A Troubling Period for Diversity

While during the time span between 1924 and 1979 there were only a few groups using terms like transvestite and transsexual that covered advocacy and support for transgender people, concerns related to more contemporary identities of bisexual, transgender, and queer would not have been separated out of wider gay and lesbian concerns until much after this period.

In Chicago, the 1970 murder of James Clay brought about the formation of the Transvestites Legal Committee in 1971. The first part of the following informational handout would be from soon after the founding. The last part, in slightly different font size, would have been added at later time.

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In 1972 the Transvestite Legal Committee presented a “challenge” to the Democratic delegation from Illinois to the Democratic National Convention. This was in response to the "Mandate for Reform” on Party Structure and Delegate Selection by the McGovern-Fraser Commission for the Democratic Party and was proposed for the 1972 Democratic National Convention.

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Likewise there were groups that were composed of gay men and lesbians of color or intentionally interracial and there were people of color involved in majority white gay and lesbian groups.  However, it was not until the end of this period that concerns related to racial or ethnic identity of gay men and lesbians were beginning to be realized in the wider gay and lesbian movement.


June 1966 cover photograph of Ernestine Eckstein, the vice-president of the New York Chapter of Daughters of Bilitis.

The first directory in Chicago published by the Advocates of Gay Action in Winter of 1972, listed the following groups: Bi-sexual Forum, Black Gay Lib, Sons of Sappho, Third World Gay Revolutionaries, and Tranvestite Legal Committee. 6 of the 49 bars listed were primarily black bars on the Southside. These organizations and businesses produced and  preserved very few printed materials and records, so except for oral accounts little is know about them.   

It was not until 1978 that the National Coalition of Black Gays was founded and not until 1979 that the National Third World Lesbian and Gay Conference began, which was held concurrently with the 1979 March on Washington.

Unfortunately, until the end of this peroid, this was not a period of wide spread initiatives for diversity and inclusion.


Promotional information for National Coalition of Black Gays


National Coalition of Black Gays publication Habari-Daftari