Sweeping view of the Pride in Print Exhibition timeline.

PRIDE in PRINT

Exhibition on view June 5 through June 28, 2024.
Please Note:
Some of the language used in these publications is now considered outdated and is no longer used.
EXHIBITION ON VIEW
PRIDE in PRINT
Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
June 5 - June 28, 2024
Governor's Reception Room, 2nd Floor
New York State Capitol

 

Like many historically significant events of the 1960s, the police raid 55 years ago at the Stonewall Inn in New York City on June 28, 1969, and the three days of violence that followed, was a tipping point in the recognition of LGBTQ+ communities across the state and a signal to unite, organize, and vocalize.


When photos of police brutality appeared on the front pages of mainstream newspapers over the next several days, the movement suddenly had recognizability and the attention of the public. Of course, the watered-down narratives that accompanied the powerful images did little to change the general public’s embedded biases of LGBTQ+ communities.


The truth was found on the front lines of the uprising over those three days and in the voices of the LGBTQ+ community. 

We could not as gay liberationists get word out that we even existed. So the only way that we could have the power of the press was to create the press ourselves and to have our own press. 

- Karla Jay, pioneer LGBTQ+ activist, original member of the Gay Liberation Front

 

Activists like the Gay Liberation Front seized the moment to take back their story - not to ask for tolerance and acceptance but to demand equality and celebrate diversity. Within months, there was an explosion of small press LGBTQ+ pamphlets and newsletters across the state from New York City to Buffalo doing just that.

Rise of Underground Presses

Image of an article from the New York Daily News entitled "Homo Nest Raided, Queen Bees Are Stinging Mad"
In 2019, The New York Daily News apologized for this headline published after Stonewall on July 6, 1969.

These typewritten, Xeroxed, and collaged newsletters connected, educated, raised awareness, expressed dissent, and were platforms for a range of opinions. As they circulated to wider audiences, they brought attention to the diversity within LGBTQ+ communities, prompting alliances with causes such as fair housing, African American and women’s rights, and labor legislation.

Over the next two decades, many of these publications folded but some were able to survive and continued to serve a growing and increasingly divergent community as it continued to battle discrimination and confront a host of challenges, including the AIDS pandemic.

New York City
Come Out!

Come Out! was published in June 1969 by the Gay Liberation Front, which was founded on the front lines of the Stonewall uprising. Come Out! celebrated the confidence and pride of LGBTQ+ culture but more importantly, served as a manifesto for revolutionary change.

Image of a page of Come Out! publication with the next "Come Out! A newspaper by and for the gay community"

Come Out! Vol. 1, No. 1, New York City, November 1969

Rochester
Empty Closet

“You, dear Reader, are not alone…”

The Empty Closet is one of the oldest continuously published LGBTQ+ papers in the nation, running for almost fifty years before pausing printing in 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Image of the cover of Empty Closet Magazine

Image courtesy of the University of Rochester, Rare Books, Special Collections and Preservation

Buffalo
Fifth Freedom

Fifth Freedom (1970-1983) included local news stories, a calendar of events, a “poet’s corner,” hand-drawn advertisements, and a “bulletin board” of newspapers, meetings, and publications available to the community throughout the region.

Image of the hand-drawn cover of Fifth Freedom protesting The Buffalo Evening Paper.

Hand-drawn cover of Fifth Freedom protesting The Buffalo Evening paper for refusing to publish the Mattachine Society of the Niagara Frontier’s advertisement in their newspaper. Image courtesy of The Madeline Davis Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Archives of Western New York, E. H. Butler Library, Archives & Special Collections, SUNY Buffalo State.

 

Albany
CommUNITY

This newsletter was produced by the Pride Center of the Capital Region in Albany, New York, the oldest continually operating Pride Center in the nation.

Image of the cover of A Publication for the Gay Community, Albany.

Community, Vol.1 Issue 1, November 1972. Series 2: Publications (1972-2011), Subseries 1: Community (1972-2011) Box 1, The Pride Center of the Capital Region Records, 1965-2017. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York

Syracuse
Gay Light

Gay Light was first printed in 1976 but a lack of funding made it difficult to continue publishing.

The editors of Gay Light used their final issue to emphasize this struggle and also stress the importance of outreach to rural areas of New York where LGBTQ+ communities felt isolated from the rights movement. 

Image of the cover of Gay Light publication.

Connecting in the Age of Information

 

Today, the digital world has become the platform of choice for bringing LGBTQ+ communities together. Social media platforms such as TikTok, Discord, YouTube, and Tumblr are now powerful ways to build community. Hashtags and trending topics have mostly replaced the images, manifestos, and promotion of culture once seen in "underground" newsletters.

Digital publications, libraries, and archives are a simple click away and not bound by physical borders. The online world instantly connects like-minded people in the most populated cities to those in the most rural areas. All of this can be realized in the safety and privacy of home, with less fear or stigma.

Different from the pioneers who used the physical power of print, many of today’s activists are the content creators who use the Internet to give voice and accessibility to a broad spectrum of identities within the LGBTQ+ community, including queer, non-binary, trans, pansexual, BIPOC, and people with disabilities.

Like their LGBTQ+ forbearers' revolutionary calls for recognition and change, the message remains a deeply passionate one - and for many, a lifeline - to increase visibility, foster communities, advance legislation, and provide an equitable society for all LGBTQ+ New Yorkers.