blackcatLA Weekly | Dennis Romero - This month will mark the 50th anniversary of the first gay rights demonstration in the United States. It wasn't New York's Stonewall Uprising of 1969. It was the lesser-known Black Cat protests of 1967.

Following a New Year's Eve celebration at that Silver Lake tavern, undercover cops arrested 14 people and cited men for lewd conduct because they were kissing, historians say. Weeks later, in February 1967, LGBT protesters based in Silver Lake, Echo Park and beyond fought back with demonstrations outside the bar, launching the gay rights movement in the United States. The protests inspired the founding of The Advocate , the nation's premier LGBT publication.

On Feb. 11, LGBT activists will celebrate the movement's 50-year anniversary at the site of the original protests.

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