Gay Liberation Front, GLF-DC (Series XVII)


Gay Liberation Front, GLF-DC (Series XVII)


Collection includes newsletters, flyers, magazines, and fact sheets related to the formation and activities of the DC Gay Liberation Front (DC GLF), including weekly meetings at Grace Episcopal Church; the founding of the Gay Liberation Front house at 1620 S St. NW; proposed protests in DC; a copy of the last issue of Motive (a publication of the Methodist church), which Skyline Faggots members were heavily involved in writing and designing; and Gay Pride 1972, the initial gay pride week celebration in Washington DC.  Also included are items related to a DC GLF reunion organized by Bruce Pennington and Theodore Kirkland over the weekend of the April 1993 gay March on Washington.  Also includes photographs documenting social and political activities engaged in by DC GLF and its offshoot, the Skyline Faggots Collective, notably marching in Christopher Street Liberation Day celebrations in New York City; participating in Gay Mayday in 1971; and social outings in DC and Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.  The collection also has larger several physical objects related to DC GLF, including banners hung at the Skyline Faggots Collective house at 1614 S St. NW; a yellow, hand-knitted beret worn by DC GLF/Skyline Faggots member Michael Ferri at the September 1971 Philadelphia plenary session prior to the Black Panthers’ Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention in Washington DC in November 1971; and a graphic poster mounted on foam board advertising activities for Gay Pride Week in Washington DC, May 2-7, 1972, which was organized by DC GLF members Chuck Hall, Bruce Pennington, and Cade Ware.  

As a whole, these materials help document early post-Stonewall gay liberationist activities through the formation of the first organized gay group in DC after the Mattachine Society of Washington and the Homophile Social League.



The first Gay Liberation Front was founded in New York City shortly after the June 1969 Stonewall riots, as an offshoot of the homophile group the Mattachine Society of New York. The Gay Liberation Front was a revolutionary organization dedicated to overthrowing a sexist, racist, capitalistic society by joining in coalition with other oppressed social groups, such as women, African Americans, the working classes, Chicanos and Latinos, and American Indians. It also asked participants to engage in self-examination, often facilitated in the form of consciousness-raising groups, to rid themselves of their own internalized self-hatred, sexism, racism, and classism.

The Washington DC version of the Gay Liberation Front (DC GLF) was founded following a letter to the editor of the underground newspaper The Quicksilver Times. This letter appeared in the June 9th-June 19th, 1970 edition and was written by Michael Yarr, an Air Force veteran and participant in local anti-Vietnam War groups. It protested the paper’s derogatory use of the word “sucks” in a headline and called for the foundation of a DC Gay Liberation Front. David Aiken, a local gay man who would go on to serve as Washington correspondent for The Advocate, work on the local LGBT Friends radio show from 1973-1982, chair the Washington Area Gay Community Council in the mid-1970s, and found the DC chapter of Black and White Men Together (BWMT), followed up with an editorial in the Quicksilver Times of June 23-July 3, 1970 discussing the proposed group. DC GLF’s first meeting was held at Grace Episcopal Church in Georgetown on June 30, 1970. Meetings between March and July 1971 were held at St. James Episcopal Church, after which formal public meetings are no longer held. Meeting activity shifts to the GLF House at 1620 S St.

DC GLF participated in a variety of political and social activities in Washington DC before fading after 1972. Political activities included handing out thousands of “Are You a Homosexual?” awareness leaflets to passersby; protesting carding policies at DC gay bars that were biased against African Americans, women, or men in drag; disrupting an anti-gay Catholic psychiatrist’s speech during a conference on religion and the homosexual at Catholic University; protesting against the listing of homosexuality as a mental disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) during the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) annual conference in 1971; participating in the Gay Mayday protests against the Vietnam War as part of the larger Mayday protests in May 1971; participating in both the Philadelphia plenary session (September 1971) and the Black Panthers’ Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention in DC (November 1971); protesting the expulsion of GLF members from the Zephyr Cocktail Lounge on the weekend of the RPCC; marching in Christopher Street Liberation Day parades in New York City; protesting police arrests of cruising gay men at Arlington’s Iwo Jima Memorial; and the formation of the first DC Gay Pride Week from May 2-7, 1972, organized by DC GLF members Chuck Hall, Bruce Pennington, and Cade Ware.

