"In the heady days immediately before the world's first Gay Pride parade in 1970, Marty Robinson's photograph--along with his lover Tom Doerr--appeared on the cover of America's first gay weekly newspaper.
Doerr, a graphic artist, had designed a symbol--the Lambda--to represent the new movement. "It represents energy too," he explained. Doerr's lover, Marty, was clearly a young man with energy, a winning kind of vitality, truly macho on the surface, but deeply caring within. Without him, the Stonewall era would have been poorer indeed. New York's gay activists-- especially in those years after the Stonewall uprising--pointed to the handsome journeyman carpenter with pride. They knew he was one gay man who wasn't afraid to be, and that he spoke truth with passion. With the Gay Activists Alliance President, Jim Owles he walked without worry into the thick of battle, struggling hand to hand, even, with oppressive police.
At a meeting of the Village Independent Democrats (VID), an influential political club, Marty delivered an impassioned attack on society's treatment of gays generally, and demanded that the club assist gays in halting police harassment. Result: a call for a moratorium on all such raids, directed at Mayor Lindsay by the VID.
©Diana Davies/Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations. Tom Doerr and Marty Robinson during Gay Activists Alliance sit-in, 1970 (©15)
"In the heady days immediately before the world's first Gay Pride parade in 1970, Marty Robinson's photograph--along with his lover Tom Doerr--appeared on the cover of America's first gay weekly newspaper. Doerr, a graphic artist, had designed a symbol--the Lambda--to represent the new movement. "It represents energy too," he explained. Doerr's lover, Marty, was clearly a young man with energy, a winning kind of vitality, truly macho on the surface, but deeply caring within." --Jack Nichols
@Kay Tobin/The New York Public Library, Manuscripts and Archives Division. Tom Doerr and Marty Robinson.
"I'd never heard a homosexual stand up and talk that way to straight people before," said Tom Doerr at the time. "It really took my breath away!" Marty and Tom had just recently become lovers." -- Jack Nichols, GayToday (http://gaytoday.com/garchive/people/060997pe.htm)
Martin Robinson, an organizer for gay-rights causes for 27 years who was known for his provocative protests, died on March 19, 1992, at home in Brooklyn. He was 49 years old.
He died of complications of AIDS, friends said.
Mr. Robinson was present at a catalytic event in the gay-rights movement, when police raided the Stonewall, a Greenwich Village bar patronized by gay men, in 1969.
Such raids were common, but for the first time the customers resisted and fought back. Afterward, a rally in Sheridan Square drew 2,000 sympathizers. Mr. Robinson, who had been active in the Mattachine Society, the main organization for homosexuals until then, was a lead speaker.
The Stonewall riot became a symbol that galvanized many gay men and women and started a new era of activism. At the forefront, Mr. Robinson co-founded the Gay Activist Alliance and the Lavender Hill Mob. He was also active in the Gay Liberation Front and was a founding member of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power.
He helped develop "zaps," inventive and confrontational protests, such as infiltrating someone else's event, grabbing the microphone and upstaging the proceedings.
Mayor John V. Lindsay was interrupted at a ceremony marking the Metropolitan Museum of Art's 100th anniversary, in an effort to prod him into stronger support for gay rights legislation.
Such tactics often caused resentment but also got attention and sometimes won access. Pressure on Dick Cavett persuaded him to give Mr. Robinson the platform of an appearance on national television. Sometimes Mr. Robinson resorted to more conventional methods, like testifying before the Presidential Commission on AIDS in 1987.
Mr. Robinson was born in Brooklyn and attended New York University. He worked as a union carpenter specializing in residential remodeling.
Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Amazon: Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time
Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher
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