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LGBTQ+ Students Organize Anti-War Protest

Anti-war sentiment rose across the country in the midst of the Vietnam War for a variety of reasons, including pacifism, anti-imperialism, solidarity with the Vietnamese, and even a desire by some young people not to be drafted. Many anti-war activists also supported gay liberation. In contrast to the homophile movement, which fought for equal rights for LGBTQ+ people, starting in the 1960s gay liberationists also sought to change social attitudes. Calling for “gay rights,” gay liberation activists emphasized using direct action to fight injustice, whether it be homophobia and transphobia in the United States or the ongoing conflict overseas. They also sought to challenge gender roles and argued that war and aggression would end if society rejected traditional ideas about masculinity. This article was published in the Berkeley Barb, a student newspaper, in 1969, in order to generate interest in an upcoming anti-war demonstration.

GAY MAY DAY / WASHINGTON, D.C. (LNS) — Gay Liberation, which made its first appearance at anti-war marches in the fall of 1969, will be out in full force for the spring anti-war campaign. A massive gay presence is being organized around the slogan “May Day is Gay Day”. Gay May Day Tribes are coordinating actions, housing, publicity and political education around the spring anti-war offensive. It is hoped that several thousand gay people will unite — as revolutionary gays — while in the nation’s capital. A gay contingent is also being organized for the April 24 antiwar march.... A Gay May Day Tribe press release [stated]: “War, American style, is a man’s game, where to prove his masculinity, he must maim or kill women, children, the very old, the very young, and his own bro… War is an extension of our own oppression because it reinforces the masculine image of males and forces them into playing roles where the end result is the death of millions of people.”

Source | “Gay May Day.” Berkely Barb, April 19-15, 1971. Accessed March 21, 2021.
Item Type | Newspaper/Magazine
Cite This document | “LGBTQ+ Students Organize Anti-War Protest ,” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed September 26, 2023,

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