Archives and Special Collections
92 Snell Library
360 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 373-2351

Table of Contents

Collection Overview

Historical Note

Scope and Content Note

Series:



Printable Finding Aid

Search All Finding Aids

Archival Collections

Manuscript Collections
Archives and Special Collections Finding Aids
Collection
Title:Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Political Alliance of Massachusetts records
Dates:1982–2002
Call Number:M91

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). Five years later, in 1999, 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
1982Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Greater Boston is founded. Eric Rofes is the first chairperson.
1983Lesbian 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. The group organizes the first mass demonstration and educational forum on AIDS, with 800 people gathering at Faneuil Hall for AIDS and Boston's Gay Community the Medical, Psychological and Political Implications.
1984The Boston City Council passes a Human Rights Ordinance, authored by David Scondras and prohibiting violence motivated by sexual orientation.
1985–1987Lesbian 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.
1987Lesbian 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.
1991Campaign against Massachusetts petitions 91–41 through 91–44 (banning domestic partner benefits). Massachusetts Governor's Task Force on Hate Crimes is launched with Don E. Gorton III as co–chair. Don E. Gorton III is elected Chair of Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Greater Boston.
1993Impact '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.
1994Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Greater Boston becomes a state–wide organization and changes its name to the Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Massachusetts.
1995Lesbian 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.
1996Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Massachusetts successfully lobbies Mayor Thomas Menino and the Boston City Council for domestic partnership benefits for Boston City employees.
1999Lesbian 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).