ARTWORK > I Was a 20th Century Lesbian

White line woodcut, National Transsexual Counseling Unit, gay history
SHIFT (National Transsexual Counseling Unit)
White Line Woodcut
14.5" x 20.5" (37 x 52.4 cm)

Rights for transgender people have lagged behind rights for cisgender (non-transgender) homosexuals in America, but transgender people have been a part of the LGBT rights fight since the beginning. In August, 1966, three full years before the Stonewall riots by which most people mark the rise of the gay liberation movement, a group of transgender customers gathered in a 24-hour San Francisco cafeteria called Compton's Cafeteria in the Tenderloin District. Compton's was one of few places where transgender people could congregate because crossdressing was illegal at the time and gay bars, knowing that police would use the presence of transgender people as a pretext for making a raid, were unwelcoming. On that night, the patrons at Compton's became "raucous," causing management to call police. When a police officer manhandled one of the patrons, she threw coffee in his face and a riot ensued, eventually spilling out onto the street, destroying public property as well as Compton's plate glass window.

Following the Compton riots, activists established the National Transsexual Counseling Unit, the first peer-run support and advocacy organization in the world.

12" x 18" (30.5 x 45.7 cm) image size
Mawata paper
Edition: 3