Browse Exhibits (6 total)

“Gay is Good”: Gay and Lesbian Organizing in DC, 1961-1975

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"Gay is Good": DC-based gay rights activist Dr. Franklin Kameny coined this slogan in the 1960s to convince gay people of their dignity and self-worth. As co-founder and leader of the Mattachine Society of Washington, Kameny played a role in dismantling anti-gay federal policies, including those that barred homosexuals from federal employment. Kameny and his fellow activists also challenged the American Psychiatric Association for pathologizing homosexuality. This exhibit explores gay and lesbian organizing in DC, 1961-1975, in its historical and political context.

 

Gay Liberation Front

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The GLF-DC was founded by individuals who helped fight for civil rights and international peace in the 1960s, but found their sexuality at odds with the radical left at the time.

As Michael Ferri, a founding member of Washington DC's Gay Liberation Front recalls: “We wanted to establish that we were part of the people’s movement, that we were oppressed people, too.” [interview with Rainbow History, 02/05/06]

What started as a letter to the editor of an underground paper grew into two collective houses that worked with other justice-seeking groups, including the Black Panthers and the Gay People's Alliance, while protecting and celebrating gay sexual identity.

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Gay Women's Alternative

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The Gay Women's Alternative of DC (GWA-DC) created a safe space for lesbian women in the metropolitan area to socialize and explore relavent issues through a network of social  and educational events. The GWA-DC served as an alternative to both the closet and bars to the lesbian community of greater-Washington DC from 1981 through 1993. 

Community Pioneers: Creators of DC's LGBTQ Communities

In 2003, Rainbow History Project established the Community Pioneer Award to recognize people whose contributions to LGBTQ communities of greater metropolitan Washington DC merited special commendation. The recipients of this award are chosen for their pioneering work to establish the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer communities of today's DMV.

In Autumn 2018, Rainbow History Project will be honoring the newest class of Community Pioneers. To nominate someone, assist with this project, or attend the ceremony, please contact us at info@rainbowhistory.org.

Dr. Herman Lynn Womack: First Amendment Pioneer

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Dr. H. Lynn (Herman Lynn) Womack was a pioneer in fighting to expand the rights of gay men to have access to gay-themed content. His efforts to fight the use of obscenity laws to prevent gay content from being distributed through the U.S. Mail resulted in key decisions from the United States Supreme Court that expanded First Amendment protections for gay men throughout the United States. This exhibit explores Womack's role as first amendment pioneer, publisher, and gay rights advocate.

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The ClubHouse, 1975-1990

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This exhibit explores the role that The ClubHouse played in the African American gay community of Washington, D.C. Opened in 1975 by Aundrea and Paulette Scott, John Eddy, Chasten Morell, and Rainey Cheeks, The ClubHouse provided the central focus of African-American gay DC social life for 15 years.

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