Skip to main content

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Political Alliance of Massachusetts records

 Collection
Identifier: M091

Scope and Content Note

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Alliance of Massachusetts (LGBTPAM) records document the organization's activism within Massachusetts and Boston for achieving social and political justice for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered communities, on a range of issues, including political representation, AIDS research and education, domestic partnership, anti-gay violence and discrimination, and gay parenthood. The records focus on the Boston neighborhoods of Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, West Roxbury, Dorchester, and the South End. Also documented within the collection are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Political Alliance of Massachusetts's responsive actions to specific incidents, including the Boston Police Department's raid on a gay safe sex party (the Boston Jocks Raid), a campaign to rescind the 1980 termination of gay firefighter Robert E. (Bob) Jackson, and an effort to derail the Supreme Court appointment of ultra-conservative judicial nominee Robert Bork.

As part of the process for endorsing political candidates, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Political Alliance of Massachusetts collected newspaper clippings and campaign literature showing the viewpoints of politicians on gay issues, including those of Michael Dukakis, Raymond Flynn, and John F. Kerry. There is also material showing collaborations and communications with related social justice organizations, such as the Massachusetts Gay Political Caucus, AIDS Action Committee, and the National Gay Task Force.

Dates

  • 1982-1997

Creator

Conditions Governing Access:

The collection is unrestricted.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use:

Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the University Archivist.

Historical Note

The Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Greater Boston (LGPAGB) was organized through a series of discussions in the fall and summer of 1982. Gay activist Eric Rofes (1954- ), Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Greater Boston's first chairperson, was pivotal in organizing this group of gays and lesbians who felt politically and socially disenfranchised. The original founders hoped to increase the gay community's involvement in the political process, combat anti-gay prejudices, and garner support for lesbian and gay issues, such as increasing AIDS research and classifying acts of anti-gay violence as hate crimes.

As a volunteer, member-based grassroots political advocacy organization for gay and lesbian rights, Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Greater Boston was originally concentrated in Boston and later expanded to 18 towns, including Belmont, Cambridge, Malden, and Springfield. In 1994, the group voted to become a state-wide organization, changing its name to the Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Massachusetts (LGPAM). Three years later, in 1997, the group voted to include bisexuals and the transgendered, changing its name to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Political Alliance of Massachusetts (LGBTPAM).

Much of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Political Alliance of Massachusetts's political activism has focused on responding to the immediate needs of Boston's gay community. In 1987, Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Greater Boston organized a boycott and demonstration against the Boston Herald in response to an inflammatory anti-gay column written by editorial columnist Howie Carr. That same year, they coordinated efforts in support of gay firefighter Robert E. Jackson, who sued the Boston Fire Department for discrimination and wrongful termination. Following a succession of anti-gay violence in 1986-1987, Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Greater Boston led an initiative to classify violence motivated by sexual orientation as hate crimes. The Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Greater Boston successfully lobbied then Massachusetts Attorney General James M. Shannon to sign an order barring harassment of gays. At the same time, they petitioned Boston Police Commissioner Mickey Roache to guarantee the safety of the gay and lesbian communities. The organization persuaded the Boston Police Department to recruit gay police officers, while also working to eliminate discriminatory HIV and personality tests utilized in the hiring process.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Political Alliance of Massachusetts also organized events around broader issues. The organization advocated extensively for increasing funding for AIDS research, and in 1987, launched a long-term educational campaign to curb the spread of HIV and AIDS and counter popular misconceptions about AIDS and AIDS victims. It also has continuously advocated for legal recognition of same-sex relationships, fighting repeated attempts by conservative groups to codify a heterosexual legal definition of marriage. The successful 1996 campaign for domestic partner benefits for City of Boston employees was a particularly significant milestone.

In addition, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Political Alliance of Massachusetts holds annual events, such as the annual community recognition awards dinner. Beginning in 1983, this annual dinner has recognized individuals and institutions that have made significant contributions toward the organization's causes. Past honorees have included former Massachusetts Attorney General James M. Shannon and David Scondras, a gay activist and former Boston City Counselor.

Another major activity of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Political Alliance of Massachusetts is the endorsement of political candidates. The Victory Fund Political Action Committee gathers data on candidates for political office and makes recommendations for endorsement, upon which the membership votes. In 1993, the Victory Fund Political Action Committee initiated Impact '93, an intensive voter registration drive and effort to educate lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender voters about relevant political issues.

In addition to its own events, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Political Alliance of Massachusetts also participates in collaborative events, such as Boston Pride Week and a Town Meeting, during which political speakers discuss events and issues affecting the gay and lesbian community. It also collaborates with related social justice organizations, including Dignity Boston, Gay and Lesbian Defenders (GLAD), National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus.

