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North Shore Gay and Lesbian Alliance (NSGLA)

by Jen Ratliff on 2022-06-13T09:12:00-04:00 | 0 Comments

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The North Shore Gay and Lesbian Alliance (NSGLA) began as the North Shore Gay Alliance in September 1978, when David Newton formed an alliance of men and women to poll political candidates to determine their level of support for gay and lesbian rights. On October 23, 1978, the first meeting was held on Ober Street in Beverly, Massachusetts and a survey for political candidates was created. By the following month about a half dozen students from Salem State College and residents of the North Shore had signed on to the taskforce.

On December 11, 1978, at what was scheduled to be the last meeting, group members voted to continue their political work, formally creating the NSGLA. Aside from politics, the organization hoped to create educational programming and offer social events to unite the gay and lesbian community. Over the next year, the NSGLA met often in board members’ homes and quickly gained a following of over 400, moving their meetings to public halls and community spaces. Some members were not comfortable being publicly identified and used P.O. boxes and false names to attain their monthly newsletter due to fears of violence and discrimination. In October 1979, NSGLA participated in the March on Washington to demand LGBTQIA+ rights. 

In 1980, the organization voted to add Lesbian to its name, officially becoming the North Shore Gay and Lesbian Alliance.

The NSGLA drew crowds of over 700 with events such as Gay May Day, an all-day fair and music festival held at Salem State College and Salem’s Old Town Hall, and a week-long lecture series, Gay History Week. The organization also offered educational programs on topics such as the aids epidemic, coming-out, and the Family Protection Act.

The North Shore Gay and Lesbian Alliance dissolved in 1998.

Digitized Archives
North Shore Gay and Lesbian Alliance Photographs and Ephemera
North Shore Gay and Lesbian Alliance Records
The Alliance Bulletin, 1981

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