The Gay Activist’s Alliance



A march organised by the Gay Activists Alliance | Undated | Location unknown | Public domain | 14310

The Gay Activist’s Alliance was one of the first gay political groups to form following the Stonewall Riot and was founded on December 21, 1969 when people split off from the Gay Liberation Front with the goal to to secure basic human rights, dignity and freedom for all gay people. They published the Gay Activist newspaper until 1980.

GAA first met at the Church of the Holy Apostles in New York City, moving to the Firehouse at 99 Wooster Street in Soho which was occupied in May 1971 and burned down by arsonists on October 15, 1974.


Activist Jim Owles being arrested at a demo | Grey Villet/Life Magazine Archives/Getty | 14311

One of the GAA’s favourite activities was the “zap” which they pioneered, at the suggestion of Marty Robinson.

The organisation is no longer active.



Richard Adams



Richard Adams, left, and his partner, Anthony Sullivan | 1984 | Los Angeles Times | 14312

Gay Activist is sad to learn of the death of Richard Adams, gay marriage activist and pioneer, age 65. The LA Times reminds us of his huge contribution to gay rights.

“Thirty-seven years ago, Richard Adams made history when he and his partner of four years, Anthony Sullivan, became one of the first gay couples in the country to be granted a marriage license. It happened in Boulder, Colo., where a liberal county clerk issued licenses to six same-sex couples in the spring of 1975.

Adams had hoped to use his marriage to secure permanent residency in the United States for Sullivan, an Australian who had been in the country on a limited visa and was facing deportation.

But Colorado’s attorney general declared the Boulder marriages invalid. Several months later, Adams and Sullivan received a letter from the Immigration and Naturalization Service that denied Sullivan’s petition for resident status in terms that left no doubt about the reason:

“You have failed to establish that a bona fide marital relationship can exist between two faggots,” the notification read.”

Born in Manila on March 9, 1947, Adams immigrated to the U.S. aged 12. He studied liberal arts at the University of Minnesota and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1968. By 1971 he was working in Los Angeles, where he met Sullivan and fell in love.

But the US initially refused to let Sullivan stay and did not recognise the relationship, so in 1985, they flew to Britain and drifted through Europe for the next year.

“The pair ended their self-imposed exile after a year and came home. They lived quietly in Los Angeles to avoid drawing the attention of immigration officials, but in recent years began to appear at rallies supporting same-sex marriage.

They were encouraged by new guidelines issued by the Obama administration this fall instructing immigration officials to stop deporting foreigners in long-standing same-sex relationships with U.S. citizens.

Although the policy change came more than three decades after Adams and Sullivan raised the issue, it gave Adams “a sense of vindication.”

The day before he died, Sullivan (said) that the most important victory was that they were able to remain a couple.

“Richard looked at me,” Sullivan (said), “and said, ‘Yeah, you’re right. We’ve won.'””

Gay Activist sends condolences to Anthony, family, colleagues and friends.


Blotting paper will never be the same again



Matt Houlbrook | LGBT History UK | 14313

In his book “Queer London”, writer Matt Houlbrook relates the story of “Cyril”, which he gleaned from reading dusty court files. Cyril was a young gay man in London in the early 1930s, during the time when male homosexuality was completely illegal in Britain. Cyril was a regular attendee of a basement club in central London. One evening, there was a raid. Cyril found that some of the men he had been talking to were in fact plain clothes policemen. Cyril was arrested and taken to Bow Street Police Station.

Cyril was subject to the humiliating ritual of having his cheeks rubbed with blotting paper for evidence of make-up (he wore lipstick and rouge, which was the fashion of the time). He was imprisoned pending trial then brought to trial at the Old Bailey for aiding and abetting in keeping a disorderly house. Cyril was let off.




A more recent London Pride with Police Officers considerably more relaxed about everything! | Lewis Whyld/Press Association | 14314

In the early 1980s the police were notorious for their treatment of LGBT people, who were seen as an easy target for arrests and intimidation. In June 1982 the Gay London Police Monitoring Group was created to expose the systematic harassment of the gay and lesbian communities by the police and to educate them about their rights. Galop’s first major achievement was to prove that the police were using agents provocateur to gain arrests and convictions of gay men.

A splinter project, the Lesbians and Policing Project was also developed.


GALOP Annual Report Cover | 1992 | 15519

In the 1980s a quarter of the cases Galop dealt with involved AIDS including police making home arrests in space suits. Galop encouraged gay men to come forward to report ‘queerbashing’. The Police began to understand that they needed the co-operation of the gay community to help solve homophobic crimes.

In 1988 Section 28 had become law, but for the first time consultative meetings took place between representatives of the LGBT community and the police. When members of the gay community did come forward to assist enquiries, they faced offensive behaviour from the Police, who continued to suppress public gay sexual behaviour, from displays of affection to cruising. Massive police resources were dedicated to the control of these essentially ‘victimless’ crimes despite a huge rise in crimes with genuine victims, but by the 1990s arrests for gross indecency had dramatically fallen.

Unfortunately the years 1999 to 2001 were dark ones for London’s gay community. The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry saw a huge change in police response to race hate crime. Ultimately this led to the implementation of Minimum Standards for homophobic crimes.
The Crown Prosecution Service also introduced policy guidelines for dealing with LGBT hate crimes, and the Association of Chief Police Officers set out new guidelines for more sympathetic policing of public sexual activity. Following the nail bombings in 1999, the LGBT Advisory Group to the Metropolitan Police was established.

Galop is still operational and is a charity. Galop’s Telephone number is: 020 7704 2040.


365 gay news



Illawarraq Info | 14315

365 Gay News was a news service originally provided as television programming by Viacom, an American media company. It was launched in 2005 as “CBS News on Logo”, Logo being a Viacom programme stream. The name was changed to 365 Gay News in 2008. The service tried to provide a comprehensive news service which covered gay stories from around the world. The venture was not financially successful and in 2009 the service became a web-only news service. That still did not succeed and it was closed in 2011.





Jim Drew | 14316

In the post Stonewall era, gay men in the Castro district of San Francisco adopted a working-man style of dress based on Levi 501 jeans or chinos, t-shirts, and cut down flannel shirts, accessorised with leather belts and straps, a moustache, and aviator glasses. The Clone look became one of the dominant gay fashions of the mid to late 1970s. Gay men were becoming more accepted and began to feel that they wanted to be identified as gay men and stand out more. Of course if you all look exactly the same you end up with nobody standing out, but that is another story… The look was taken up by gay magazines and by advertising, and the fashion quickly spread to other gay communities around the world.


Asos | 14317

The Clone look, er, cloned into the Bear look.


Kenneth Kendall


Kenneth Kendall | British Broadcasting Corporation | 14318

Gay Activist is sad to note the passing of Kenneth Kendall, age 88, after a stroke. Mr Kendall, who was born in India, served in the Coldstream Guards and took part in the D Day landings, sustaining injury. He joined the BBC as a radio announcer and news reader in 1948 and in 1955 was the first British newsreader to appear on camera on television. Gay Activist sends condolences to Mark, family, friends and colleagues.

Television news in the days before computerised news rooms | BBC/Daily Mail | 14319