Brittany Sowacke | 18301
Man’s Country was a Chicago bathhouse open since 1973, but it closed on New Year’s Eve 2018 following the death in 2017 of its founder, Chuck Renslow, of the city’s leather community. Mr Renslow was the founder of the International Mr. Leather contest.
Chuck Renslow, 1977 | Quentin Dodt/Tribune | 18302
Vice sent a photographer to record the premises before it was cleared and redeveloped.
Man’s Country wore its history on its walls, with portraits of famous patrons, nude men, and other artwork throughout reminding visitors that this wasn’t some staid, humorless bathhouse. In the basement (dubbed “The Pit,”) a huge sauna—once billed as the largest in the Midwest—sat opposite a shower and wet area modeled after Parisian sewers. In its past, part of the cavernous Man’s Country space was transformed into a dance club called Bistro Too, where acts like Boy George, Divine, and major disco stars performed, shifting some focus away from sex in the wake of the AIDS crisis. It also played host to a leather bar called the Chicago Eagle.
Following its final night, everything and anything inside, from architectural elements to artwork to the disco balls that patterned its dance floors for decades, was auctioned.
Mr. Renslow died on 29 June 2017 of heart problems and pneumonia.
Chuck Renslow obituary
Jason Fossett | Press Association | 17147
Jason Fossett has been jailed for life after setting fire to a busy south London gay bar, the Two Brewers in Clapham, for the second time.
Fossett piled rubbish against the fire exit of before setting it alight and fleeing on March 20. He pleaded guilty to arson with intent to endanger life at Inner London Crown Court. He could not remember starting the fire after “having a couple of drinks”.
He was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum sentence of three years and 244 days.
He was traced through his bank card after CCTV footage showed him buying two drinks at the bar on the night of the arson.
Officers searched his home and found receipts from the Two Brewers for that night, and a red leather satchel which matched that seen on the CCTV.
In 2004, Fossett was jailed for eight years for targeting the same venue in an arson attack. Police said there was no suggestion the attacks were hate crimes, although Fossett’s motivation is not known.
February 1967 | Black Cat/USC Digital Archive | tc17031
Two years before the Stonewall riots in New York City, Silver Lake in Los Angeles was the epicenter of a gay rights protest movement of its own. In February 1967, demonstrators at the Black Cat Tavern,, 3909 W Sunset Blvd., took a stand and pushed back against anti-LGBT forces, and a rally was held there yesterday to commemorate the events of 1967 and continue the movement today.
The Black Cat Tavern had been open for only two months when a party on New Year’s Eve, 1966 was raided by undercover officers who infiltrated the party and, when they saw same-sex couples kissing at midnight, police began a flurry of arrests. 14 patrons of the bar were arrested for “assault and public lewdness” and the police physically beat several of the individuals. A riot broke out and spilled into the street and neighboring bars.
After the raid, organizers met to begin planning a large demonstration to be held at the Black Cat. The then-new PRIDE organization began publishing a newsletter called The Advocate where they disseminated details of the gathering; the Advocate has published ever since.
On February 11, 1967, an estimated 300 to 600 protestors surrounded the Black Cat in what would be remembered as a tense but ultimately peaceful protest against homophobic laws and police brutality. The event marked a turning point for the local gay rights movement and part of a growing trend of LGBT resistance.
Highbury Fields, 1971. Picture: Islington Local History Centre | 17191gh
A new LGBT archive is being created in Islington, London, a borough steeped with LGBT history. Today Islington council launched an appeal for people to scour their homes for LGBT memorabilia – photos, posters, flyers etc – to build the archive, which is likely to be housed at Islington Museum in St John Street.
150 brave campaigners held Britain’s first ever gay rights protest in November 1970 in Highbury Fields. A torchlight rally was organised by the Gay Liberation Front in response to the arrest of Louis Eakes in the Fields. Mr Eakes, of the Young Liberals, was detained for cruising several men in a police entrapment operation. Mr Eakes claimed he was asking them for a light.
Chris Helgren/Reuters | 15362
The Royal Vauxhall Tavern was built in 1863 at Spring Gardens, Kennington Lane, on land which was originally part of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens and was originally a music hall. It seems to have been a local gay pub ever since it opened as a public house. After the second world war it became associated with drag acts, with performances from Hinge and Bracket, Regina Fong and Lily Savage. On one occasion Princess Diana went there dressed as a man.
On 8 September 2015, in an attempt to save it from being closed by new owners and the site re-developed, the Royal Vauxhall Tavern was made a grade II listed building – the first building in the UK to be listed in recognition of its importance to LGBT community history. This followed a campaign supported by Boris Johnson, Sir Ian McKellen, Paul O’Grady and others.
A Reboboth postcard, possibly 1970s | Delaware Public | 15192
Reheboth, Delaware was a popular holiday destination for gay men from Washington, DC, Philadelphia and Baltimore in the 1970s and 1980s. Rehoboth, which had gay bars like The Renegade and an entire section of its beach unofficially exclusively gay, quickly became a favorite destination. Discos operated until the wee hours of the morning, but there was also a year-round gay community there who experienced the tragedy of HIV/AIDS, and mobilized around a hate crime in the 1990s, to fight for their rights.
It was pretty amazing, you would drive through on Route 50 and get to Annapolis. [You’d think], Oh my god, when are we gonna get there? And hit the Bay Bridge! And then the relief. It was almost as if it was a weather phenomenon that would take over, the relief that would come over your body. And [you’d] say, “I’m on my way to the beach, where I can be me….The gay area was south of what’s now, we call Poodle Beach. We’d have to go across the Carpenter Beach, the Dupont area, into a no man’s land, and that’s where we all would pitch our chairs and have our time to sun and have a good time.”
– Steve Elkins.
July 4, 1965 | Location: Philadelphia, US | Photographer unstated | The Mattachine Society and The Equality Forum/Associated Press | 15167
Fifty years ago a small demonstration took place for gay rights, in Philadelphia. It was one of the first actions of the modern gay rights movement.
About 40 protesters calling for equality gathered in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia on July 5, 1965.
Seen as an incredibly bold and courageous move by the standards of the day,1965 was when homosexuals were legally barred from US government jobs and could be arrested for engaging in consensual intimate acts even in the privacy of their own homes. The American Psychiatric Association still classified being gay as a disease that could be treated with chemical castration or lobotomy.
“Fifty years ago, America perceived us as degenerates,” said Malcolm Lazin, who organized the anniversary events. “One of the many goals of the gay pioneers was to demonstrate that we are first class American citizens.”