How L.A. Played a Crucial Role in the Start of the Gay Rights Movement

Tomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of the nation’s first major LGBTQ protest—and it happened in Silverlake

On February 11, 1967, hundreds of LGBTQ Angelenos met at the Sunset and Hyperion to protest mistreatment by the police. The rally—organized after plainclothes officers beat and arrested 14 people at the Black Cat Tavern for kissing at a New Year’s Eve celebration—was the largest demonstration for gay rights that had ever occurred in the U.S. (Two years later protestors would take to the streets of New York City in the Stonewall Uprising.)

RELATED: Before Stonewall: How a Brutal Police Raid in 1966 at Silver Lake’s Black Cat Tavern Ignited the Nation’s First Gay Rights Rally

Tomorrow night, city leaders and LGBTQ community members will gather at the Black Cat Tavern to mark the anniversary with a re-enactment of the protest, speeches, and live performances. The event is sponsored by City Council member Mitch O’Farrell, who is the first openly gay person elected to the 13th Council District seat. Alexei Romanoff, who organized the 1967 demonstration, will be in attendance.