December 21, 1969– The Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) was founded in NYC. After The Stonewall Riots, dissident members of the Gay Liberation Front broke away & started their own new group. Their NYC headquarters, a Firehouse at 99 Wooster Street in SoHo was burned down by anti-gay arsonists in October, 1974.
The Gay Activists Alliance stood for writing the revolution into law. Although individual members could support causes not directly related to the oppression of homosexuals, the organization’s single issue focus enabled it direct all of its energy toward working intensively in, on, with, & against “The Establishment” on issues effecting lesbians & gay guys.
The mission statement read:
“We demand our Liberation from repression & to the point where repressive laws are removed from the books & our rights are written into the documents that protect the rights of all people, for without that writing there can be no guarantees of protection from the larger society.”
GAA members performed what they called “Zaps”, public peaceful confrontations with officials & public figures in order to draw media attention to the cause. Some of the more visible actions included protests against an anti-gay episode on the popular TV series Marcus Welby MD, a Zap of handsome NYC Mayor John Lindsay at the Metropolitan Museum & at Radio City Music Hall, a Zap against NY Governor Nelson Rockefeller, a Zap at the city Marriage License Bureau demanding Marriage Equality for gay people, a zap against Fidelifacts, which provided anti-gay information to employers, a zap at the NYC Taxi Commission, which required gay cab drivers to get an OK from a psychiatrist before being employed, & a Zap at the NY Daily News, which had printed an editorial attacking: “queers, lezzies, pansies, call them what you will.”
The group also Zapped CBS & ABC News to protest anti-gay tone of its reporting. Popular talk show host Dick Cavett, who was making relentless anti-gay comments, was forced to give time to GAA spokespeople on his nationally broadcast television show after a single Zap & the threat of more where that came from.
The symbol of the Gay Activists Alliance was the lower case Greek letter lambda (λ). It remains is the oldest continuously active gay organization in the USA. The organization gave birth to Gay Activists Alliance International, which also exists today, working for the rights of gay people in the most those countries most hostile to equality.