Beginning of a Movement, Compton's Cafeteria
The moment that marked the beginning of the Gay Rights movement in America is generally considered to be the 1969 riots at the Stonewall Inn in New York City's Greenwich Village when LGBT men and women fought against the NYPD which had been harassing patrons at the nightclub. However a similar incident took place here, at the then Compton's Cafeteria, three years earlier. In 1966 the building shown above was an all-night coffee shop and hangout for gays and drag entertainers in San Francisco's seedy Tenderloin District.

One night after years of police raids and harassment the customers decided they'd had enough. It all began when one drag queen, being roughly dragged from her booth, threw a cup of coffee into the face of a police officer. Soon a full-blown riot erupted and the all windows of the cafeteria were smashed in the melee. While the Compton's Cafeteria riots did not get as much national publicity as the New York riots years later, they did lead to sweeping changes in San Francisco police policies reflecting a greater acceptance of the city's gays. These changes, while slow in evolving, resulted in some cooperation between the police and LGBT community, a move that reflected the more tolerant view being taken throughout the city.
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