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social sciences

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Los Angeles  
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In the 1960s Los Angeles art became noted nationally with the successes of artists (mostly heterosexual) associated with the Pop Art movement. Art centers of the time included the corridors along Wilshire Boulevard near Westlake / MacArthur Park and the opulent Art Deco Bullock's department store, while art galleries clustered on La Cienega Boulevard in West Hollywood.

When British gay artist David Hockney came to Los Angeles in 1964, he first looked for the Pershing Square gay life celebrated in Rechy's City of Night. Hockney's lush imagery of Los Angeles palm trees, manicured lawns, and swimming pools with male nudes in them has been disseminated around the world. In Los Angeles he also created portraits of gay male couples, including most famously Isherwood and Bachardy.

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Artists during the 1960s whose male figurative works can be seen as homoerotic images include Don Bachardy, Morris Broderson, Louis Fox, and John Lincoln. Among the 1960s lesbian artists was Sheila Ross, who with Bachardy, Fox, and Lincoln showed at the elegant Rex Evans Gallery on La Cienega, operated by Evans, a character actor and friend of Cukor, and Jim Weatherford.

Police harassment on New Year's 1967 sparked the largest protest by glbtq citizens anywhere in the decade. In a raid of the Black Cat Bar, at Sunset Junction in Silver Lake, police brutalized numerous patrons and staff. In response activists organized a large demonstration, collected money to fight the charges in court, and alerted media to the problem of police harassment. The placards at the Black Cat protest were surprisingly modern: "No more abuse of our rights and dignity"; "Blue fascism must go"; and, "Stop illegal search and seizure."

Before this, in 1966, the Los Angeles organization PRIDE (Personal Rights in Defense and Education) had organized to promote awareness of LAPD harassment of homosexuals and published a newsletter. PRIDE supported the Black Cat protest, and Dick Michaels (a pseudonym) and friends expanded the newsletter to chronicle the protest and its aftermath. Printed by mimeograph in the basement mailroom of ABC Television's Los Angeles headquarters, the first issue of The Los Angeles Advocate was published in September 1967. In 1970 it became bi-weekly and national and as The Advocate has been the glbtq newsmagazine of record for almost forty years.

Organizing activities in Los Angeles outside the political arena included the first specifically gay and lesbian Christian denomination to be founded anywhere. In October 1967, in a paid advertisement in The Advocate, Los Angeles pastor Troy Perry announced a planning meeting for what would become the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC).

The congregation that formed soon outgrew Perry's living room, and Sunday services moved to the Encore Theater in Hollywood and then, in 1971, to a dilapidated building dubbed the budding denomination's "Mother Church," which burned down as a result of arson in 1973.

Liberation Era Results in the World's Largest glbtq Organization: The 1970s

In the 1970s glbtq individuals and groups in Los Angeles built on the work done in the post-World War II decades. They borrowed the protest tactics of the African-American civil rights, anti-war, and women's movements of the late 1960s and created lasting cultural, social, religious, and political organizations.

The first "gay-ins" in Los Angeles were held in 1968 by drag queens in Griffith Park and were attended by "about two hundred wild fairies." After the Stonewall Rebellion in New York City in 1969, Los Angeles, like other cities around the nation, formed a chapter of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF), an organization meant to be more in tune with the times and more militant than the homophile groups.

Harry Hay, who, as a former Communist, had been ostracized from even the organization he founded, the Mattachine Society, was welcomed into the new liberation movement. He became president of the Los Angeles GLF. Morris Kight, an anti-war activist, was also prominent in the GLF.

In 1964 Los Angeles was featured in a Life magazine "exposé" of homosexuality, "Homosexuality in America." The article included a photograph of Barney's Beanery in West Hollywood, which prominently displayed a sign reading "Fagots [sic] Stay Out." The offensive sign was the subject of a protest led by Kight and the GLF in 1970, although it was not removed permanently until much later.

Kight and others in the GLF, along with Troy Perry, then formed Christopher Street West (CSW), the first Los Angeles gay pride parade, to commemorate New York's Stonewall Riots of 1969. At first police sought to block the parade with exorbitant security fees, but eventually Hollywood Boulevard, a site of gay Los Angeles, was closed off to traffic and the first parade was held June 28, 1970, with 1,200 marching and 30,000 in attendance.

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