Gay Power to Gay People!
Washington, DC was buzzing with social movements in the summer of 1970. Gay leaders in civil-rights and anti-war movements noticed a need for the radical left to include gay pride. The Gay Liberation Front of NYC had just formed, following the Stonewall Riots. Building off social momentum, the first effort to form a gay liberationist group in Washington, DC came in June, 1970.
Mike Yarr gave the first call in a letter to the Quicksilver Times (a local, left-wing anti-war, free publication), criticizing their use of the word “sucks” in a headline - “If something is bad and a ‘liberated’ newspaper equates that with sucking, then sucking must be bad.” – and encourages mobilization – “all gay movement people interested in forming a Gay Liberation Front here contact me at 234-2000. All Power to the People. Gay Power to Gay People.”
The First Meeting
On Tuesday, June 30, 1970 45 to 50 people gathered at Grace Episcopal (nicknamed “Amazing Grace) Church in Georgetown. Together they formed the Gay Liberation Front of DC, Washington, DC’s first gay liberationist group following the Stonewall Riots. Members of GLF-DC met at “Amazing” Grace Church, and published their newsletters, on Tuesdays from then on.
Dave Aiken chronicled much of the Washington Gay Liberation Front's early activities. He prepared the first fact sheet for newcomers (early August 1970) announcing the organizing principles:
"As a group of individuals we have varying interests and desires in and for the organization. Therefore, to hold, maintain, and utilized all of these individual energies ... the organization should have a form which establishes centers of interest in which each of us can find one or more places to be useful to ourselves and the organization."
The Washington Gay Liberation Front (as it was first named) had three declared purposes:
- To establish a sense of community among gay people,
- Self-knowledge, and
- Education of community at large - straights.