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40th Anniversary of America's
First Statewide March for Gay Rights
on Albany in March 14, 1971
Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum Albany Park Empire State Pride Agenda remembered the 40th Anniversary of the March in 2 ways. They sent out an email blast and Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum of CBST included it in her Closing Remarks
in Albany on May 9, 2011.

The Rabbi compared the 40 year struggle to freedom for the former slaves of the Bible to the 40 years that passed since America's first Statewide March for Gay Rights. She also talked about how Congressmember Bella Abzug advised the Movement to amend the 1964 Civil Rights Law to include "sexual orientation" after this March and finally introduced it into Congress in 1974.

Two years after the "Stonewall Uprising" there were enough political groups in New York State to have approximately 3,000 marchers in Albany on March 14, 1971. It was the first statewide march in America for Gay Rights. One of the results of the March was a meeting with Congressmember Bella Abzug who later introduced the first federal bill for our rights (Equality Act of 1974) into the House of Representatives.

If we don't remember our history, who will?

Due to AIDS and natural aging so many of our leaders are gone. We should get together and commemorate this March's 40th Anniversary and continue to archive as much as possible before it is too late.

Not only should we remember this event for historical purposes, but also as a call to action to complete the dream of full equality. We still do not have Marriage Equality or full non-discrimination laws for all of the LGBT Community.

madeline sidewalk
The photo includes: Jim Owles (from NYC), Ernie Reaugh (from Albany) Madeline Davis (Buffalo),
Jim Zais (Mattachine in Buffalo) and Michael Hamilton (Buffalo). [Ernie, Jim Zais, Michael and Jim Owles are all deceased.]

The Tri-Cities Gay Liberation Front (GLF) of Albany-Troy-Schenectady sponsored the March. Other groups in attendance were NYC's Gay Liberation Front (GLF) and Gay Activist Alliance (GAA), Rochester, Cornell, Syracuse; the NYC Gay Activists Alliance, Daughters of Bilitis, Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries(STAR), NY Community Center, Third Wold Gay Revolution, Radicalesbians, Gay People at Columbia, Queens Liberation Front, GPC, Long Island GAA, Rochester GLF, Buffalo's Women's Liberation, Cornell University GLF, the Mattachine Society of the Niagara Frontier, Syracuse GLF, Black River Valley Gay Blades of Watertown, and groups from Plattsburgh, Binghampton, Olean and Niagara Falls, and the University of Buffalo's GLF. A contingency even walked all the way from Manhattan to Albany. Speakers included the Reverend Troy Perry, Kate Millett and Madeline Davis. The following was the list of demands:
  • Repeal of the state law making consensual sodomy between adults a criminal act
  • Enactment of a fair employment practices act to cover sexual orientation
  • Enactment of a fair housing act to cover sexual orientation
  • Repeal of the state solicitation laws
  • Repeal of the loitering laws
  • Repeal of the laws against cross-dressing and impersonation by one sex of the other.

  • Photos of the 25th Anniversary Program for the First March on Albany

    This is a photo of the Commemoration in Maarch 1996 with Councilmember Kathryn Freed presenting a Proclamation to some of the people who were at the March in 1971. Sad to say, two of the people in the photo (Betty Santoro and Eleanor Cooper) have passed away.

    Rick Landman standing next to the Exhibit which depicts articles from the National Archive of LGBT History.

    Close up of the Exhibit on Display.

    Ron, Rick and Rich. Rich Wandel actually walked with a group of people from New York City to Albany as part of the 1971 March.
    Ron and Rick took a bus or car.



    We can use this as a start for
    This list is in formation.
  • Rick Landman
  • Rich Wandel
  • Madeline Davis
  • Ron Kohn
  • Bob Bland
  • Jim Zais
  • Michael Hamilton




    This is where I can post the names of some of the walkers and information from Rich Wandel's archives.

    Gay Flag Gay Flag Gay Flag Gay Flag

    madeline capital
    From Madeline Davis:
    I'm afraid I don't have a copy of the speech I made because it was never written. I was in the crowd in front of the Unitarian Church and just before we marched I was tapped to speak because they needed an upstate woman. They already had an upstate man and a downstate man and woman to speak. I followed Kate Millett.

    However, at that time, I was a folksinger and songwriter. On the way home from the march I wrote a song called "Stonewall Nation" which was recorded here in Buffalo and produced by the Mattachine Society of the Niagara Frontier. It is about the March. Every year, Craig Rodwell used to play it at the Oscar Wilde book store during the month of June. The original 45 rpm record had my original poem on it titled: From the steps of the capitol, 1971. I have both of them on CD if you want a copy.

