Pride Month 2020: The first homosexual rights bill in US came into affect in LA on this day 41 years ago
As we spend the month of June celebrating Gay Pride and the LGBTQ+ community, we also remember the people and the efforts that have gone into legalizing same-sex relationships and engineering myriad rights to protect all queer individuals.
Los Angeles is well known for its long history of acceptance and breakthrough advancements in the LGBTQ+ movement. It hosted the world's first LGBTQ+ parade in 1970 and is home to a very vibrant and active LGBTQ community. But records show that even prior to the Stonewall Riots, which well and truly changed the face of the queer community, the revolution had begun in Los Angeles at The Black Cat. A tavern in the bustling neighborhood of Silver Lake, The Black Cat was the site of a peace demonstration on February 11, 1967, following a raid on New Year's Eve, very reminiscent of the Stonewall Riots that took place two years later. Today a plaque installed on its exterior declares it to be "the site of the first documented LGBTQ civil rights demonstration in the nation." In addition, the City of Los Angeles recognized the recreational establishment as 'Historical-Cultural Monument No. 939.'
But even before The Black Cat demonstration, Los Angeles is associated with many of the LGBTQ+ communities' firsts. The earliest know lesbian publication, 'Vice Versa', was published here in 1947, and the first official gay rights organization, the 'Mattachine Society', was established in the city in 1950. 'One Magazine', the first homosexual magazine was published in 1953, and the following year saw the rise of the 'Satyrs MC', the first gay motorcycle club. Also, in 1958, the Supreme court made its first decision in favor of gay rights in the One Inc v. Oleson case.
However, a groundbreaking change came 41 years ago that radically transformed the city's LGBTQ+ history and effectively established it as a safe haven for the community. On this day, June 2, 1979, Mayor Tom Bradley signed into law the first homosexual rights bill that prohibited private workplace discrimination. Bradley was the only African-American mayor of LA, and was in office for 20 years, the longest tenure by any mayor in the city's history. Los Angeles outlawed discrimination against homosexuals in private sector employment and in patronization of business establishments in the city on May 31, which was officially signed into effect by the mayor two days later.
Today, the LGBTQ+ community thrives in Los Angeles' West Hollywood, as the epicenter for recreational establishments and nightlife. Proudly sporting the colors of the pride flag and boasting of the Californian gay capital's diversity, the locale signifies decades of American queer history.