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Homosexual Democracy in America: Political Ideology and Organization in the Mattachine, 1950-1954

Foote, Learned

The Mattachine Society brought about the inception of American homosexual
organization at the dawn of the Cold War. Founded in 1950 and continuing to the
Stonewall Riots of 1969, the Mattachine developed from a small group of five men who
met secretly in a Los Angeles home into a public organization that had thousands of
members over its lifetime. Spontaneously spreading to San Francisco and other parts of
California, the Mattachine inspired chapters in New York City, Denver, Washington DC,
and several states throughout the country. The organization founded a not-for-profit
corporation for education and debate, held discussion groups, published newsletters and a
monthly magazine, corresponded internationally, spoke on the radio, offered legal
counsel to gay people, and sponsored important scientific research. The Mattachine
Society and closely affiliated groups, along with contemporaneous lesbian movement
Daughters of Bilitis, were the first American organizations to advocate for homosexuals
and to inspire historic levels of gay membership

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B.A., Columbia University
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May 6, 2011
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