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Before the LGBT Pride March

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This year marks the 40th anniversary of the LGBT Pride March (originally called the Christopher Street Liberation march) in New York City and LA.  While the 1970's March is often cited along with Stonewall as the start of the Gay Pride Movement, there were actually public forms of protest happening as early as 1965.These protests were organized primarily by The Mattachine Society of DC and the Daughters of Bilitis.  A driving figure of the protests was Frank Kameny, an astronomer who was fired from his position in the Army Map Service in 1957 for being Gay.  These protests, called Annual Reminders, looked a bit different from the glitter and glamor that we've come to associate with LGBT Pride events today.  In fact, The Mattachine Society ordered a very strict dress code (white shirts and slacks for the men, dresses for the women) and equally strict rules of decorum (no hand-holding or any kind of physical affection allowed).  The New York Public Library's Digital Collections has a whole host of photographs from these protests.

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Here is Kameny leading the picket line at the first annual Reminder Day picket at Independence Hall, Philadelphia, PA, July 4, 1965. You can also find full text articles about Kameny and the protests at the LGBT Studies Database which offers a wealth of information about LGBT history, theory and current events. You can only access the Database from the , but it's worth the trip. You can also check out books like Gay Power by David Eisenbach for a vivid account of the events before and after the first Pride March in 1970.By 1970, the Annual Reminder Protests evolved into a march commemorating the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Craig Rodwell (furious after Kameny admonished two women for holding hands in the 1969 protest), joined existing gay coalitions such as The Gay Activist Alliance, Gay Youth, The Gay Liberation Front and Radical Lesbians to organize the event.  This march looked a little different; no longer a formal, silent appeal for rights, instead a bold demand for equality.

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Nancy Tucker and partner in Butch-Femme t-shirts at the first Pride March in 1970.Even Kanemy took advantage of the new feel of the March.Kanemy in 1965 at the First annual Reminder Day picket at Independence Hall, Philadelphia, PA: 

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Frank Kameny in 1970 with Mattachine Society of Washington members marching at Gay Liberation Day, New York City:

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