Transgender Chairwoman Autumn Sandeen – Compton’s Cafeteria Riot occurred in August 1966

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At the North County Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Pride at the beach on Oct 9, 2010 DOD FED GLOBE Transgender Chairwoman Autumn Sandeen was the keynote speaker. She choose for her topic to explain the history of Compton’s Cafeteria Riot occurred in August 1966.

Compton’s Cafeteria was one of a chain of cafeterias, owned by Gene Compton, in San Francisco from the 1940s to the 1970s. The Compton’s at 101 Taylor Street (at Turk) in the Tenderloin—an eatery open from 1954 to 1972—was one of the few places where Transgender people could congregate publicly in the city, because they were unwelcome in gay bars at that time. In addition, the cafeteria was open 24 hours a day until the riots occurred. At that time, trangender people were commonly referred to as Hair Fairies. Because cross-dressing was illegal at the time, police could use the presence of transgender people in a bar as a pretext for making a raid and closing the bar.

Many of the militant hustlers and street queens involved in the riot were members of Vanguard, the first known gay youth organization in the United States, which had been organized earlier that year with the help of radical ministers working with Glide Memorial Church, a center for progressive social activism in the Tenderloin for many years. A lesbian group of street people was also formed called the Street Orphans.

Autumn eloquently aligns our LGBT history with the civil rights movement then in the 1960s; it is all tied together.

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