Gay Activists Alliance

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Lower-case lambda, symbol of the Gay Activist Alliance.

The Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) was founded in New York City on December 21, 1969, after the Stonewall riots, by dissident members of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF).[1] Some early members included Jim Owles, Marty Robinson, Kay Lahusen, Arthur Bell, Arthur Evans, Bill Bahlman, Vito Russo, Sylvia Rae Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson, Jim Coles, Brenda Howard, and David Thorstad.

The group wanted to form a "single issue, politically neutral, whose goal was to "secure basic human rights, dignity and freedom for all gay people."[2]

The Gay Activists Alliance was most active from 1970 to 1974. They published the Gay Activist newspaper until 1980. GAA first met at the Church of the Holy Apostles (9th Ave. & 28th St.) Their next New York City headquarters, the Firehouse at 99 Wooster Street in Soho, was occupied in May 1971 and burned down by arsonists on October 15, 1974. David Eisenbach, Gay Power, page 266 "By 1980 GAA had begun to sound like the Gay Liberation Front in 1969. After Activists met to officially disband the Alliance a year later..."

GAA members performed zaps, (first conceived by Marty Robinson) public peaceful confrontations with officials to draw media attention. Their first president was Jim Owles. Some of their more visible actions included protests against an anti-gay episode on the popular TV series Marcus Welby, M.D., a zap of Mayor John Lindsay at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and later at Radio City Music Hall, a zap against Gov. Nelson Rockefeller (the "Rockefeller 5"), a zap at the Marriage License Bureau demanding marriage rights for gays, a zap against Fidelifacts, which provided anti-gay information to employers, a zap at the NYC Taxi Commission (which required gay cab drivers to get an OK from a psychiatrist before being employed), and a zap at the New York Daily News, which printed a scurrilous editorial attacking "queers, lezzies, pansies, call them what you will." Four were arrested.

The GAA Firehouse on Wooster Street also served as a community center and had extremely popular dances that helped fund the organization. The stairwell was decorated with a photomontage agit-pro mural created by the British artist Mario Dubsky (1939-1985) and the American painter John Button (1929-1982) both of whom were early victims of AIDS. The Mural was destroyed in the fire that destroyed the centre in 1974. The symbol of the Gay Activists Alliance was the lower case Greek letter lambda (λ).

See also[edit]

Early member helped found also, Michael Giammetta


  1. ^ Bell, Arthur (1971). Dancing the gay lib blues : a year in the homosexual liberation movement. New York: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-671-21042-4. 
  2. ^ Marotta, Toby (1981). The politics of homosexuality : how lesbians and gay men have made themselves a political and social force in modern America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-29477-0. 

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