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  • Writer's pictureWalnut Psychotherapy

July 4th in Philly: A Radical, Gay History

The protests were called the Annual Reminder, the first of which was held on July 4th, 1965. Gay rights activists dressed in regular business clothing ("normalcy drag") and picketed outside of City Hall, carrying signs with slogans like "Homosexual citizens demand their civil rights." Activists wanted to remind the world that gay people didn't have civil rights protections. In facet, homosexuality was still considered a mental disorder in the DSM.

The protests ran for four year, with the last one happening just a few days after the Stonewall Riots. The Annual Reminder pickets were some of the earliest organized gay rights demonstrations and one of the first to happen for consecutive years. The first picket in 1965 had about 40 participants and at the time, was the largest, recorded demonstration for gay rights in world history. While the pickets weren't perfect, there is record that the crowd was diverse across race and gender. These actions were revolutionary for their time and leaders only suspended the protests to help organize a march for the first anniversary of Stonewall. That march is now remembered as the first New York Pride Parade. We'll never forget that Philly helped kick it all off!


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