Los Angeles, 1950: The Mattachine Society

Founded in 1950 in Los Angeles, the Mattachine Society held public discussion groups and social events and eventually began its own magazine, ONE. Members also became publicly involved in defending one of their founders, Dale Jennings, when he was entrapped by Los Angeles police and charged with “lewd and dissolute conduct.” (It was extremely rare at that time for a gay man arrested by the police to fight the charges.) The case against Jennings was dismissed by a judge, which got the Mattachine Society publicity that led to a big increase in attendance at their discussion groups.

Ultimately, founder Harry Hay and several of the other original members of the Mattachine Society left - or were forced out - in 1953, in part because of their prior connections to the U.S. Communist Party. A more conservative leadership took over as the Society began to expand into other cities.