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May 10 2018
Birthday Boy: Gay Activist Dick Leitsch Attends THE BOYS IN THE BAND Comments (0)

Dick Leitsch, president of the '60s gay rights group The Mattachine Society, and the man who cooked up the earliest gay civil disobedience actions via the sip-in at Julius'in NYC, showed up at a preview performance of The Boys in the Band this week. He was welcomed with open arms by the cast.

Other gay firsts for Leitsch: He was the first person to publish a story on the Stonewall Riots, and was the first to interview Bette Midler in print.

The sip-in happened 52 years ago last month. In response to New York laws against serving homosexuals, Leitsch, Craig Rodwell (1940-1993), Randy Wicker (b. 1939), and John Timmons (?-?) went to Julius' and were denied drinks, which was covered by The New York Times with the header: 3 Deviates Invite Exclusion by Bars.

An ensuing court battle paved the way for gay bars to later flourish.