fbpx The Boston Equality Trail | Boston Preservation Alliance
The Boston Equality Trail

Written by Corinne Muller

Boston has played a historically important role in drawing national attention to LGBTQ rights. The first official Gay Pride March in Boston took place on Saturday, June 26, 1971—two years after the Stonewall Riots, a series of protests in New York largely credited with sparking the U.S. gay liberation movement. This parade was explicitly political. Its route included thirteen sites of demonstration. Protestors read aloud a list of demands at four of these sites, which were believed to represent oppressive institutions: Jacque's Cabaret in Bay Village, Boston police headquarters on Berkeley Street, the State House on Beacon Hill, and St. Paul's Cathedral on Tremont Street. In recognition of the cancellation of this year's in-person Pride Parade (which has been postponed until June 2021) we've retraced the route of the original march. Click on the layers on the menu to the left to find directions so you and your LGBTQ allies can go on a socially-distanced Pride march.

Jaque's, Current

⇒Site 1: Jacque’s Cabaret (79 Broadway

Henry Vara opened this legendary drag bar in Bay Village in 1938 as the Colonial Tavern. By the mid-1940s, it was operating at night as one of the city's most popular gay bars (including Vara's other bar, The Other Side, which closed in 1977 after after facing increasing homophobia in Bay Village). The bar was renovated and renamed in 1964. Now it is Boston's oldest surviving LGBT establishment. The bar was the first stop of the 1971 Pride march and the first site at which a list of demands was read. Despite the bar's generally welcoming atmosphere, marchers protested their concerns about the bar's misogyny discrimination against lesbian patrons.

List of Demands Read:

  1. That the upstairs be for women only and that all men there must be accompanied by a woman.
  2. There should be easily accessible fire escapes-without locks on them.
  3. That conditions, especially in bathrooms, be made more sanitary.
  4. That we be allowed to disseminate literature of interest to the gay community inside the bar.
  5. That there be a woman bartender.
  6. That we have control of the music played in Jacques; that we be allowed to choose records to go the jukebox.
  7. That Jacques recognizes a negotiation committee to implement these demands and others that come up in the future.

⇒Site 2: The Napoleon Club (52 Piedmont Street) 

Opened as a speakeasy during Prohibition in 1929, the Napoleon Club was an elite, members-only establishment. Famous faces, including Elton John and Judy Garland, were known to frequent the club while in town for performances. In 1952, it began operating exclusively as a gay bar. The club closed in 1998. Today, you can see some of its original memorabilia at ClubCafé on Columbus Avenue.

⇒Site 3: Park Square (Corner of Arlington Street, Stewart Street, and Columbus Avenue)

Park Square was a hub of gay activity in the 1950s and '60s. On the edge of the infamous "Combat Zone," it was once home to the city's most popular gay bar, the Punch Bowl. As a known hub of queer social life, bars in this stretch of Boston were frequently raided by the Boston Police's vice squad (a department or division of a police force that enforces laws against prostitution, drug abuse, illegal gambling, etc).

⇒Site 4: Corner of Berkeley Street and Columbus Avenue (South End)

As wealthy residents relocated to trendier new neighborhoods like Back Bay in the 1940s, Boston's South End became an attractive residential location for the city's gay and lesbian community. By the 1980s, the neighborhood had become gentrified, mostly by gay men. Today, the South End remains Boston's most well-known gay neighborhood.

⇒Site 5: Boston Police Headquarters (Corner of Stanhope Street and Berkeley Street)

The Boston Police Headquarters was the second stop of demonstration at which a list of demands was read during the 1971 march. Marchers both denounced police brutality and demanded increased police protection in areas surrounding the city's gay bars.

List of Demands Read:

  1. That all entrapment immediately cease.
  2. That vague laws, such as those against loitering, disorderly conduct, and lewd and lascivious behavior not be used to harass homosexuals.
  3. That the police provide protection, rather than harassment, in the areas around gay bars.
  4. That representatives of the police force enter into immediate discussions with representatives of the homophile organizations to facilitate communication and understanding and implement the above demands.

⇒Site 6: The Homophile Union of Boston and The Daughters of Bilitis (419 Boylston Street)

Both founded in 1969, these early LGBT organizations served as a support network for Boston's queer community and provided space for the safe discussion of political and social issues.

