WATCH: March Honors 46th Anniversary of Compton's Cafeteria Riots
BY Diane Anderson-Minshall
August 23 2012 5:31 PM ET
In the 1960s, Compton's Cafeteria in San Francisco's gritty Tenderloin neighborhood was virtually the only place in the city where transgender folks could congregate publicly, as they weren't allowed in gay bars at the time. Cross-dressing was still illegal in the city, and the local police often used the presence of trans women as a pretext for raiding and closing gay bars.
The patrons at Compton's were used to being rousted by the police, but one night, after a cop attempted to arrest one trans woman, that "street queen" (as the women were often called) fought back and tossed her drink into the officer's face. A huge riot broke out and spilled into the neighborhood, becomimg one of the first transgender uprisings in the U.S., three years before New York's Stonewall. (There was a much smaller riot in L.A. in 1959.)
Trans people weren't the only ones rioting as the hours went on; they were joined by many from the country's first youth group, Vanguard Youth, as well as numerous street dykes, queer hustlers, and neighborhood locals. Later LGBT folks from other parts of the city joined in.
The Compton's riot was a turning point in trans liberation, and by 1969 the first transgender advocacy group in the nation -- and the world -- had been founded, according to GLBTQ.com.
- R&B Singer Monifah Carter Talks About Her Journey as a Lesbian in the Music Industry
- Meet the 2013 Point Foundation Scholars
- Filipino Archbishop Says Gay Men and Lesbians Can Marry — Each Other
- PHOTOS: Marry Me in Maine
- Advocate.com | Gay News | The Advocate | The World's Leading Source for LGBT News and Entertainment
- Sen. Lisa Murkowski Endorses Marriage Equality
Sign Up For Email Updates
- Entertainment News Muscle Worship: Meet the Men of L.A.'s New Gay Strip Club 1 hour 3 min ago
- Religion Filipino Archbishop Says Gay Men and Lesbians Can Marry — Each Other 2 hours 52 min ago
- Travel Drag Racing in Jerusalem 7:20 PM
- Crime Police Seek Suspects Who Vandalized Chick-fil-A With Antigay Slurs 7:18 PM
- Women Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King Among First Inductees to Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame 6:51 PM
- Entertainment News Dolce & Gabbana Sentenced To Jail 6:20 PM
- Politicians President Obama Adresses LGBT Rights in Berlin Speech 4:59 PM