The 1965 Police Raid on California Hall

Who would have guessed that the dawn of the gay and lesbian civil rights movement in San Francisco was jump-started by straight ministers at a dance? This little-known, yet pivotal event happened the first day of 1965, and it was an occasion like never before. For the first time, all the fledgling “homophile” organizations came together as one to put on a costume ball, publicly revealing their community in a thoroughly respectable, yet overtly political, and queerly fabulous fashion! The twist was they were rallied by progressive straight ministers who had seen, firsthand, the brutal police violence against this community and they were determined to do something about it. So when the SFPD showed up to try and shut the party down, the results were explosively historic! The event has been known as the 1965 Police Raid on California Hall, but it was almost lost to history.

Jallen Rix heard the story on his first day of graduate school and it had such an impact on him, the Police Raid became his area of research for his dissertation. When Coproducer Chris Sinton heard the story and realized that a number of the key dance instigators were not long for this world, he knew they had to do something about it. The result of their efforts is the documentary, Lewd and Lascivious which recovers for today’s and future audiences the landmark event in American history when just being perceived as homosexual was reason enough to discriminate, and being caught in gay sexual activity was “Lewd and Lascivious Conduct” and could result in years-long prison sentences.

Cinema Diverse 2013: Festival FavoriteThe movie appeared in a few LGBTQ festivals, most notably the world premiere in the city where it all began, San Francisco, at the 37th Frameline Festival. Several of the cast members were able to attend. During the Q&A just after the film, the cast was asked to stand which resulted in the sold-out crowd jumping to their feet and going crazy with applause, and applause, and more applause. 50 years after the actual event, those people who sacrificed so much for everyone’s civil rights were being appreciated like never before. It was a moment never to be forgotten! With this film, we hope their work will never be forgotten.

The 2.5 Minute Trailer:

The Feature Presentation: Lewd & Lascivious (51 minutes):

**Has this piece struck a chord with you?

Please consider showing your appreciation by making a donation to further Dr. Rix’s work and bring healthy sexuality to others. Any amount is deeply appreciated.

Behind the scenes stories of L&L:

1 Comment

  1. Absolutely great depiction of history. We must remember this is possible so that it does not happen again!

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This