⇒Site 7: Arlington Street Church (351 Boylston Street)

Since the 1970s, this Unitarian Universalist church has been a supportive space for members of Boston's LGBT community, serving as a location for the events and activities of many of the city's LGBT groups. In 1981, the LGBT youth organization BAGLY put on the nation's first gay high school prom here. In May 2004, the nation's first state-sanctioned wedding for a same-sex couple took place at the Arlington Street Church (followed three days later by 55 other couples).

Boston Public Garden

⇒Site 8: Boston Public Garden (Corner of Boylston Street and Charles Street)

In the middle of the twentieth century, the Public Garden was a popular cruising site in the city. The Public Garden was bordered by some of the city's most popular gay bars and organizations like the Glad Day Bookstore and the headquarters of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders.

⇒Site 9: Corner of Beacon Street and Charles Street

Since the American Revolution, the Boston Public Garden has served as the site of countless public demonstrations, and this major intersection on the edge of the park was no exception.

⇒Site 10: The Charles Street Meeting House (70 Charles Street)

Built in 1804 as the Third Baptist Church, The Meeting House became home to Boston's foremost gay publications when, in the 1970s, the building was taken over by a Unitarian Universalist congregation. From 1973 until 1992, The Gay Community News (GCN) published weekly issues from this location, becoming a nationally read activist publication.

⇒Site 11: Massachusetts State House (24 Beacon Street)

The State House was the third stop at which a list of demands by protestors was read. They denounced the government's ongoing persecution of homosexuals. Four years later, in 1975, the State House became the site of a landmark event: the swearing in of the country's first openly gay state legislator, Elaine Noble. Following the 2001 lawsuit Goodridge vs. Department of Public Health, Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004. This historic court case was proceeded by decades of fighting for equal marriage rights by many organizations like Gay & Lesbian Advocate Defenders.

List of Demands Read:

  1. That all the following laws pertaining to homosexuality be repealed: Mass. Chapter 272, S. 34, S.35, and city ordinance against same sex dancing together.
  2. That legislation be enacted to end discrimination against people in employment, housing, and in the use of public facilities because of their sexual orientation.

MA State House, Current

⇒Site 12: St. Paul's Cathedral (138 Tremont Street)

St. Paul's Cathedral was the final site of demands made by marchers in 1971. Marchers denounced the historic oppression and religious persecution of homosexuals. However, this Episcopal church, and the Episcopal faith more generally, has a legacy as an ally of LGBT individuals. 

List of Demands Read:

  1. That the church accept qualified gay persons for ordination and other religious work.
  2. That the church include comprehensive courses on human sexuality in seminary training, and for men and women already in religious work.
  3. That it develop and use curriculum material on human sexuality in Sunday School or in Church School.
  4. That the church recognize and bless the love of homosexuals as it does for heterosexuals. 
  5. That the church lend its support to the reexamination of the institution of marriage and the family, which in its present form legally discriminates against homosexuals.
  6. That the church lend its support to the reexamination of roles based on sex, with particular attention to the fact that its support of these sex roles has oppressed women and homosexuals.

⇒Site 13: Parkman Bandstand in the Boston Common

The 1971 march concluded at the Parkman Bandstand, at which point notorious anti-LGBT materials, including anti-LGBT books, were burned. The Bandstand served as the former site of the annual Pride Festival, which now takes place at Government Center.

 

For a more detailed map of LGBTQ sites in the city, check out this collaboration between The History Project and Boston Pride.

Resources On Boston's LGBTQ History and Culture: 

Our Booklist for Pride Month

Tracing Queer History in Boston

Boston Pride

The History Project

The Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth

Recent

Tiny Story: Elite's

Elite's Mural

 

Announcing our 2020 Preservation Achievement Award Winners

Preservation takes many forms and requires many hands.

Our Booklist for Pride Month

Written by Corinne Muller.

Dorchester Day

By Corinne Muller

Our Statement of Solidarity—Black Lives Matter

Boston Preservation Alliance stands united with the voices decrying the murder of George Floyd and the long-standing history of racism this tragedy demonstrates.

Meet Our Summer 2020 Interns

The Boston Preservation Alliance offers internships to graduate and undergraduate students to help train the next generation of preservationists by providing hands-on experience in the…

A Wave of Generosity

Let’s come together to create a wave of generosity for the organizations that help Boston thrive.

EVENT: The Tale of Two City Halls

When: May 16

Time: 2PM

Where: Live on Instagram!

