News Coverage after Stonewall Rebellion Reflected Era's Homophobic Attitude toward LGBTQ Activism, Professor Stein Says

Friday, June 14, 2019

KQED (SAN FRANCISCO) -- Four months after the infamous Stonewall riots in New York City, the Bay Area’s more radical LGBTQ+ organizations of 1969 refused to passively accept negative depictions of their community in the local news. So on October 25, when the Examiner published an article by reporter Robert Patterson under the headline “The Dreary Revels of S.F. ‘Gay’ Clubs,” the newspaper unknowingly issued a powerful call to arms — to the very people it had derided.

Marc Robert Stein, professor of History at San Francisco State University and author of The Stonewall Riots: A Documentary History, thinks the timing of Patterson’s article wasn’t coincidental, and reflected the era’s homophobic attitudes to burgeoning gay organizing. “October was the month when mainstream magazines first covered Stonewall,” he says. “The movement is really growing. And it’s at that moment that there's this incredibly hostile story.”