“The world is different now:” Lesbian Activism


Excerpt from an interview with Joan Antonuccio, co-owner of the former Brick Hut in Oakland, CA, recorded  July 24, 2014.


JA: I meet younger people who say, sometimes they say, “Well, we can go anywhere we want,” “we can do anything we want.” And I say, “You’re welcome!”

EB: Yeah, they don’t get that.

JA: They do. There are those who do. And the ones who do, I love beyond belief. The ones who don’t, they have to think [about it]. You can do what you do because I did what I did.  And I may look like I failed but I did not because the world is different and that’s because of what we did. …

JA: And in a young woman’s life, they define what their space is because I defined what our space is.

EB: Otherwise they’d be fighting the battle.

JA: That’s right. And they have their own battles and some of it’s the same battle, some of it’s, well, we did that work, we did it. So the world is very different, you know it is.


These buttons represent some of the issues that women demonstrated and fought for in the 1970s. Collection owned by Sarah Wales.

By the end of the 70s women activists opened the Women’s Building in San Francisco, which served a wide variety of women’s needs.

Lesbian activism led to the development of a gay presence in the Democratic party.  Here members of the Harvey Milk Gay Democratic Club, including Gwenn Craig (center, white top), march in a gay pride parade in San Francisco.

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