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.