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Gay Activists Alliance, New York Collection
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Constitution and bylaws, correspondence, committee structure and reports, along with newspapers, informational pamphlets, fliers, lists of gay and lesbian organizations, photographs, and clippings of the Gay Activists Alliance (GAA), New York. The GAA sought to avoid internal conflict by democratically electing an executive committee and to avoid entangling alliances by focusing on gay and lesbian rights issues. The organization utilized coordinated non-violent confrontational actions in the attempt to leverage the power of the straight and gay press to increase the awareness of gay and lesbian civil rights issues, 1969-1981.
Jim Owles, Marty Robinson, Arthur Evans, and others disenchanted by the lack of structure and focus of the Gay Liberation Front and the rigid hierarchical structure of the Mattachine Society of New York formed the Gay Activists Alliance, GAA. The founders sought to avoid conflicts that had plagued other civil rights organizations by democratically electing an executive committee, holding regular membership meetings, observing parliamentary procedure, and focusing on a single issue, gay and lesbian rights. In December 1969, Owles, Robinson, Evans, Arthur Bell, and eight others (which according to some sources included Kay Tobin, Vito Russo, and Morty Manford) gathered in Bell's apartment to begin the process of forming a new organization. The GAA focused on exclusively on gay and lesbian rights issues, such as the end of discriminatory practices in housing and employment, the repeal of the consensual sodomy statue, and the end of police harassment. The group specialized in direct confrontational actions, "zaps," challenging homophobic comments and politicians to take a stand on issues concerning gays and lesbians. The leadership of GAA attempted to plan their "zaps" to leverage the power of the gay and straight media. What little media coverage GAA received provided some protection against police abuses, increased awareness of gay and lesbian rights issues, and fueled the expansion of the GAA organizational model to other cities across the United States and Canada.
2 Linear Feet 2 archive cartons, 1 flat box
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