Upcoming Event: Panel Discussion: GLF-DC, June 7, 2014

In conjunction with the 2014 Capital Pride festivities, the Rainbow History Project will host a public panel discussion on the 1970s-era Gay Liberation Front (GLF). Invoking the chants used at political rallies and public demonstrations of the time, the panel is titled “‘Gay Power to Gay People’: The Gay Liberation Front-DC.”  The panel is co-sponsored by the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., and will take place at HSW’s Kiplinger Library located in the Carnegie Library at Mount Vernon Square (801 K St. NW) on Saturday, June 7, 2014 at 11 a.m.  The panel discussion is free and open to the public.

Based on the lessons of the Civil Rights Movement, the Women’s Liberation Movement, and the anti-war movement, the Gay Liberation Front was one of many radical groups created following the Stonewall Riots of 1969. Participating in protests, social organizing, and demonstrations, the GLF sought to change social norms and to obtain visibility and rights for all gay people.  Branches were established across the country and often included a commune or social house around which activities revolved.  In Washington, DC, the GLF house was based at 1620 S Street, NW.

The impact of the GLF on the local community, and the countless organizations which its members founded, are key parts of the history tracked by the Rainbow History Project.  The panel will be moderated by Rainbow History Project board member Philip Clark, who stated as his reason for organizing this panel, “In a time of rising assimilation by the LGBT community, it’s crucial to remember the radical roots of our equality movement, as exemplified by Gay Liberation Front-DC.”

Clark will moderate the panel, which will reunite four former members of the GLF in DC for the weekend to speak about the history and influence of GLF:

  • Brian Miller, a longtime resident of DC, attended GLF meetings and was connected to the GLF house and its offshoot, the Skyline Collective.
  • Kent Jarratt, one of the founding members of both GLF-DC and Skyline, helped organize consciousness-raising groups during GLF’s early days
  • Michael Yarr, after leaving the Air Force in 1970, went on to live in the anti-Vietnam war commune Northern Virginia Resistance and helped organize the DC branch of GLF
  • Nancy Tucker, a longtime DC activist and founding editor of our first gay paper, the Gay Blade, also had a public rupture with GLF because of its sexism and exclusion of women .