This past Saturday, the Buffalo Niagara LGBTQ History Project (BNLHP) hosted a parade/tour, where participants learned about various infamous/historic LGBTQ hotspots in Buffalo. As paraders were led throughout downtown, they were informed about the people and the places that were considered trailblazers for the pride minded equal rights movement. Stopping points included arrest sites, policed bars, protests for gay liberation, and Buffalo’s Mattachine headquarters.
The parade/tour was held on the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots – also the beginning of the gay liberation movement in Buffalo. The event followed in the footsteps of a gay liberation reunion panel that was held this past Thursday (learn more).
Saturday’s peaceful march was not only informative, it was also a way for members of the LGBTQ community to come together in unity. BNLHP is in place to keep track of the liberation movement, in order to pay tribute to those who risked so much to ensure that the marginalized community could stand proud in years to come.
“Like many former Buffalo gay bars, the Tiki, known for its garish Polynesian-themed decor, is now a parking lot. The bar was the site of, as one community member described it, ‘Buffalo’s Stonewall Moment.’ When the Tiki’s liquor license renewal was denied due to owner Jim Garrow’s homosexual arrest record, the gay community was angered and inspired to begin organizing for their liberation.” – Buffalo-Niagara LGBTQ History Project
“Buffalo’s first gay rights organization, the Mattachine Society of the Niagara Frontier, was born at The Avenue, a dilapidated coffee and juice bar that, until 1972, stood at the site of the present Frank A. Sedita court building. Noted homophile activist Frank Kameny spoke to the gay community and told them to: ‘Get together, write up a Constitution, put the Constitution in a drawer, and go out and work for gay rights!'” – Buffalo-Niagara LGBTQ History Project