Chronology

  • 1982 Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Greater Boston is founded. Eric Rofes is the first chairperson.
  • 1983 Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Greater Boston adopts by-laws. The group designates April as "Neighborhood Organization Month." David Scondras becomes the first openly-gay Boston City Counselor. Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Greater Boston begins endorsing political candidates.
  • 1984 The Boston City Council passes a Human Rights Ordinance, authored by David Scondras and prohibiting violence motivated by sexual orientation.
  • 1985-1987 Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Greater Boston campaigns for the approval of gay and lesbian couples as foster parents, following the Massachusetts Department of Social Services' removal of two foster children from a gay couple's home.
  • 1987 Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Greater Boston creates a Public Safety Committee. Massachusetts Attorney General James M. Shannon signs an order barring harassment of gays. Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Greater Boston campaigns for the recruitment of gay police officers and sponsors boycotts of the Boston Herald in response to an inflammatory anti-gay editorial, and Coors for discriminatory hiring practices.
  • 1991 Campaign against Massachusetts petitions 91-41 through 91-44 (banning domestic partner benefits). Massachusetts Governor's Task Force on Hate Crimes was launched with Don E. Gorton III as co-chair. Don E. Gorton III was elected Chair of Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Greater Boston.
  • 1993 Impact '93 Program launched by the Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Greater Boston's Victory Fund Political Action Committee. The group campaigns for police conduct guidelines that prohibit harassment of gays and lesbians at events.
  • 1994 Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Greater Boston becomes a state-wide organization and changed its name to the Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Massachusetts.
  • 1995 Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Massachusetts launches a campaign against the merger of Boston City Hospital, which is a significant medical center for Boston's gay and lesbian community, and Boston University Medical Center Hospital.
  • 1996 Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Massachusetts successfully lobbies Mayor Thomas Menino and the Boston City Council for domestic partnership benefits for Boston City employees.
  • 1997 Nov 19 Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Massachusetts votes to include bisexual and transgendered people and changes its name to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Political Alliance of Massachusetts.
1982
Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Greater Boston is founded. Eric Rofes is the first chairperson.
1983
Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Greater Boston adopts by-laws. The group designates April as "Neighborhood Organization Month." David Scondras becomes the first openly-gay Boston City Counselor. Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Greater Boston begins endorsing political candidates.
1984
The Boston City Council passes a Human Rights Ordinance, authored by David Scondras and prohibiting violence motivated by sexual orientation.
1985-1987
Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Greater Boston campaigns for the approval of gay and lesbian couples as foster parents, following the Massachusetts Department of Social Services' removal of two foster children from a gay couple's home.
1987
Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Greater Boston creates a Public Safety Committee. Massachusetts Attorney General James M. Shannon signs an order barring harassment of gays. Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Greater Boston campaigns for the recruitment of gay police officers and sponsors boycotts of the Boston Herald in response to an inflammatory anti-gay editorial, and Coors for discriminatory hiring practices.
1991
Campaign against Massachusetts petitions 91-41 through 91-44 (banning domestic partner benefits). Massachusetts Governor's Task Force on Hate Crimes was launched with Don E. Gorton III as co-chair. Don E. Gorton III was elected Chair of Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Greater Boston.
1993
Impact '93 Program launched by the Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Greater Boston's Victory Fund Political Action Committee. The group campaigns for police conduct guidelines that prohibit harassment of gays and lesbians at events.
1994
Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Greater Boston becomes a state-wide organization and changed its name to the Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Massachusetts.
1995
Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Massachusetts launches a campaign against the merger of Boston City Hospital, which is a significant medical center for Boston's gay and lesbian community, and Boston University Medical Center Hospital.
1996
Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Massachusetts successfully lobbies Mayor Thomas Menino and the Boston City Council for domestic partnership benefits for Boston City employees.
1999
Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Massachusetts votes to include bisexual and transgendered people and changes its name to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Political Alliance of Massachusetts. The group campaigns against Massachusetts House Resolution 472 (an anti–gay marriage act).

Extent

8.45 cubic feet (12 containers)

Overview

Founded as the Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Greater Boston (LGPAGB) in 1982, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Political Alliance of Massachusetts (LGBTPAM) is a political advocacy organization for gay and lesbian rights. Today this group has actively pursued causes relating to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues, such as funding for AIDS research and education, anti-discrimination legislation, legalization of same-sex unions, and the elimination of anti-gay violence. The organization's founders hoped to increase the gay community's involvement in Boston's political process. Originally concentrating on Greater Boston, the Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Greater Boston later expanded to 18 towns. In 1994, the Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Greater Boston became a state-wide organization, changing its name to the Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Massachusetts (LGPAM). The group voted to include bisexuals and the transgendered in 1997, becoming the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Political Alliance of Massachusetts.

Overview

The records of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Alliance of Massachusetts (LGBTPAM) document the organization's activities within Boston and Massachusetts to achieve social and political justice for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered communities. The records focus on the Boston neighborhoods of Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, West Roxbury, Dorchester, and the South End and document the work of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Political Alliance of Massachusetts on a range of issues, including AIDS research and education, sex education, domestic partnership, anti-gay violence and discrimination, and gay parenthood.

System of Arrangement:

Arranged into 5 series: 1. Administration; 2. Activism; 3. Subject Files; 4. Photographs; and 5. Memorabilia.

Physical Location

64/4
Title
Finding aid for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Political Alliance of Massachusetts Records
Author
Finding aid prepared by Jessica Parr
Date
October, 2003
Language of description
Description Is In English

Repository Details

Part of the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections Repository

Contact:
92 Snell Library
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston MA 02115 US