Andy Thayer

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Andy Thayer
Thayer Speaking.png
Born Andy Thayer
(1960-05-01) May 1, 1960 (age 56)
Residence Chicago, IL
Nationality United States
Occupation Political activist
Website Gay Liberation Network

Andy Thayer (Born May 1, 1960) is an American socialist, gay rights and anti-war activist. He is co-founder of the Gay Liberation Network, one of the largest LGBTQ direction-action groups in Chicago.[1]

Early life[edit]

Thayer was born in the state of New York. He and his family lived in Holland, New York. His father designed missile parts, and his mother was an activist who helped draft dodgers of the Vietnam War escape to Canada.

At the age of 17, Thayer wrote articles against corruption in his high school newspaper at Holland Central High School. His articles led to the school shutting down the school newspaper. Thayer later studied journalism at Northwestern University in 1978.[2]

Gay Liberation Network[edit]

Thayer founded the Gay Liberation Network in September 1998 under the original name “Chicago Anti-Bashing Network” which was changed to the Gay Liberation Network in 2004. The group is one of the largest and most-active LGBTQ direct- action groups in the area of Chicago.[3]

Anti-war activism[edit]

Thayer organized heavily against the Iraq war and the use of drones. In 2003, Thayer was an organizer of the March 2003 Iraq protest and march that ended up with the arrests of 500 people on Lake Shore drive. Thayer was among those arrested.

On March 18, 2006, Thayer organized another march against the Iraq war down Michigan Avenue. Despite having permits, Thayer was directed by police to have the march earlier; Thayer refused to change the time, and started the march at 7pm, the original time he planned for and had on the permit.[4]

In 2012, Thayer was one of the lead organizers of the NATO protests in Chicago. Thayer commented that the march was more than against the wars that NATO causes, but the use of taxpayer money for war that could be used elsewhere such as healthcare and education. He stated that “NATO has an indirect effect on the life and death issues of many people; take for example, health care, where millions go without, but when aligned with NATO the effect is devastating.”

FBI Raid & Investigation[edit]

In 2010, Thayer was one of twenty-three activists that had their house raided by the FBI due to "the material support of terrorism."[5] The FBI claimed that Thayer and the other antiwar activists were providing material support to terrorist organizations like Hamas, the F.A.R.C. and many others.[6]

No arrests were made in the investigation as there has not been any connection made between Thayer and terrorists groups.

In response to the raids of the twenty-three activists, demonstrations were held across the country against the FBI's harassment of Thayer and the other activists.[7]

Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley Manning)[edit]

Thayer Speaking in support of Manning

Thayer is a supporter of openly-gay and transgender whistleblower Chelsea Manning. Thayer has organized protests in support of Manning and serves on the advisory board for the Bradley Manning support network. For the past few years, Thayer has marched in the Chicago Gay Pride Parade with a message to pardon Manning of all her alleged crimes.[8]

Gay rights activism[edit]

Thayer founded the Gay Liberation Network in 1998. Thayer has organized protests for marriage equality and has called an end to the discrimination that LGBTQ people face.

Thayer at the October 22nd March on Springfield

In February 2001, Thayer was arrested along with one other activist for attempting to chain and lock the doors of the Cook County’s clerk building in protest of not being able to receive a marriage license. Thayer was charged with a felony and spent the night in jail and was later released on a $3000 bail.[9]

In 2008, Thayer organized a protest against Prop 8 in Chicago, the amount of demonstrators was in the thousands.[10]

Thayer was one of the organizers and speakers at the 2013 March on Springfield for Marriage Equality on October 22.

In 2011, Thayer was arrested in Moscow alongside Lt. Dan Choi for taking part in a gay pride parade unsanctioned by the city.[11]

In December 2013, Thayer visited Honduras to assist local LGBTQ activists with the fight for equality and to help monitor the Honduras presidential election.[12]

Thayer is also an outspoken opponent of Cardinal George in Chicago due to Cardinal George’s hateful remarks against homosexuality.

Personal life[edit]

Thayer is openly-gay and currently lives in Chicago in the Uptown neighborhood. Thayer got engaged in November 2013. Thayer is also an atheist.[13]

Other activism[edit]

Thayer is also an activist for economic equality, labor, and immigration rights. He has participated and organized actions for Occupy Chicago. Thayer also supports abortion rights.


  1. ^ "Andy Thayer Bio". Huffington Post. 
  2. ^ "G-8 protest organizer agent of 'change' or 'pain in the butt'?". Sun Times. 
  3. ^ "Chicago Anti-Bashing Network". 
  4. ^ "Everyone Loves A Parade". Chicago Reader. 
  5. ^ Fridell, Ahndi. "FBI searches Midwest homes". Rueters. Thompson Rueters. Retrieved 30 June 2014. 
  6. ^ "Radicals Leading Occupy Chicago Under Investigation for Terror Links". New Media Journal. 
  7. ^ Forrestal, Frank. "Protests denounce FBI raids in Chicago and Minneapoli". Then Militant Newspaper. The Militant. 
  8. ^ "Bradley Manning Support Network". 
  9. ^ Hawkins, Karen. "FELONY CHARGES AGAINST 2 GAY MEN AT MARRIAGE PROTEST". Windy City Times. 
  10. ^ Bartosik, Matt. "Anti-Prop 8 Protest Draws Thousands, Closes Streets". NBC.  External link in |website= (help)
  11. ^ "Chicago gay rights activist, Andy Thayer, and Lt. Dan Choi arrested in Moscow". Go Pride Chicago. 
  12. ^ Clark, Matthew. "LGBT delegation to Honduras reports human-rights abuses". Windy City Times. 
  13. ^ Thayer, Andy. "The Long Road to Equal Marriage Rights in Illinois". Huffington Post. 

External links[edit]