EVENT: Preservation Coffee Hour AMA

Have a preservation question? Want to hear updates about any of the preservation projects we're monitoring?

ENF Filed with MEPA for Northern Avenue Bridge

An Environment Notification Form (ENF) has been filed with the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) Office.

AllianceAlert: Your voice needed to help the BLC

Historic places need your help!

Your Boston Guide to Preservation Month

May is National Preservation Month which gives us a perfect excuse to show off our beloved historic city.

Preservation Month in a Strange New World

Written by Greg Galer

How to choose which buildings to treasure, and which to trash

Written by Alison Frazee, Assistant Director, Boston Preservation Alliance.

Tiny Story: Pump Up the Music

We continue our series of tiny stories that uplift the soul.

2020 Preservation Award Nominations Now Open

2020 Preservation Award Nominations Now Open

POSTPONED EVENT: 2020 Annual Meeting of Members

Join us for our Annual Meeting of Members

When: Postponed. New date is TBD

Alliance Event Updates

In light of concerns with COVID-19, we have postponed several of our upcoming events.

EVENT: Heart Bombing

Heart Bombing

Feb. 15 | 1 - 4 pm | Amrheins, 80 W. Broadway, Boston

PLAN: Downtown Scenarios Workshop

Your Voice Needed to Preserve Downtown Boston  

Rudolph Spotted Around Boston

Rudolph is no stranger to Boston and New England. He's been spotted in Dartmouth, New Haven, Wellesley, and three separate locations in Boston proper.

A Preservationist Gift Guide

Is there a preservationist in your life? Or maybe you love architecture, history, and unique Boston stories as much as we do. If either of these is the case, then this is THE gift guide…

Boston's Mid-Century Marvels

With the proposed redevelopment of the Hurley Building, we thought this is a good time to…

2019 Preservation Achievement Awards 

2019 Preservation Achievement Awards 

2019 Preservation Achievement Awards 

2019 Preservation Achievement Awards 

2019 Preservation Achievement Awards 

2019 Preservation Achievement Awards 

2019 Preservation Achievement Awards 

2019 Preservation Achievement Awards 

2019 Preservation Achievement Awards 

2019 Preservation Achievement Awards 

2019 Preservation Achievement Awards 

2019 Preservation Achievement Awards 

2019 Preservation Achievement Awards 

2019 Preservation Achievement Awards 

#SaveMyBoston

Detrimental: Preservation Advocates Ask MGH to Reconfigure Expansion Plans to Spare Three West End Buildings

Preservation advocates are imploring Massachusetts General Hospital to reconfigure its expansion plans to avoid demolition of three historic West End buildings, reports Dan Murphy of the…

Beer + Mortar: Another Round

BEER + MORTAR: A WALKING TOUR

Seven Magical Places in Boston

Written by Matthew Dickey.

6th Annual Libations for Preservation

The Boston Preservation Alliance Board of Young Advisors presents:

 

Libations for Preservation

When:

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

An Interview with Boston Artist Karen McFeaters

Karen McFeaters is a Boston-based painter whose work features locations around the city that highlight…

Tracing Queer History in Boston

The architecture of a community goes far beyond buildings.

Roger Webb and the "Democratic Donkey"

Roger Webb was the founder of the Architectural Heritage Foundation and…

Beer + Mortar: A Walking Tour

Save the date for Beer + Mortar, a walking tour through Dorchester and Roxbury led by Matthew Dickey of the Alliance and HBI.…

EVENT: COMMUNITY MEETING ON THE NORTHERN AVENUE BRIDGE

The City of Boston invites you to a Community Meeting on the Northern Ave Bridge

Monday, June 3, 2019

6:30 PM - 8:30 PM…

Announcing our 2019 Preservation Achievement Award Winners

Neighborhoods are living things. They evolve to the changing needs of their inhabitants. Rural farms become streetcar suburbs. Carriage lanes become roads. Thriving businesses fade.

Use GE money to fix the bridge, says Leung at the Boston Globe

The state gets a $98M cut of GE's sale of its property in Fort Point. Where should that money go? Shirley Leung at the Boston Globe says the obvious answer is rebuild the Northern Avenue…

31 Things to do for Preservation Month

May is National Preservation Month which gives us a perfect excuse to show off our beloved historic city.

