The Library of Congress is a research destination for those interested in early LGBTQ+ activism, and is particularly strong in holdings related to the U.S. Homophile movement. The Homophile Movement refers to the local, national and international social-political movement for gay and lesbian rights which emerged following World War II. Many consider the birth of the homophile movement to be sometime around 1950/1951, a date that corresponds to the founding of the Mattachine Society, and then eventually, to ONE Inc., and the Daughters of Bilitis. Although the Mattachine Society has been frequently misidentified as the first U.S. gay rights organizations, there were a number of (mostly covert) groups already established decades before the the Mattachine Society. U.S. gay rights organizations that pre-date the Mattachine Society include the Chicago Society for Human Rights, founded by Henry Gerber in 1924, the Sons of Hamidy (est.1934 in the Midwest), the Legion of the Damned (est. 1944 in Arizona), and the Veterans Benevolent Association, founded in New York in 1945.
Before Stonewall, there were by conservative estimates at least 60 homophile or gay rights groups operating. According to NACHO, in 1970 there were 143 "homosexual or gay groups" operating in the United States and Canada. After Stonewall, the number of LGBTQIA+ groups proliferated so rapidly it becomes difficult to keep track. However, just a year after Stonewall, there were upwards of 1500-2000 LGBT+ liberation groups in the United States, and many more internationally. While the term "homophile" eventually fell out of use, there were notably a number of organizations who continued to employ this term even into the 1980s.
Some examples of U.S. homophile organizations organizing before Stonewall (Not a comprehensive list):
Conferences, Collectives & Consortium
Homophile activists protest at the the annual Fourth of July (1967-1969) "Reminder Day Picket," held at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After Stonewall, the organizations that planned this annual demonstration turned their attentions to planning the first Pride march in New York City in 1970.
Some examples of homophile organizations outside the U.S. (Not a comprehensive list)
Browse the Library of Congress Online Catalog using subjects or personal names of specific activists to locate additional titles:
The following titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content are included when available.