The Stonewall uprising is often seen as the beginning of collective action for the rights of LGBTQ+ people, but Los Angeles was actually home to the first recorded incident of protest against police actions against the community. In May 1995, Coopers Do-Nuts saw a demonstration against police raids, and this was followed by a large decline in sponsorship to LGBTQ establishments in the early 2000s. This was due to an unprecedented level of acceptance and positive visibility in the dominant heteronormative society. The Los Angeles Municipal Election Committee (MECLA) was the first group of checkbook activists to occupy space in the building to combat the Briggs Initiative. Founded in 1973, the Feminist Studio Workshop (FSW) was one of the first independent art schools for women in the country.
John Rechy also participated in the first known gay uprising in the United States at Cooper Do-Nuts, in downtown Los Angeles, in 1958. The Los Angeles Free Press proclaimed this as the birth of a civil rights campaign demanding “equal treatment for sexual minorities”.June is celebrated as LGBTQ+ Heritage Month in Los Angeles, and this is a time to remember and honor the vibrant and active LGBTQ+ community. Women have been demanding overdue payments for three years, a salary equivalent to that of male coaches, and the establishment of an affirmative action program in all Los Angeles high schools. John Rechy arrived from Manhattan to downtown Los Angeles for the first time in the early 1950s. Mattachine was one of the main inspirational forces of the gay liberation movement, not just in Los Angeles, but across the country. Herb Selwyn, a heterosexual lawyer from Los Angeles who worked closely with the ACLU, defended Talley and Baker on appeal. The historic building on Robertson Boulevard, built in 1929 for the Mitchell Camera Company, now serves as a time capsule to remember historic years of queer culture.
It also functions as a gay community center of downtown Los Angeles, where exhibitions, art shows, and film screenings are organized for both USC students and Los Angeles in general. The riots and protests following the Sunset Strip raids in 1966 were preceded by a long history of violent outbursts between the Los Angeles Police Department and the public. Martha Foster was a lesbian poet and fiction writer who lived in Los Angeles, California, but was originally from the East Coast. Without the rich gay history of Los Angeles and the hard-won advances made by the fledgling gay rights movement here, there would be no Stonewall or PRIDE Parade. They opened their doors for the first time in January 1985 and were quite successful until their closure in June 1990. The LGBTQ+ community has been an integral part of Los Angeles County since its inception. The city has seen many milestones throughout its history that have helped shape its vibrant queer culture today.
The first recorded incident of protest against police actions against LGBTQ+ people occurred at Coopers Do-Nuts in May 1995. This event marked a turning point for queer rights activists who had been fighting for equal treatment since 1958 when John Rechy participated in an uprising at Coopers Do-Nuts. The Feminist Studio Workshop (FSW) was founded in 1973 and was one of the first independent art schools for women in America. This organization played an important role in combating anti-LGBTQ+ legislation such as The Briggs Initiative which sought to ban homosexuals from teaching in public schools. The MECLA (Los Angeles Municipal Election Committee) was also instrumental in this fight.
June is celebrated as LGBTQ+ Heritage Month throughout Los Angeles County as a way to honor and remember those who have fought for queer rights over the years. Women have been demanding overdue payments for three years, a salary equivalent to that of male coaches, and an affirmative action program for all high schools within LA County. The historic building on Robertson Boulevard serves as a reminder of queer culture throughout LA's history. It hosts exhibitions, art shows, and film screenings that are open to both USC students and members of LA's general public.
The Sunset Strip raids of 1966 were preceded by many violent outbursts between police officers and citizens which further highlighted how far queer rights had yet to go before being accepted by society at large. Martha Foster was a lesbian poet and fiction writer who lived in LA but originally hailed from the East Coast. She is just one example of how far reaching queer culture is throughout America today. Without her contributions along with those made by other members of LA's LGBTQ+ community there would be no Stonewall or PRIDE Parade today.
In conclusion, it is clear that LA's LGBTQ+ community has played an integral role throughout its history and continues to do so today. From Coopers Do-Nuts to Martha Foster's contributions there have been many milestones that have helped shape queer culture within LA County.