    It was a spectacular event. There is also footage of the event included in the movie, "Swimming With Lesbians", filmed & directed by David Marshall, distributed by Frameline. It is a film about the Archives I founded and now direct and about my own activist history and those around me through the years.

    Subsequent to that march, in the spring of '72, I was elected the first out lesbian delegate to the Democratic National Convention. I was on the McGovern slate as was Jim Foster (dec.) from SF and we both made the first speeches from the podium in Miami in support of a gay rights plank in the Dem Platform. Another amazing experience.

    Madeline Davis, MA, MLIS, Director
    Madeline Davis GLBT Archives of Western NY
    (716) 631-7670

    We were by no means a large contingent. But since I headed up the group, I have personal first hand knowledge that I can give.

    U.B.'s GLF was the first gay and lesbian student group at U.B., and we participated in the First Statewide March on Albany for Gay Rights in 1971 and encouraged a LGBT dialogue at U.B.

    Buffalo's GLF was loosely based on NYC's group. In addition to copying the name, we also used their "Consciousness Raising Groups", Dances as a means of support and mingling, and had a speakers bureau to give talks in various UB and High School classes. We were in the "Second Wave" of GLF organizations that spread across the nation, turning the Stonewall Riot/Rebellion from a pivotal historical event into what would become a global movement. Today's LGBT Alliance is the direct descendant of the first GLF group.


    Photo of Rick Landman (in the yellow T shirt) in the 2010 New York City Heritage of Pride March. Rick joined in representing Buffalo's GLF, while running up the Avenue to Central Park in 1970.

    Personal Story of How the
    Gay Liberation Front (GLF) Got Started in Buffalo in 1970

    by Rick Landman

    high school id-72 high school

    1969 was a pivotal year in most baby boomers' lives and the same was true
    for me.� I was graduating from high school, Nixon was president, people were
    rioting all over the place, my friends went to Woodstock, and I was at home
    thinking about going to Buffalo.� Besides, to me, Woodstock was this tiny
    village down route 28 from where I went to summer camp.� Who knew?� I
    imagined that it would be a small folk festival with Peter Paul and Mary,
    and never would have known that it was going to be the event of the summer.
    Besides, I wasn't ready for a free love experience.� I was still a virgin
    for god's sake.
    ������� But that June was very special to me.� No, not because of Judy Garland's
    death, and not because of the Stonewall Riots, but because I turned
    seventeen on the 15th and was going away to college in September.� My luck,
    I was a virgin in the class of '69.� I knew this must have been a sexual omen.
    ������� School ended before my birthday, so technically I was 16 when they
    graduated me, but I was 17 when I left home.� It was more of a passage into
    adulthood than my Bar Mitzvah at 13.� I actually was going to be on my own
    for the first time in my life.� I didn't think about it much, but I left to
    go to "sleep-away school" and ended up stepping out into a new world of my
    own.� Besides from being a virgin and only 17, I was also 5'2" tall and
    didn't really look and act like the other kids going away to college.� I was
    a nice Jewish boy who finished high school and had no choice but to go on to
    college to become either a doctor or a lawyer.
    ������� I was good at school stuff, and was accepted at a few places, but for
    financial and guilt reasons I knew that I wanted to go to a college that was
    free.� My older brother stayed at home and went to Queens College for free,
    so I figured that I better not cost my folk's too much money.� My parent's
    did help out with room and board and that was all that I wanted to burden
    them with.� So the problem was which school to go to?
    ������� I wanted something far away enough that my mother wouldn't be able to come
    up at the spur of the moment.� An eight hour drive seemed long enough to
    accomplish this.� But I didn't even know where Buffalo really was.� All I
    knew was that it was still in New York State and my Regents Scholarship
    Award would pay for all the tuition.� It was also being touted as the
    world's largest construction project and that it would be a huge university
    where I could find anything that I wanted.� I knew that it was near Niagara
    Falls, because we visited it for sweat shirts on my senior trip in summer
    camp when we stopped by the Falls. I knew it was also near the Canadian
    border, which during the Viet Nam era, seemed to be a big plus.� A lot of
    kids in my grade were considering fleeing across the border, and being a son
    of two Holocaust Survivors, the comment, "Where would you flee to if you had
    to leave?" was a familiar one to me.
    ������� So that July I flew up to Buffalo for a summer orientation program to see
    if I would be happy there.� It was my first plane flight and was my first
    time ever traveling alone.� I put on my new jeans, button down blue shirt,
    penny loafers and headed into the world of student standby flights.� I think
    American Airlines charged $11.50 each way.


