausoleum and impossible to approach.

That's a generation gap which needs to be overcome before we can truly move forward, and needs to be overcome by the individuals who hold those memories so dear and painfully before they pass on and leave a huge decades-long darkness in our collective recollection.

And yeah, the light. There was so much light before the darkness appeared.
posted by hippybear at 6:49 PM on June 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


And I hate to push my own old posts, but there is a world of great video to be found in the links at this post on Gay History Documentaries. If you don't know about gay history, this is a pretty good springboard for your explorations.
posted by hippybear at 6:51 PM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


(That said, I can't look through the photos from the later half of the 1970s -- and I'm looking through a second time, because they are so compelling -- without wondering how many of the men I am seeing made it through the 1980s. I don't think it would have been possible to have taken such happy, carefree photos five or ten years later.)
posted by Forktine at 6:55 PM on June 24, 2011


Growing up in the Reagan- and AIDS-blighted '80s, I look at these pictures and think they're from another planet. It's good to know that that scene existed back then, and depressing to think how it almost died out by the time I was born.

For some insane reason, there was an actual gay & lesbian section in the Waldenbooks in the otherwise small and provincial Laurel Mall, a place otherwise only famous for the George Wallace shooting and the collapse of Gladys Noon Spellman.

I'm sitting in my girlfriend's apartment two blocks down from that mall. It is still small and provincial, but the Waldenbooks is now a Books-a-Million.
posted by Rangeboy at 7:00 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


[Okay, NY State Senate liveblogging apparently continues here]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:17 PM on June 24, 2011


I was at the 1979 parade -- it was my first one and I was 12. I was terrified, but so excited to be with all these people. In those days, the parade went uptown to the Great Lawn in Central Park, the idea being to get out of "the ghetto" and show people who we were. (It was a big controversy when it switched directions.)

I was warmly welcomed into a group of women, who directed me to (at that time) Gay and Lesbian Youth of New York. I was even more intimidated by all these kids who were a couple years older than me -- they were so happy to be there, confident, friendly. It made it impossible to go back in the closet completely after that day. I started going out on Saturdays to meetings, telling my mother I was going to the library, museum, etc.. I came out to her the next year, and it was hard for a while...but she came around when I turned 18 and my father never made an issue of it. I have to think that part of what made it easier what that I felt supported, perhaps not by them but by the youth groups and community I had found a place in.

I was very lucky to have grown up in NYC and had those outlets. If you're out there and see someone, whether in a big gay city or a small town, just smile at them and let them know they're not alone. In my case, it changed my life for the better.
posted by ltracey at 7:19 PM on June 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


I've been to plenty of pride events and I always loved the feeling that no one would harm me.
Oh this is so true. Crowds generally freak me right out, and I avoid concerts, parades, and the like. A couple of years back I forgot about Pride weekend and went into Manhattan to see a movie with a friend. We came out of the theater smack in the middle of the teeming masses. I braced myself for a rough walk back to her apartment, based on my previous experience with celebrating crowds. And instead it was fine. I've never been pressed in with so many people and still felt so safe.
posted by Karmakaze at 7:25 PM on June 24, 2011


New York senate approves the gay marriage!
posted by Senor Cardgage at 7:49 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


And possibly others as well
posted by Senor Cardgage at 7:50 PM on June 24, 2011


These pictures just got a whole lot more poignant and hopeful.


<3
posted by louche mustachio at 9:18 PM on June 24, 2011


In the anti-Communist atmosphere of the 1950s, the Society’s growing membership replaced the group’s early Communist model with a more traditional ameliorative civil rights leadership style and agenda.

That's putting it mildly. The Mattachine Society essentially purged themselves of all commies such as Harry Hay and turned very conservative (they also limited the inclusion of women/lesbians in their work although one could argue that The Daughters of Bilitis filled any void there). By the mid 1960s, they were advocating that anyone joining their protests must be dressed appropriately for their gender (men in shirts and ties (!!!) and women in dresses) in order to participate. Well-dressed naked assimilationists.

Their heart and energy was in the right place when they started, but the Mattachine Society didn't get the "homosexual" community anywhere until a bunch of ragtag queerdos who had everything to gain and nothing left to lose decided those fateful nights in August 1966 (Compton's Cafeteria Riot) and again in June 1969 (Stonewall Rebellion) to truly fight back and turn the tide in favor of queer liberation and freedom.
posted by kuppajava at 8:35 AM on June 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


This video from last night at the Stonewall Inn is a nice bookend to the photo collection.
posted by Miko at 9:26 AM on June 25, 2011


« Older "I decided to get supersuicidal people, the very w...  |  "The technology used to create... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments