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Sat Oct 5, 2019, 04:18 AM

The first organized gay rights protest was five years before Stonewall

In 1964, at least 2,417 service members were kicked out of the American military for being gay. That was 1,144 more than were kicked out in 2001, the worst year of Donít Ask, Donít Tell. The Navy alone kicked out more in 1964 than all the branches combined did in 2001.

The actual number in 1964 was higher but unknowable due to poor record keeping. The 2,417 did not include all types of discharges, all the officers discharged, or any numbers from the Coast Guard.

On September 19, 1964, the worldís first organized gay rights protest was held in front of the Army Building on Whitehall Street in Manhattan to protest the ban on gays in the military, Less Than Honorable discharges, and sharing of gay peopleís private information outside of the Department of Defense.

That was not just five years before Stonewall, but also 30 years before its codification into Donít Ask, Donít Tell took effect, and nearly half-a-century before it would end.

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