    ������� When I landed I asked the taxi driver to bring me to the house at the
    corner of Main and Merrimac across from the U.B. campus.� A neighbor named
    Judy was going to U.B. at the time, and I was going to stay over for the
    weekend. She was actually the one whose description of the place sold me on
    going to Buffalo.� She made it sound radical, fun, exciting and totally
    different than the quiet block that we grew up on in Floral Park, New York.
    It seemed that that year, all the baby boomers from New York City were going
    to school in Buffalo.� But the cab driver didn't know where Merrimac was so
    he dropped me off in the middle of the Main Street Campus in front of what
    was then called Norton Hall, which was the Student Union.� There I stood in
    my new clothes and a little suitcase wondering what to do.
    ������� A tall, handsome senior was lying on the lawn in front of the building
    reading a book.� I asked him if he knew where Merrimac Street was and he
    corrected me that in Buffalo you didn't have to say Street after the name
    and that� he lived one house up from Judy on the corner of Main and
    Merrimac.� She actually lived one house down on the block.� We talked a
    while and then he escorted me over to Merrimac.� I thought he was gorgeous,
    politically aware, brilliant and friendly, and he thought I was funny,
    different and a bundle of energy.� It ended up that his girlfriend Sandy was
    one of the freshmen orientation leaders, so I was able to see Greg througout
    the entire weekend.� I went to the program, but the only event that I
    remember is getting a little crazy from a glass of wine and dancing in the
    water fountain behind Norton Union.� But my fate was settled.� I would be
    attending U.B. for the next four years, and I had a new friend named Greg
    who knew everybody and was my new close friend.
    ������� When I got home I immediately wrote to Greg and couldn't wait to get back
    in September.� I remember that when my family was sitting on my bed watching
    the men land on the moon later that month, I was at my desk writing Greg a
    letter.� 1969 was full of everything.
    ������� I knew that liked boys in a special way, but hadn't really told everyone
    except my summer camp counselor when I was 12 and a few select people. At
    the time, the word gay was something new.� The books all called men
    homosexuals if they liked other guys, and school kids still used the word
    faggot.� Compared to those terms I was glad when the word gay became popular.
    ������� But even though Greg had a girlfriend, he was extremely liberal and
    progressive.� He lived with Gene, a 40 year old gay black man with alcohol
    problems who worked at a bar, and Gary, another student who was very
    "sensitive".� So in September, when my parents drove me up to stay in some
    garden apartment development called Allenhurst which was used as emergency
    housing for the baby boomers who flooded U. B., I knew that my time would be
    spent elsewhere.
    ������� Allenhurst was actually a new experiment in college living.� You could only
    get to live there by winning a lottery.� It was sort of off-campus,
    co-educational with five same sex people living in a two-bedroom two duplex
    with a garage beneath.� But there could be five women living in an apartment
    right next door.� This was also the first year that some of the other dorms
    actually became co-educational with men being on one floor and women being
    on the other.� I remember the stories of how the women had urinals in their
    bathrooms and placed ivy growing in them.
    ������� My housemates were also four freshmen. I lucked out and only had one other
    boy as my bedroommate, named Paul, and three other guys shared the other
    bedroom.� There was a bunk bed and a regular bed.� Now adays, I wonder how
    we all shared one bathroom in the morning.� But I guess we did.� I had five
    upper class wrestlers living next door.� We didn't have much in common,
    except for the fact that I could have had a crush on them if they weren't
    such idiots.� I became the mascot of the entire courtyard.� I painted our
    apartment, and did the cooking and cleaning and was the town yenta.
    Everybody sort of knew me.� It was my way of getting over the loneliness of
    living alone I guess.� I was known as being political and crazy, but it
    wasn't until after I left that Thanksgiving that the rumor must have gone
    around that I was also queer.� My poor roommate must have had a lot of
    explaining to do.
    ������� The college ran a bus run up the street to campus, but I used my bicycle,
    rain or shine, dry or snow, to get to classes, and then after school I would
    visit Greg.� After one month of school, we started having demonstrations
    against the Viet Nam war and administration policy.� I remember protesting
    against THEMIS, which was some underwater military project, and know that we
    protested against ROTC, the changed location of the campus from the
    democratically controlled downtown to the republican swamp called Amherst.
    We were demonstrating against everything. By the time we reached Halloween,
    I think the school was closed more than open.� Then came the national
    anti-war demonstrations and I think classes actually stopped.� We spent our
    time having snow ball fights with the campus police and then the City police.
    riotsDowntown Buffalo
    riotsStudents Massing on Main Street
    riotsPolice tear gassing on Main Street
    riotsPolice coming up Main Street - at Winspear

