Homophile Organizations around the US
Founded in 1950 in Los Angeles to unify homosexuals, the Mattachine Society provided education about homosexuality to the pubilic and addressed issues of oppression. It was organized around the secrecy and anonymity of its members. Over time chapters started in other cities.
The Mattachine Society was the most prominent homophile organization of the 1950s and 1960s. Homosexual organizations in the 1950s and 1960s used the word “homopile” rather than “homosexual” because it implied love rather than sex, reflected that there could be non-homosexual people in the movement, and did not have connotations of criminality and illness.
Homophile organizations could be divided into two groups: 1) those of an assimilationist viewpoint, who stressed that homophiles were no different from straight people and that they could prove themselves as “useful” and worthwhile members to straight society, and 2) those of a sub-cultural viewpoint, who stressed that there was a difference between homophiles and heterosexuals that should be celebrated, fostered, and developed. While assimilationist organizations were more focused on reform, subcultural organizations were focused on radical and militant actions.
Homophile groups included national organizations with local chapters like the Mattachine Society and Daughters of Bilitis as well as independent local groups like Circle of Friends (Dallas), Janus Society (Philadelphia), Knights of the Clock (Los Angeles), Mattachine Midwest (Chicago), ONE, Inc. (Los Angeles), Phoenix Society (Kansas City), and Society for Individual Rights (San Francisco).