LGBTQ Activism History in Portland - A Panel Discussion
A Panel of Outstanding Long-Term LGBTQ (Lesbian/Gay/Bi/Trans/Queer) Activists who spoke as part of the History of Social Justice Organizing Series on October 24th.
(Panelists Steve Fulmer, Susie Shepherd, Cliff Jones, Pat Young are pictured above.)
In 1970, Portland’s alternative newspaper, Willamette Bridge, refused to print the following ad, “Gay, longhair, young, lonely, seeks meaningful relationship with same....” This prompted an openly gay Bridge staff member to write an article contending that Portland Gays needed to organize. Soon, the Bridge carried numerous articles on gay dignity and Portland’s Gay Liberation Front was meeting weekly (with both men and women), leaders emerged and organizing blossomed.
The panel includes:
Steve Fulmer was a gay activist in Portland throughout the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, holding leadership positions in PSU Gay and Lesbian Alliance, Second Foundation, Portland Gay Men’s Chorus, Cascade AIDS Project, Right to Privacy PAC, Equity Foundation and Portland Schools’ Sexual Minority Task Force.
Cliff Jones has been active in the GLBTQ community since the early 80's when the hot issue, which took a year of monthly dialogues to resolve, was should we change Gay Pride to Lesbian and Gay Pride. Jones co-founded Black Lesbians and Gays United in the mid-80's; was the first staff of color at Cascade AIDS Project in the late 80's. He also co-founded Brother to Brother in the early 90's and served as its first Executive Director.
Susie Shepherd was Oregon's first paid female gay activist (Portland Town Council). She wrote sections of and edited A Legislative Guide to Gay Rights, published by PTC in 1976 for distribution to the Oregon legislature and later internationally. She was the first openly gay member of the Oregon Women's Political Caucus and the Oregon Council for Women's Equality. She chairs the Bill & Ann Shepherd Legal Scholarship Fund of Equity Foundation, honoring her trailblazing parents who co-founded Portland PFLAG in 1976. Among her numerous honors is the Equity Foundations' Lifetime Achievement Award..
Pat Young worked to get health benefits extended to gay employees at Tektronix and to defeat the ‘92 anti-gay Measure 9. She now teaches the LGBTQ History Capstone class at PSU. She enjoys researching local gay history and learning about everyday people who did extraordinary things to advance the cause of gay rights.
Also joining the panel is George T. Nicola who came out through the fledgling Portland Gay Liberation Front in 1970. In 1972, he wrote and submitted an historic gay civil rights plank that was adopted by the pre-primary convention of the Democratic Party of Oregon. The following year, George wrote and lobbied for Oregon’s first gay civil rights bill. Since retirement, he is chronicling the movement’s history