An advertisement for the Gay Liberation Front of Albany that appeared in the Concordiensis on January 12, 1971. The advertisement reads: "The Gay Liberation Front of Albany wishes to announce that it holds its meetings every Thursday night at 8:30 P.M. at the Unitarian Church, 405 Washington Ave., Albany, New York."

Gay Liberation Front

While there are no records of explicit LGBTQ+ activism led by members of the Union College community happening on campus or in the broader Schenectady area, there are three anonymously written advertisements that made their way into the Concordiensis in 1970 and 1971 that indicate a place where Union students interested in queer advocacy may have gone.

On October 6, 1970, an ad appeared for an event hosted on October 10 by the Gay Liberation Front of the Tri Cities Area (concurrently also referred to as the Gay Liberation Front of Albany) at the Unitarian Church in Albany [1]. Dr. Laud Humphreys, a member of the faculty of the School of Criminal Justice at SUNY Albany, described in the ad as a “recognized authority on the homosexual subculture,” was scheduled to give a talk at the meeting. Less than a month later, on November 3, a similarly structured ad for a talk about the homophile movement by Troy Perry, a pastor at the Metropolitan Community Church in Los Angeles, appeared [2]. This talk was sponsored by the Gay Liberation Front of the Tri Cities Area and hosted on SUNY Albany’s campus. 

The repeated and sustained collaboration of Albany’s Gay Liberation Front with religious institutions is something that challenges normative assumptions about the incompatibility of religiosity and queerness. Both of the faith-based organizations that the Gay Liberation Front engaged with are well-known for their support of the LGBTQ+ community; the Metropolitan Community Church of LA was founded in 1968 as a specifically LGBTQ+ affirming congregation, and they have been a leading force in the development of queer theology, while the national Unitarian Universalist Association has been actively supportive of Gay Liberation since 1970, and its Albany congregation appears to have fit right in. The Gay Liberation Front of Albany’s meeting place was right at the Unitarian Church - the church was not a passive supporter, but an active participant. 


A black and white photograph of a group of people rallying for gay liberation in Albany on April 17, 1972. In the background of the far left, a banner reading "Gay Liberation Front" can be seen. In the middle of the photograph, part of a sign with the Venus lesbian symbol and the words "radical lesbians" can be seen. In the foreground, in front of the "radical lesbians" sign, a person with long brown hair is holding a smaller sign that reads "Gay people! All people! It's a beautiful revolution." 


The Gay Liberation Front of the Tri Cities Area, which is now called The Pride Center of the Capital Region, is the oldest continually-operating LGBTQ+ Community Center in the United States, as it was founded in 1970 and has been alive and well ever since [3]. A thorough consultation of SUNY Albany’s archival collection “The Pride Center of the Capital Region Records, 1965-2017,” housed in their M.E. Grenander Special Collections and Archives library, could potentially aid in confirming whether there was active engagement of Union College students, staff, or faculty with the Gay Liberation Front [4]. It is clear from the anonymous nature of the Concordiensis ads and the lack of Union’s institutionally held records on the topic that if there was a person, or a group of people, who fostered collaboration between the Union College community and the Gay Liberation Front of the Tri Cities Area, they purposefully kept their name(s) private, so the purpose of research that probes into SUNY Albany’s archival records isn’t to decipher specific names or to determine authorship of the Concordiensis ads, but rather to look for general information that points to collaboration.

[1] "Blither." Published on October 6, 1970 in the Concordiensis. 

[2] "Blither." Published on November 3, 1970 in the Concordiensis. 

[3] To learn more, visit,, or

[4] Retrieved from

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