Gay rights pioneer Harry Hay threatened with arrest for his support of NAMBLA in L.A. parade

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Harry Hay, pioneer of the gay rights movement and a founding member of the Mattachine Society, attempted to carry a sign supporting NAMBLA while marching with his group, the Radical Faeries, in the recent gay parade in Los Angeles. The sign read "NAMBLA MARCHES [the sign he wears on the photo reads WALKS] WITH ME". The sign referred to Christopher Street West's, organizer of the Los Angeles gay parade, refusal to allow NAMBLA to march in 1985 and 1986.

Hay objected to CSW's exclusion of NAMBLA from the parade, feeling that their denial of the group's presence was inconsistent with the freedom of expression and the spirit of gay liberation.

Hay was told by a Christopher Street West monitor that he would have to remove the sign or face arrest. When Hay refused, the CSW monitor directed several mounted sheriff's deputies to arrest him. During this confrontation, the unnamed CSW monitor, whom Hay believed to be on the board of directors of CSW, ordered the other member of the Radical Faeries to urge Harry to tear up the sign or they, too, would be ordered to leave the parade. One Radical Faerie, visibly upset by CSW's threat, but wanting to remain in the parade, took the sign off of Hay and ripped it up. This apparently satisfied the CSW representative, who then changed his mind and did not have Hay arrested.

Later, in cold blood, CSW made itself look even more fascistic. Its spokesperson stated that they had planned to "detain" rather than arrest Harry Hay. They then said they would issue a letter of reprimand to Hay, who is investigating possibilities of a lawsuit.

source: 'Gay rights pioneer Harry Hay threatened with arrest for his support of NAMBLA in L.A. parade'; NAMBLA Bulletin, vol. 7, n. 7; September 1986; Reprinted from Gay Community News; 20 July 1986