Advocacy ALERT: National Register Threatened

Advocacy needed to OPPOSE a rule change to undercut the National Register of Historic Places

EVENT: 2019 Annual Meeting of Members

Please join us for our Annual Meeting | Registration is closed, but walk-ins welcome! 

EVENT: The Restoration of The Mother Church

Boston Design Week Event
Boston Design Week March 27-April 7 2019

EVENT: YA Meet and Greet with Cocktails!

The Alliance's Young Advisor's Board is seeking new board members for 2019! Every year, the YA's get together for mid-winter cocktails and this year you're invited!

Call for Nominations for the 2019 Preservation Achievement Awards

The Boston Preservation Alliance is now accepting nominations for our 2019 Preservation Achievement Awards! 

 

Less than Boston

The closing of Durgin Park (1827) following upon Jacob Wirth (1868) last year reminds us that Boston’s unique character comes from more than just architecture.

Marty Misses the Mark With Citgo Veto, says Banker & Tradesman Editorial

"An icon of the Boston skyline was very nearly protected against the city's current rapacious development culture- but then the mayor stepped in."

Marty Misses the Mark With Citgo Veto, says Banker & Tradesman Editorial

"An icon of the Boston skyline was very nearly protected against the city's current rapacious development culture- but then the mayor stepped in."

Walsh vetoes Citgo Sign Landmark designation, Sign to be moved

Mayor Walsh, Citgo, Related Beal (the developer of the site), and Boston University release a statement: 

Walsh vetoes Citgo Sign Landmark designation, Sign to be moved

Mayor Walsh, Citgo, Related Beal (the developer of the site), and Boston University release a statement: 

EVENT: Community Meeting on the Northern Avenue Bridge

The City of Boston invites you to a

Community Meeting on the Northern Ave Bridge

Meet our newest Young Advisors

The Young Advisors is a board of developing professionals whose role is to expand and amplify the Alliance’s mission of protecting places, promoting vibrancy, and preserving character.…

The Alliance Looks to the Future at Milestone Event

On Monday, October 22, the Boston Preservation Alliance hosted the 2018 Preservation…

Opening Remarks at the 30th Annual Preservation Achievement Awards

Opening Remarks: Chris Scoville, Board Chair
Preservation Achievement Awards and 40 30 10 Celebration 
October 22, 2018 at 60 State Street, Downtown Boston…

Announcing the Winners of the Preservation Bucket List!

To celebrate our 40th Anniversary year, the Alliance launched a special social media campaign: The Preservation Bucket List photo competition.

EVENT: Preservation Achievement Awards & 40 30 10 Celebration

This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the Alliance, the 30th Anniversary of the Awards, and the 10th Anniversary of our Young Advisors Board.

EVENT: Tour of Mount Auburn Cemetery

Join the Alliance Young Advisors for a stroll through Mount Auburn Cemetery, the oldest rural cemetery in the US.

It’s time to have your say on the Citgo sign’s future

The debate over the future of the Citgo sign is still quietly grinding on.

It’s time to have your say on the Citgo sign’s future

The debate over the future of the Citgo sign is still quietly grinding on.

The Preservation Bucket List + Photo Competition

The Alliance is turning 40 this year!

September 7: Deadline for eligibility forms for Fall 2018 Community Preservation Funds

Boston has an estimated $20 million in annual funds to support capital projects in historic preservation, affordable housing, and parks and green spaces.

SOLD OUT! Libations for Preservation

Thank you for your overwhelming interest and support for preservation in Boston! This event is sold out.

Citgo sign here to stay, but maybe not surrounding buildings

Developer Related Beal on Tuesday went before the Boston Civic Design Commission to submit its updated plans to redevelop buildings on Commonwealth Avenue near Deerfield Street.

Citgo sign here to stay, but maybe not surrounding buildings

Developer Related Beal on Tuesday went before the Boston Civic Design Commission to submit its updated plans to redevelop buildings on Commonwealth Avenue near Deerfield Street.

Citgo sign here to stay, but maybe not surrounding buildings

Developer Related Beal on Tuesday went before the Boston Civic Design Commission to submit its updated plans to redevelop buildings on Commonwealth Avenue near Deerfield Street.

Boston, here's the chance to make Northern Avenue Bridge a real destination

Boston's urban planners and placemakers have an opportunity to make the Northern Avenue Bridge, now a rusting relic in Fort Point Channel, a postcard-worthy destination that draws in…

The Northern Avenue Bridge is being replaced, and the city is debating just who will be allowed to use it

It has been nearly four years since anyone could walk across the old Northern Avenue Bridge, and two decades since you could drive across it.

