From the first high heel thrown at Stonewall to the last performance of the drag burlesque group the Cockettes, enter the wild days of the late '60s and early '70s with the individuals who lived them! Celebrating 40 years since the June 1969 Stonewall Riots, the essays, manifestos, artwork and photos in this anthology represent a group of radical activists who together formed the ranks of the Gay Liberation Movement.


"2, 4, 6, 8, Smash the Church, Smash the State!" was a rallying cry for many in those days, and the lesbians, gay men and transgender people whose stories are collected here were frequently involved in battling oppression on many fronts. For the first time together in one volume, these writers share unique perspectives, occasional regrets and changes of ideology, personal memories, and a celebration of the revolutionary spirit that shaped and guided the movement.


"Smash the Church, Smash the State! offers an intoxicating glimpse into that time before 'pride' replaced liberation, when 'gay' was still a fiery threat to the violence of the status quo, and revolution was right around the corner from the corner store. Full of brash, contradictory, intoxicating dreams, the essays in this anthology invoke the sexual flamboyance, intellectual rigor, activist troublemaking and communal possibilities of a different era while simultaneously offering bracing critiques." — Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, author of So Many Ways to Sleep Badly and editor of That's Revolting! Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation

Smash the Church, Smash the State!: The Early Years of Gay Liberation

  • City Lights 2009. New paperback; 256 pages