By Matthew Breen
Originally published on Advocate.com February 17 2012 5:00 AM ET
In 1967 life for many LGBTs might not have been much different than it was in 1966 or 1965. We were marginalized, invisible, with few places to gather and virtually no quarter in any part of society.
Everything changed just after midnight on January 1, when plainclothes police officers raided the Black Cat, a bar in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles. The officers beat patrons for kissing and embracing in celebration of the New Year, and 14 people, patrons and staff, were arrested. In February an unprecedented 200 people gathered outside the Black Cat to demonstrate against police harassment and brutality. In September of that year, born out of that protest, The Los Angeles Advocate began to circulate. And two years later The Advocate, as it was known by then, reported on the Stonewall riots of June 28, 1969.
This year we mark the 45th anniversary of the Black Cat raid and protest, both red-letter dates in the early gay rights struggle, as well as the 45th anniversary of this publication. From now through the September issue, online and in print, we will be showcasing some significant moments from our history as the longest-running LGBT news publication in the world. And this month in Los Angeles, we will be celebrating the milestone with an Advocate 45th anniversary gala presented by Lexus and in support of the Point Foundation, a fantastic organization that provides scholarships, mentoring, leadership training, and hope for students of merit who have been marginalized due to sexual orientation or gender identity.
As a staff we're having a good time looking back to our roots, and we couldn't help but have the celebration spill out onto the cover. Our image of Madonna, the most prominent gay icon of any recent generation, pays homage to one of the most exciting images in psychedelia from 1967, Neon Rose #12 by San Francisco artist Victor Moscoso, shown above.