The #GayElderCircle is looking forward to the #ResistMarch, which is one week from today. We look back on the events of the #BlackCat where protests 50 years ago took place against police entrapment.
Undercover police arrived at the bar and began beating patrons as they were ringing in the New Year, and ultimately arrested fourteen patrons for “assault and public lewdness”.
The police used deliberate and excessive force during the raid to carry out explicitly homophobic state legislation that prevented queer folks from kissing and/or engaging in any sexual acts, and wearing clothing that did not match their socially prescribed gender role.
This created a riot in the immediate area that expanded to include the bar across Sanborn Avenue called New Faces, where officers knocked down the owner, a woman, and beat two bartenders unconscious. Several days later, this police action incited a civil demonstration of 200 attendees to protest the raids on February 11, 1967.
The demonstration was organized by a group called PRIDE (Personal Rights in Defense and Education) – founded by Steve Ginsberg – and the SCCRH (Southern California Council on Religion and Homophile). The protest was met by squadrons of armed policemen.
Two of the men arrested for kissing were later convicted under California Penal Code Section 647 and registered as sex offenders. The men appealed, asserting their right of equal protection under the law, but the U.S. Supreme Court did not accept their case. However, there were fundraising efforts that reached New York and San Francisco for the six convicted patrons.
In addition, it was from this event that the publication The Advocate began as a newspaper for PRIDE (Personal Rights in Defense and Education). Together the raid on the Black Cat Tavern and later the raid on The Patch in August 1968 inspired the formation of the Metropolitan Community Church led by Pastor #TroyPerry.