Stonewall, Lonesome Cowboys, and the Georgia Gay Liberation Front

Stonewall of the South

In the early hours of June 28, 1969, New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar located on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village. The raid led to six days of protest, and served as a catalyst for the gay rights movement. 

Six weeks after the Stonewall riots, on the night of August 5, the Atlanta City Police raided the Ansley Mall Mini Cinema, as it was screening Andy Warhol’s Lonesome Cowboys. The manager (George Ellis) and the projectionist were arrested and members of the audience were detained, photographed, and questioned by the police. This police action in Atlanta served as the catalyst for the establishment of Georgia’s Gay Liberation Front.

Photograph from Lonesome Cowboys
Newsletter — Gay Times — “cops not kosher?!!” June 1973
Atlanta Constitution, Aug 6, 1969
Front entrance of the Ansley Mall shopping center where Lonesome Cowboy was shown, in 1969

The Georgia Gay Liberation Front

“That fall, we formed a Georgia Gay Liberation Front. Through Steve Abbott, who was one of the people involved, we got some notices in the Great Speckled Bird, and we met at the New Morning Café over in Emory Village, and sequentially formed the Georgia Gay Liberation Front, which led to the first gay pride march in 1971.”
Berl Boykin, Stonewall to the Millennium Panel, June 2000

“I first came here in 1971. In terms of the gay community, there were a lot of political activists – intense, energetic things going on. And that was one thing that drew me to Atlanta. The Gay Liberation Front was the organization here. We were having a consciousness raising groups – we called them cell groups that would challenge all kinds of standard conventional values. And we were very interested in doing a lot of activist political things.”
Dave Hayard, Stonewall to the Millennium Panel, June 2000

Article in the Great Speckled Bird about the Gay Liberation Front, be gay and proud
Button — Gay and Proud, Lorrain Fontanta Papers
Gay activist Bill Smith, Atlanta, Georgia, circa 1970s
Georgia Voice article, “Speaking Out My time with the Gay Liberation Front: Local historian recalls first Atlanta Pride march” by guest columnist Dave Hayward
Gay Times newsletter page 3 “out of the closets and into the red” and pride updates, “be gay, be proud”
newsletter-Gay Times — “rights on” – will you vote for ending the archaic laws which attempt to limit sexual expression for consenting adults? — Gay Pride Week June 18-24, 1973
Newsletter — Good Gay Times, April 1973, vol. III, no. 1
Newspaper clipping — “Gay Power” article describes the three new gay organizations recently formed at colleges throughout Georgia. The Committee on Gay Education at West Georgia College and in Athens and the Gay Liberation Front at Georgia state University in Atlanta.
Newspaper clipping — “Gay Liberation Front” meets to discuss ways of coping with the issues that face their gay community.
Newspaper clipping from the Signal — describing how Georgia State “Gay Students Meet For Recognition”
Button — Georgia Gay Liberation Front