Socially, many DC GLF activities centered around a house rented by members at 1620 S St. NW beginning in September 1970. This house became the site not only of a GLF commune, but also helped to shelter gay people and activists in town from other cities and gay youth who had either run away or been turned out of their homes. It was the site of the foundation of the Church of the Community of the Love of Christ, an orthodox Catholic congregation, and was eventually formally named the Gay Liberation Services House in April 1972, providing counseling, a referral service, a library, and a speakers bureau. A combination of internal house tensions and the desire of certain members to engage in more explicitly political consciousness raising led to the formation of an offshoot commune, the Skyline Faggots Collective, in July 1971. The Skyline Faggots Collective was first housed down the street at 1614 S St. NW and, from 1974-1976, at 1733 Q St. NW. More public social activities included cosponsoring the first public gay dance in DC, held November 14, 1970 at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, a boat cruise on the Potomac, and picnics in local parks. Members of the Skyline Faggots also took trips to Shenandoah and Harpers Ferry, WV, the latter of which is documented in photos in the collection taken by Steve Behrens.

A DC GLF reunion was held in April 1993 on the same weekend as the gay and lesbian March on Washington. It was organized by Theodore Kirkland, a DC GLF member who would go on to found DC Gay Black Pride, and Bruce Pennington, who helped found the LGBT Friends radio program in 1973, the Gay People’s Alliance at George Washington University, the DC chapter of Black and White Men Together (BWMT), and was one of the first officially-sanctioned gay foster parents in DC.


Photographs of DC Gay Liberation Front members at various events in the Washington, DC area and in New York City; facts sheets and newsletters about GLF activities; and materials about an April 1993 GLF reunion. Materials focus on early gay liberation activities in DC from both a social and political perspective.

Access Rights

Some items are available online. Collection is available to all people, by appointment, at the DC History Center as MS 0764 RHP, Series XVII. Materials are available for "fair use" and may be protected by copyright.

Collection Items

Published book189 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm ISBN: 9780578728728Gay Liberation Front (Washington, D.C.)Gay men -- Washington (D.C.)Gays -- Washington (D.C.)

GLF-DC: Rabble with a Cause
After New York’s Stonewall riots in 1969, the first gay activists to burst out across the country called themselves “the Gay Liberation Front.” This document recounts the brief career of GLF-DC, the capital city’s manifestation of that…

This is a video recording of a reunion held for the Gay Liberation Front DC.

Gay Liberation Front-DC members (and others?)  at Christopher Street Liberation Day parade
Gay Liberation Front-DC members march with unknown others outside Radio City Music Hall during the Christopher Street Liberation Day parade.

National Gay Task Force event
Members of the National Gay Task Force gather with politicians at a press conference in the Rayburn House Office Building announcing the introduction of the Civil Rights Amendment of 1975, H.R. 5452. This would have added "affectional or sexual…

Gay Liberation Front-DC members (and others?) at Christopher Street Liberation Day parade
Members of the Gay Liberation Front-DC participate in the Christopher Street Liberation Day parade

Gay Liberation Front-DC members hold chapel in the GLF House at 1620 S St. NW
Religious services being held in the GLF House at 1620 S. St. NW

Gay Liberation Front-DC members and others at Christopher Street Liberation Day parade
At least two members of Gay Liberation Front-DC march with others in Christopher Street Liberation Day parade, likely 1974

Former members of Gay Liberation Front-DC
Former Gay Liberation Front-DC members at City Center 55th Street Theater [now known as New York City Center, 131 W. 55th St.]

GLF Members at 1620 S St Collective
On the floor at GLF House, 1620 S St. NW, Washington, DC, circa 1971

Because ...
Poster outlining reasons to be in support of the Lesbian/Gay Liberation Movement
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