Alliance Included in National Best Practices Report

The Boston Preservation Alliance was included in a 2018 national report regarding best practices for public outreach and education to build a knowledgeable, engaged, and activated…

Defending Fenway’s Heritage

Emily Kahn, Boston Preservation Alliance Intern

Defending Fenway’s Heritage

Emily Kahn, Boston Preservation Alliance Intern

Announcing the 2018 Preservation Achievement Award winners!

As neighborhoods change over generations, it's important that touchpoints to their past both remain in place and sensitively evolve to maintain their relevance.

Announcing the 2018 Preservation Achievement Award winners!

As neighborhoods change over generations, it's important that touchpoints to their past both remain in place and sensitively evolve to maintain their relevance.

Announcing the 2018 Preservation Achievement Award winners!

As neighborhoods change over generations, it's important that touchpoints to their past both remain in place and sensitively evolve to maintain their relevance.

Announcing the 2018 Preservation Achievement Award winners!

As neighborhoods change over generations, it's important that touchpoints to their past both remain in place and sensitively evolve to maintain their relevance.

Announcing the 2018 Preservation Achievement Award winners!

As neighborhoods change over generations, it's important that touchpoints to their past both remain in place and sensitively evolve to maintain their relevance.

Announcing the 2018 Preservation Achievement Award winners!

As neighborhoods change over generations, it's important that touchpoints to their past both remain in place and sensitively evolve to maintain their relevance.

EVENT: Instagram Tour: Historic Breweries of Jamaica Plain

Boston was once home to 31 breweries, enough to bestow this storied city with the title of "most breweries per capita." A majority of the city's breweries are clustered around Stony…

Meet Our 2018 Summer Interns

The Boston Preservation Alliance offers internships to graduate and undergraduate students to help train the next generation of preservationists by providing hands-on experience in the…

City Council Awards First Batch of Boston Community Preservation Funds

Boston City Council voted on Thursday, June 21, to approve the first batch of Boston Community Preservation funding requests.

City Council Awards First Batch of Boston Community Preservation Funds

Boston City Council voted on Thursday, June 21, to approve the first batch of Boston Community Preservation funding requests.

EVENT: Ladder Blocks Walking Tour

You’re invited to a special preview for Alliance and Boston By Foot members. The Ladder Blocks Walking Tour will take place on Sunday, May 20, from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m.

EVENT: Preservation in Perpetuity: An Overview of Preservation Restrictions

Boston has a wonderful mix of historic buildings and sites, from stately row houses to 3-deckers, churches to commercial blocks.

EVENT: Preservation, Powered by PechaKucha

The Young Advisors of the Boston Preservation Alliance are hosting a PechaKucha night on Tuesday, May 15 at The Algonquin Club of Boston.

Director of Advocacy, Alison Frazee, recognized with highest honor at 2018 Tsongas Awards

The Alliance had an impressive showing at Preservation Massachusetts’s 30th Annual Paul & Niki Tsongas Awards Dinner held on May 9 at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston.

Alliance ED Guest Editor of Boston Architecture Diary

May is Preservation Month. To mark the occasion, Boston Architecture Diary tapped Greg Galer to share recommendations for preservation events happening around the city.

Does the three-decker have lessons for us today? 

Alliance Executive Director Greg Galer was a moderator for "Preserving Affordability, Affording Preservation," an April 27th conference hosted by Historic New England.

The Alliance Appoints New Board Chair and Elects New Board Member

The Boston Preservation Alliance is pleased to announce the appointment of Chris Scoville as a new Board Chairman and the election of Sean Geary to the Board of Directors.

Alliance Celebrates 40 years, Looks Forward at 2018 Annual Meeting

The Boston Preservation Alliance is hosting its Annual Meeting on Wednesday, March 21 at historic Old South Church at Copley Square.

Density Done Right: Examples from Boston and Barcelona

By David Nagahiro, AIA, LEED AP

7 Buildings Living Their Best Second Lives

From old fire departments to post offices that succumbed to the demise of snail mail, buildings across the country have fallen prey to shifting markets and the rise of technology.

Paramount Theatre and the Boston Opera House Honored for Their Remarkable Makeovers

Last week, the National Trust for Historic Preservation…

Thank you to all our corporate members, including: