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The Farm

7978 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024
1970 1973

Gay Guide '71: (YC) (D); Barfly West '73: A. D. L. Y. *

"In September 1970 GLF organized a pre-planned “Touch-In” at “The Farm,” the most-popular gay bar [...] in West Hollywood, a mafia-owned dive. In the week before the Touch-In, both Morris Kight and I were warned by mafioso Ed Nash, the bar’s owner, that if we didn’t want to meet with any “accidents,” we should call it off. We didn’t call it off.

At 10 p.m. on a Friday night (Sept. 18, 1970), other GLFers and I, strategically placed around the packed bar, started shouting, “Reach out and touch your gay brother, show him affection, and don’t budge no matter what happens. If they arrest one of us, we all go to jail.”

The lights went on, the music stopped, and multiple police sirens wailed in the distance, coming closer and closer. Four sheriff’s deputies, with others waiting outside, silently, menacingly, like an army of occupation, which they were, walked through the bar slowly from front to back. Gay men with their arms around each other stood their ground without budging, continuing to show physical affection and glaring at the sheriff’s deputies. To break the silence, I started chanting, with everyone joining in over and over again, “Ho Ho, Ho Chi Minh, GLF is going to win.” The deputies walked out and drove away. The lights went off, the music resumed and the rest is gay history.

The next night GLF marched down Santa Monica Boulevard from Plummer Park to Robertson, with GLF’s “commie-jew-fag-bastard kazoo band” playing show tunes, posting pre-printed posters on the doors and inside every gay business establishment. The posters were headed with the words “This Bar Is Liberated.” Within months showing physical affection and dancing were happening for the first time in gay bars all over the city, ultimately allowing places like Studio One to open.

In my half-century of community organizing on behalf of gay people, there has never ever been a moment when I was prouder of my gay brothers than that night in 1970 at The Farm in West Hollywood. It was Gandhi’s ahimsa and King’s non-violent resistance at its finest." - Don Kilhefner, WEHOVille, August 5, 2016