Gay Activists Alliance (1969-1981)
During its heyday, from 1970 to 1974, the New York
Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) was the premier gay rights organization in
the world. Its main founders, Arthur Evans, Marty Robinson and Jim
Owles, left the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) in November 1969 because
they were dissatisfied with GLF's chaos (“structureless
structure”) and its involvement in radical causes unrelated to
gay rights. GAA's constitution, approved on 21 December 1969, made it
clear that the new group would conduct its meetings in an orderly and
democratic way, and that it would be “exclusively devoted to the
liberation of homosexuals”.
The full history of GAA remains to be written.
However, good accounts of the early years can be found in Don Teal's The Gay Militants (1971) and in Toby Marotta's The Politics of Homosexuality (1981).
Joe Kennedy wrote an excellent short history of GAA's later years, Summer of '77: Last Hurrah of the Gay Activists Alliance. It is now online.
The main purpose of this section is to make available two
important GAA pamphlets and a few photographs. In time I hope to add
more material. I should add that — when Evans, Robinson, and
Owles left GLF to form GAA — I remained in GLF, loyal to what I
considered its radical vision. I joined GAA later, in 1974, and was
elected Delegate-At-Large in that year. — John Lauritsen
• 20 Questions about Homosexuality: a political primer. This was GAA's most important pamphlet. Thousands of copies were distributed. To read it click here.
• Repeal the New York Consensual Sodomy Statute!
I wrote this pamphlet in 1974 for the GAA's Political Action Committee,
and printed it myself on an A.B. Dick offset press at Come! Unity
Press, a cooperative at 13 East 17th Street in New York City. The
Political Action Committee distributed copies to all members of the New
York State legislature. In 1980 New York's highest court, the Court of
Appeals, declared the consensual sodomy statute unconstitutional
(People vs. Onofre). The New York legislature formally repealed the
consensual statute in 2000, two years before the United States Supreme
Court struck down all sodomy statutes. To read the pamphlet click here.
• Constitution of the Gay Activists Alliance. The GAA Constitution, approved on 21 December 1969, is an important document in the history of the gay liberation movement. To read it as a scanned PDF document click here.
• Articles in Gay Today:
The excellent electronic publication, Gay Today,
was edited from 1997 to 2004 by the legendary homophile activist Jack
Nichols, who died in 2005. Nichols initiated the Gay Today History
Project, which published many important articles. Below are links to
the History Project archives, as well as to some outstanding individual
• Arthur Evans, a friend and an important gay activist, scholar and theoretician, died on 11 September 2011. To visit the Arthur Evans pages click here.
For Jack Nichols' severely critical review of Martin Duberman's book, Stonewall, click here.
• Gay Today History Project 2002-. Click here.
• Gay Today History Project before 2002. Click here.
• Marc Rubin: “GAA Must Be Restored to History”. This was written in 1999 for Gay Today,
an Internet publication edited by the late Jack Nichols, following
a 30-year celebration in Manhattan of the Stonewall Uprising of 1969.
To read his article click here.
• Arthur Evans: “GAA & the Birth of Gay Liberation”. This article was written for Gay Today by a founder of the Gay Activists Alliance. To read it click here.
• Arthur Evans: “Zap, You're Alive”. A follow-up article for Gay Today. To read it click here.
• Street Fair in front of the GAA
Firehouse on Wooster Street. This was probably in late June 1971. The Firehouse was opened in May 1971. Click here.
• GAA demonstrators in front of
St. Patrick's Cathedral in 1974. In high spirits despite the rain, they
are protesting the bigotry of the New York diocese and are wearing
signs: HUMAN RIGHTS FOR GAYS! GAY IS GOOD! etc. Click here.
• March up 6th Ave., 12 July 1975, followed by
rally at St. Patrick's Cathedral, protesting the New York Archdiocese's
campaign against Intro 554, the GAA-sponsored bill to ban
discrimination against gay people. The chants included: “TWO FOUR
SIX EIGHT / SEPARATE CHURCH AND STATE!” Click here.
• Demonstration on 21 March 1975
against the Village Voice, sponsored jointly by the Gay Activists
Alliance and Lesbian Feminist Liberation. The issues were essentially
the same as when the Gay Liberation Front first picketed the Voice on
12 September 1969. GAA and LFL were protesting the Voice's
“stereotypical and offensive portrayals of gay people” and
the Voice's advertising policy, which rejected many gay ads on the
basis of a quota system. Click here.