January 1970 Cover from Volume 3 of Vanguard Magazine, by Keith St. Claire. Courtesy of the GLBT Historical Society. View the full issue at the Digital Transgender Archive.
The Vanguard youth, often called the first Gay Liberation group, protested the San Francisco Examiner’s office on October 31, 1969. They protested a homophobic writer and the regular publication of the home addresses of gay individuals after they were arrested by the police. The practice caused LGBTQ individuals who were arrested to lose their jobs and sometimes to take their own lives.
The Night of the Purple Hand included arrests from the police and purple ink from the printers being dumped on the protesters by Examiner employees. Rather than fleeing, the youth spread purple hand prints around and claimed their power as a political force. You can hear a first hand account from the San Francisco’s Police Department’s first LGBTQ Liaison, Sgt Elliot Blackstone.
Interview of Sgt Blackstone by Susan Stryker- from the Susan Stryker Files courtesy of the GLBT Historical Society. Historical photos courtesy of the GLBT Historical Society. Video excerpt created by Megan Rohrer
2019 Apology from the San Francisco Examiner
The video above is an excerpt from a longer education film the was shown in the Glide Sanctuary prior to the 2019 Apology and Listening Session at Glide Church with the San Francisco Police Department. The video was used not only to provide context about the legal issues affecting LGBTQ individuals in San Francisco, but also to remind a contemporary San Francisco Examiner reporter that demanding an apology from others was not a substitute for doing their own personal and community work. After the event, the reporter reached out to talk about ways the San Francisco Examiner could begin its own reconciliation journey.
The subsequent apology from the San Francisco Examiner is below. As you read, please note that Megan Rohrer’s current pronouns are he/him.
If this exhibit has inspired you to learn more about Glide Pride, you can connect here.