History has overlooked the Gay Liberation Front’s role in Stonewall … until now

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10/19/2019

Something very strange happened during last June’s celebration marking the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. The LGBT community, especially those of us from Gay Liberation Front New York, realized how the history we created from 1969 to 1971 was being distorted by those who had recorded it. Even LGBT organizations, whose mission is to give resources and information to mainstream media, fell short and had to be corrected by the mainstream media it was supposed to assist. Stonewall didn’t happen in isolation. The country was ripe with change, especially among LGBT youth which found itself left completely out due a lack of leadership among the existing organizations, the same organizations which created those Philadelphia marches that looked more like something from 1950’s black-and-white TV America than anti-war, radical 1969 America. Stonewall gave LGBT youth a voice. Gay Liberation Front, born from the ashes of Stonewall, gave the movement organization in the form of radicalism. While the old leadership wanted to portray the community as women in dresses and men in suits and ties, those at Stonewall and the founders of Gay Liberation Front dressed in jeans and t-shirts and in drag or what soon would be considered “genderf*ck.”

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