Monday, June 24, 2019

Kennedy School History Pub

50 years After Stonewall: Looking Back on How it has impacted Portland’s LGBTQ Community

Kennedy School

6 pm doors, 7 pm event

Free. First come, first served. Arrive early!

All ages welcome

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About 50 years After Stonewall: Looking Back on How it has impacted Portland’s LGBTQ Community

50 years After Stonewall: Looking Back on How it has impacted Portland’s LGBTQ Community

Presentations by Darcelle, Holly Hart, Kathleen Saadat & Susie Shephard, early PDX LGBTQ activists Jeff Stookey, PDX gay community historian.

Join us for presentations about the 1969 NYC incident and learn how it affected life for Portland’s Queer community, followed by audience Q&A.

In the early hours of June 28, 1969, New York City police officers raided the Stonewall Inn at 53 Christopher Street, the city’s most thriving gay club. They swept through the bar, checking I.D.s and slapping handcuffs on anyone wearing clothing that wasn’t “appropriate to one’s gender.” Though eyewitness testimony varies on what specifically turned the rowdy scene volatile, eventually bar patrons and onlookers in the streets began throwing everything from coins to bricks at the police, who then retreated into the bar, calling in the riot squad. That was the beginning of the Stonewall Riots.

The Stonewall Riots, lasting six days, ultimately altered the course of American culture for the past five decades.  They are widely considered the single most catalyzing event of the gay liberation movement and modern fight for LGBTQ rights in the United States.

About the Speakers:

Kathleen Saadat was born in St. Louis, MO, and raised in a family committed to justice and education. She graduated from high school in Chicago in 1957 and from Reed College in 1974. She has served Oregon’s queer community as mentor and confidant for nearly 40 years. A leader in the African American community, she is also an activist for women’s rights. In 1976 she, along with six others, organized Portland’s first gay rights march. She has touched all levels of government in Oregon, and held positions as diverse as Director of Affirmative Action for the State of Oregon, Diversity Director for Cascade AIDS Project, and the City of Portland’s Diversity Development/Affirmative Action Manager. With Keeston Lowry, she worked to craft the City’s Civil Rights Ordinance banning discrimination against gay and lesbian people. In 1992, she served on the steering committee for the campaign against Ballot Measure 9.

Kathleen believes that it is only by working together that we can help to build the just and inclusive world we want.

Susie Shepherd was one of the first Oregon gay women to fully embrace mainstream legislative politics as a means to achieve equality for the LBGT community. In 1975, she joined the board of Portland Town Council (PTC), the first LGBT umbrella group in Oregon dedicated to civil rights for lesbians and gay men. Also in 1975-76, she spearheaded the writing of a PTC booklet entitled "A Legislative Guide to Gay Rights," which was aimed at educating policy makers on gay issues, and received rave reviews in the national gay press. By 1977, she was Oregon's first paid female LGBT civil rights worker, accepting the second position created at PTC. In this role, Susie not only organized Oregonians for legislative hearings but also provided assistance to the No on 51 Campaign, which was fighting an anti-gay rights ballot measure in Eugene in 1978.  She was the first openly gay board member of the Oregon Council for Women's Equality and the Oregon Women's Political Caucus.  This only scratches the surface of Susie’s years of dedicated work for the community and for the many organizations she has served.  For over two decades, she has chaired the Bill & Ann Shepherd Legal Scholarship Committee of OGALLA, the Oregon Gay And Lesbian Law Association.  This scholarship honors Susie's parents' work in co-founding what would become Oregon P-FLAG (Parents, Families And Friends of Lesbians And Gays) in the mid-1970's, and is honored to include attorneys who would go on to create marriage equality in Oregon, make great strides toward transgender equality and nationally-recognized immigration advocates. 

Jeff Stookey is a historical fiction author who took a deep dive into gay history and the history of Portland while writing his gay love story trilogy Medicine for the Blues. He will give some early context for the Stonewall incident and what came after.

Holly Hart had been publishing feminist articles in the Willamette Bridge when in 1970 the paper refused to publish a personal ad from a man describing himself as “Gay, longhair, young, lonely, seeks meaningful relationship with same.” Responding to the refusal, John Wilkinson, a staff member at the Willamette Bridge, wrote an article suggesting that gay Portlanders needed something like the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) which had recently formed in New York following the Stonewall riots. No one had ever said this in Oregon media. Holly then came out as a lesbian, and started writing about gay issues as well. Holly and John helped organize Portland’s GLF which met weekly at a Portland coffeehouse. Holly went on to law school, then came back to head Governor Robert Straub’s Commission on Gay Civil Rights. She also established Old Wives’ Tales Restaurant which became a family-friendly community favorite.

Born Walter Cole in 1930, the 89-year old Darcelle XV shows no signs of slowing. An absolute legend of Portland’s entertainment landscape, Darcelle XV is an author, playwright, actor, costume designer, owner and headliner of the Darcelle XV Showplace, the oldest continuously running cabaret in the United States. For nearly 45 years, Darcelle has performed six shows a week, hosted countless fundraisers, performed dozens of wedding ceremonies, fed the homeless and mingled with the rich and famous. In 2009, with the help of author and director Sharon Knorr, Darcelle co-wrote and starred in the 90-minute, one-man show Just Call Me Darcelle chronicling life from dirt poor beginnings in Linnton, Oregon, to sequined celebrity. The show was later turned into an autobiographical book with the same title. Darcelle is currently working on her second book which will feature stories of the experiences of Darcelle XV customers and clients.

About Kennedy School History Pub

Kennedy School History Pub

These monthly, free events are open to everyone interested in Oregon and Pacific Northwest history. Co-sponsored by like-minded historical and civic organizations, we bring you experts, scholars, first-person experiencers and historians who expound on topics from Lewis and Clark to shipwrecks, hop growing to women pioneers and far, far beyond. It's like being back in the classroom - except this time you get to settle into comfortable seats and enjoy a drink or two with dinner while you listen and learn.

This event is eligible for a History Pub Stamp