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4.1: Religious, Racial, and Cultural Identities

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    68337
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    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Older gay and lesbian people founded Senior Action in Gay Environment (SAGE) in 1977, the first organization of its kind in the United States. Pictured here is the 1979 opening of the Society for Senior Gay and Lesbian Citizens at their new home at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center.

    In the Los Angeles suburb of Huntington Park in 1968, Troy Perry start- ed the first LGBTQ ministry in the United States, the Metropolitan Community Church. Despite homophobic attacks, the congregation grew from 12 members in 1969 to 43,000 members in almost 300 congregations in 22 countries by the 21st century. Father Patrick X. Nidorf opened the first ministry for LGBTQ Catholics, DignityUSA, in Southern California in 1969. By 1972, the organization had members in twenty states and chapters in ten cities. Beth Chayim Chadashim became the world’s first LGBTQ synagogue when it started services in Los Angeles in 1972. The rapid proliferation of LGBTQ synagogues across the world led to the first World Congress of GLBT Jews in 1975. In 1974, Louie Crew began the newsletter Integrity for gay and lesbian members of the Episcopalian Church, resulting in the opening of a handful of Integrity chapters across the United States. In 1977, Matthew Price helped found Affirmation—Gay Mormons United, with early chapters in Salt Lake City, Denver, and Dallas. By 1979, chapters in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Salt Lake City had helped to create a national charter and newsletter.

    In the post-Stonewall era, racially and culturally identified groups also emerged. In 1970, Third World Gay Revolution groups started in New York and Chicago, and Unidos, a Los Angeles organization for gay Latino Americans, held its first meeting. In 1974, African-American and Latina-American lesbians in New York founded Salsa Soul Sisters as a social alternative to the discriminatory bar scene. In 1975, Randy Burns, a Northern Paiute, and Barbara Cameron, a Lakota Sioux, founded Gay American Indians. San Francisco’s Asian-American Alliance and Boston Asian Gay Men and Lesbians were founded in the late 1970s. Other groups of the era include the Native American Gay Rap Group (1972), Gay Latino Alliance/GALA (1975), Third World Lesbian Caucus (1977), and Black Gay Caucus (1977). The National Coalition of Black Gays emerged in 1978 and sponsored the Third World Lesbian and Gay Conference in 1979, bringing together a coalition of racially and culturally identified groups.

    for gay Latino Americans, held its first meeting. In 1974, African-American and Latina-American les-
    bians in New York founded Salsa Soul Sisters as a social alternative to the discriminatory bar scene. In
    1975, Randy Burns, a Northern Paiute, and Barbara Cameron, a Lakota Sioux, founded Gay American
    Indians. San Francisco’s Asian-American Alliance and Boston Asian Gay Men and Lesbians were found-
    ed in the late 1970s. Other groups of the era include the Native American Gay Rap Group (1972), Gay
    Latino Alliance/GALA (1975), Third World Lesbian Caucus (1977), and Black Gay Caucus (1977).
    The National Coalition of Black Gays emerged in 1978 and sponsored the Third World Lesbian and
    Gay Conference in 1979, bringing together a coalition of racially and culturally identified groups.for gay Latino Americans, held its first meeting. In 1974, African-American and Latina-American les-
    bians in New York founded Salsa Soul Sisters as a social alternative to the discriminatory bar scene. In
    1975, Randy Burns, a Northern Paiute, and Barbara Cameron, a Lakota Sioux, founded Gay American
    Indians. San Francisco’s Asian-American Alliance and Boston Asian Gay Men and Lesbians were found-
    ed in the late 1970s. Other groups of the era include the Native American Gay Rap Group (1972), Gay
    Latino Alliance/GALA (1975), Third World Lesbian Caucus (1977), and Black Gay Caucus (1977).
    The National Coalition of Black Gays emerged in 1978 and sponsored the Third World Lesbian and
    Gay Conference in 1979, bringing together a coalition of racially and culturally identified groups.

    clipboard_e42936ff5b394ac6532e62a8cbafe2d7f.png
    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Troy Perry 1940 -

    TROY PERRY, A PENTECOSTAL MINISTER, moved to California after being expelled from his Tennessee congregation because he was gay. Adrift and despondent, Perry was inspired by a police raid of a local gay bar to create “a church for all of us who are outcast.” In October 1968, in the living room of his rented house, Perry conducted the first service of the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC). Membership expanded rapidly, and in 1971 the church purchased property of its own, the first openly LGBTQ organization to do so.

    The expansion of church membership gave Perry a pulpit through which to mobilize LGBTQ people for equal rights. He led effective pro- tests on the discriminatory policies of local businesses, police, and government. Perry went on hunger strikes to raise money and awareness for important causes such as the fight against California Proposition 6 (the initiative proposed to fire gay and lesbian educators from public schools). He performed some of the nation’s first public gay wedding ceremonies in 1969.

    Perry was a national figure within the LGBTQ rights movement. He helped to establish the National New Orleans Memorial Fund to pro- vide medical assistance and support services to victims of a fire that killed 32 people at a New Orleans gay bar that housed MCC church services. In 1977, he participated in the first gay and lesbian coalition to meet at the White House. Perry took a train across the country to encourage support for the 1979 National March on Washington, and in the process brought the LGBTQ movement to previously isolated communities. He performed mass wedding ceremonies at that March on Washington and repeated the act in subsequent marches.

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