From Life magazine: Photo from the 1971 ALA annual conference in Dallas. Barbara Gittings organized a booth offering free same-sex hugs and kisses.
The American Library Association’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table was the nation’s first GLBT professional organization. I’m proud to be part of such a forward-thinking field as librarianship.
(For those that are interested, the booth received a (predictably) mostly negative reaction, with little to no people stopping by for a free hug. So the staffers of the booth hugged and kissed each other. Gittings kissed Patience and Sarah author Alma Routsong (aka Isabel Miller) while cameras were rolling and made the nightly news. That same year she appeared with a panel of lesbians on the David Susskind Show to debunk gay stereotypes of the time. She was approached in a supermarket a week after the appearance by a middle-aged couple who claimed “You made me realize that you gay people love each other just the way Arnold and I do.”)