Honoring and Protecting LGBT history in the Village
I wanted to be sure you saw our recent letter to the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) about the remarkable history of 80 Fifth Avenue which served as the founding headquarters of the first national LGBT rights organization in the country, the National Gay Task Force (now the National LGBTQ Task Force), which was located here from 1973 to 1986 – read the letter here (skip to the section on the Task Force here). It’s part of our ongoing effort to secure landmark designation for the area of Greenwich Village and the East Village south of Union Square, which was a nexus for civil rights and social justice activism (in addition to the Task Force, the NAACP and the New York Woman’s Suffrage League were all headquartered here, among many others), as well as to secure recognition and landmark designation of sites of significance to LGBT history in our neighborhoods, including leading the successful efforts to secure landmark designation for the Stonewall Inn, The LGBT Community Center, and the Gay Activists Alliance Firehouse, as well as the ongoing effort to secure landmark designation for Julius’ Bar, the city’s oldest gay bar and the site of the groundbreaking 1966 “Sip In” protesting anti-gay discrimination (more info here).
While located at 80 Fifth Avenue, the Task Force accomplished some remarkable achievements, including getting the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses, getting the federal government to end its decades-old ban on gay people serving in federal employment, securing the first-ever meeting between the White House and an LGBT group, introducing the first federal gay rights legislation, securing the first federal funding for AIDS education and approval of the first AIDS test, getting the name “Gay Related Immune Deficiency Syndrome” changed to “Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome,” securing significant support for equality from leading women’s rights and African American civil rights organizations as well as the Democratic Party, and launching campaigns which led to Hate Crimes legislation and civil rights protections across the country.
We are urging the Mayor, the LPC Chair, and Councilmembers Corey Johnson and Carlina Rivera to support this effort to landmark and protect this important history. I hope you will join us by sending a letter supporting designation here. And consider supporting our efforts by making a donation here.