    � That sort of ended after the Kent State massacre, and after the
    Buffalo City Police started using shot guns to shoot at us.� When I left in
    1975, you could still see the buckshot holes in front doors of the Student
    ������� It was 1970 and I had my first drink, my first smoke, and my first riot
    before the year was out.� I also remember that one the wrestlers next door
    broke a chair over my back for allegedly bringing friends into the house who
    smoked marijuana.� So over the 1969 Thanksgiving Break I moved out of
    Allenhurst and into Greg's attic at the corner of Main and Merrimac on top
    of a store for $25 a month.� By the second semester I was in love and ready
    to do anything for the revolution that was coming, the new way of life and
    the man I loved so dearly.
    ������� I was in heaven.� I was surrounded by interesting people, including this
    sort of woman's collective next door on top of a cleaners.� Five U.B.
    students, Marsha, Barbara, Cindy, Dana, and Margie lived there, and we
    shared almost everything and spent most nights together.� My closet friend
    next door was Marsha who was the one I would share all of my closet secrets.
    ������� You have to remember, this was an era change and free thinking.� We all
    spent hours debating esoteric or political issues way into the wee hours of
    the morning.� Besides, being young and inquisitive, the early 1970's were
    geared to reinforcing all the beliefs of the late 1960's.� The womens'
    movement was becoming stronger and the gay movement was starting in New York
    City.�� In 1969,� the Gay Liberation Front and a group called the Gay
    Activist Alliance were forming in New York City.� Buffalo already had a
    Mattachine Society (of which I considered older more apolitical homosexuals)
    and had this new group of women who called themselves the Radicalesbians.
    Marsha, Barbara and Cindy all had feminist friends who would stop by and
    leave books or have discussions on breaking down sex roles and loving
    whomever you wanted.� This was also the period of "Free Love", the birth
    control pill and no AIDS.� The worst thing that people got was the crabs,
    and you would hear occasionally that someone got the clap.� But I was still
    a virgin in love with a man with a girlfriend.
    ������� But when I was hanging around the women next door too much, someone told
    that no men were allowed and why didn't I go and start my own group.� But
    there wasn't any men's group.� There was Women's Liberation, there were
    lesbian groups, but no place for feminist men or gay men to go.� So I
    figured I could change that.
    ������� I was always starting groups and getting involved in one thing or another,
    and besides, I knew most of the people in the Student Association due to my
    other activities.� I had helped to start food co-ops, intermural instead of
    intercollegiate sports, political clubs, etc. so why not start a gay men's
    group?� I filled out a form, and attended a meeting and asked for $800 to
    start the Gay Men's Liberation Front.� I got the name from reading something
    about New York City's GLF.� I think Buffalo was one of the first, if not the
    first place outside of New York City to have a GLF.
    ������� The S.A. meeting was uneventful.� When I stood up to explain my proposal
    for funding a Gay group, the first reaction from my friends was laughter.
    They thought I was not serious and was putting on a comic routine for them.
    I had to really shift gears to get them to realize that this was important
    to me and that I would fight to get it.� With giggles on their face, they
    approved the club and I remember walking across the long lawn down to a bank
    in a small shopping center across from the dorms with the $800 check, saying
    to myself, that there is some truth to the expression that I laughed all the
    way to the bank.
    ������� I deposited the $800 and then wondered what I would do with it.� I remember
    speaking with the few gay students that I knew by then, and we decided that
    we would put on a dance and see if anyone came.�� I remember flying down to
    the Oscar Wilde Bookstore on Christopher Street to buy anything gay to bring
    back for a library at school.� I think most of the literature had pictures.
    We booked the large room at Norton Union and made flyers which I posted on
    the windshields of the cars in the parking lot in the gay bar downtown,
    which I think was called the Hibachi Room and hired a group named Rufus to
    play music for us.� I put my name down as the president and Mike Hamilton
    was the vice president and I think that Benny Wohlman was another officer.
    To my surprise, over 50 people came to that first dance, and from then on
    people signed up and joined our group.� Before long, a woman wanted to join,
    so we voted to drop the "Men's" from our name and become a Gay Liberation
    Front similar to the movement spreading across the country.� I wrote
    articles for the student newspaper the Spectrum, and spoke in Sociology
    classes, handed out flyers on Gay Liberation (see attached) and started
    Men's Consciousness Raising Groups, but to tell you the truth, I was still a
    virgin at the time.� And that was how the group got started.
    ������� We tried to be as political as we knew, and it seemed that everyone else
    was also trying out the sexual part of the liberation experience, but not
