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Gothamist featured former Women’s and Gender Studies Professor Karla Jay in "Remembering The 1970 Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day March"

06/26/2020

Gothamist featured former Women’s and Gender Studies Professor Karla Jay in "Remembering The 1970 Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day March"

This weekend brings another 50th anniversary, this time of the parade—the first gay rights march, held on June 28th, 1970, and now a centerpiece of Pride weekend in New York City. Though it actually started out as a protest march, not the fantasia of floats and feathers we know today.

“We set out to create a march on the first anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. And if we hadn't done that, nobody would remember the Stonewall today,” said Karla Jay, a former women’s and gender studies professor at Pace University, and the first woman chair of the Gay Liberation Front.

She says that within a few days of Stonewall, flyers were already circulating calling for a new kind of movement that wasn’t polite, and wouldn’t stay in the shadows. That was a real turning point.

“I went down to the Stonewall the second night of the uprising - and there was a sign in the window that was hand-lettered from the Mattachine Society. And they said, keep the peace. Cooperate with the police and go home and be quiet. And I thought - what? No! It’s too late for that,” Jay said. “And so when a group said, No, we’re not going home, we’re not going to be quiet, I said: These are my people.” 

Read the full Gothamist article.