    me.� I was still a bit uneasy and no one ever really approached me in that way.
    ������� Within a year , we had three Men's Consciousness Raising groups in progress
    and were planning to participate in the March 14, 1971 March on Albany for
    Lesbian and Gay Rights.� I know we sent some buses and a carpool to attend
    the event.� I think I went on the bus.� It was around that time that I
    figured I had to explain all of this to my parents.� They knew of my
    politics, dope smoking and feminist views, but the actual sex stuff never
    came up.
    ������� It was on February 26, 1971, at one of our Consciousness Raising sessions
    that I mentioned to a newly forming group that I was a virgin.� You see, I
    would attend the first meeting of the group, and in similar fashion to the
    group therapy session that I was attending from U.B.'s clinical program,
    would ask the group to go around answering some simple questions like when
    was the first time that you had a gay experience and how it was.
    ������� When it came to my time, I told the group that I was a 18 year old virgin
    and had to go to another meeting.� I mean I was only starting the groups, I
    couldn't be expected to spill my guts with eveyone at the group.� So after
    telling them of my sexual status one of the guys named Sam Goldsmith
    escorted me into a side room to discuss it more fully.� I had my first
    sexual experience right there in the room next to all that consciousness
    being raised.
    ������� I called home that night to wish my parents a Happy 25th Anniversary, and
    mentioned that when they asked me over Christmas Break about drugs, sex and
    politics I told them I had done two out of the three, but that now it was
    three out of the three.� My father asked if we knew the girl and I answered,
    "there were no girls there."� That is how I sort of came out to my folks.
    They knew that I was active in sexual politics but thought that it was an
    academic political rebellion phase up to that point.� Now they had to really
    come to grips with it.
    ������� My father joked that my mother and I lost our virginity on the same day,
    just 25 years apart.� Then he asked what Sam did.� I told him that he was
    pre-med.� He laughed again, and told my mother on the other extension phone
    that at least I was going with a Jewish doctor.� He then went on to use an
    analogy of what his life was at the time.� He told me how as a young 17 year
    old Jewish boy in Germany, he would come home from school and asked his
    mother why everyone hated him.� She told him that the whole world was crazy
    and that there was nothing wrong with being Jewish, but that his life would
    be harder because of it.� But that he should be proud of himself and his
    religion.� My father then told me that the whole world hated homosexuals,
    and that my life would be harder because of it, but that I was still his
    Ricky, and that even though they didn't know any "gay people" they would not
    make things harder for me.� They suggested that I come home to discuss this
    all, but I told them about going to Albany the next month for a Gay Rights tri
    ������� It was hard for them to say anything negative, after teaching me all my
    life that we must fight discrimination with all our might and make sure that
    the hatred of the Holocaust never occur again.� So in a way I was lucky.� I
    received more support than most.� But I think that is why I had the guts at
    17 to start a gay group.
    ������� But on an eventful night that year, after I was no longer a virgin, while
    Greg and I were in his bed having one of our platonic all night discussions,
    I asked him if he was gay.� He said that he thought about such things from
    time to time, but never had any experiences, but that there was nothing
    wrong with it.� Remember Gene, our other housemate was gay, so obviously I
    thought it wouldn't be a problem.� But then I mentioned that I was not only
    gay, but I that I loved him.� Whoops..., now everything changed.
    ������� Greg told me that things have gotten out of hand, and that it would be best
    if I would move out.� So I went to Marsha and cried and complained and told
    her how upset I was.� Well, although everyone was understanding and helped
    me to pack, I sort of had a difficult time of it.
    ������� To make a long story short, I moved out and Greg and Marsha fell in love
    and are married now for about 20 years and have two children.
    ������� GLF continued to grow during our first year, in numbers of people and
    importance.� We were an important part of the March on Albany, and did help
    to set the climate for the formation of College F and other pro-diversity
    programs.� I found some flyers which I am enclosing which is all that I have
    left from those days.� Too bad none of us knew that we were creating
    history.� But for 27 years no one ever cared much about it.� Now I've heard
    that most of my early friends are dead, and I thought it would be important
    for people to know how things started.

    Here are 3 original flyers that I wrote in 1970.

    To read other stories by Rick Landman about life at UB in the 1970's click below:

    ballThe End of Women's Bowling 101!pin

    matthew"There by the Grace of...", A Story about Fag Bashing at UB

    . . . . .
    Publishing Book Gay Liberation Front - GLF at UB IALGCHS March on Washington LGBT Memorial Day
    . . . . .