New York Mayor Ed Koch Letter
Typed letter signed by New York City Mayor Ed Koch (1924-2013) discussing 1988 Gay and Lesbian Pride Month.
Letter addressed to photographer Lee Snider, thanking him for supportive remarks about the “Prejudice & Pride” exhibition, expressing disappointment about the disruption during the ceremony proclaiming June “Gay and Lesbian Pride and History Month,” and observing that silencing others is an important theme of the exhibition.
“Thank you for your supporting words regarding the historical photographic exhibition ‘Prejudice & Pride The NYC Lesbian & Gay Community: World War II-Present.’ I am proud that our office coordinated the project and that its public reception has been so overwhelmingly positive…
“Naturally I was distressed that the opening and the Gay and Lesbian Pride and History Month proclamation ceremony were so disrupted as to destroy the prepared program…
While we all respect a group’s right to disagree and speak out, we likewise know the insidious dangers of silencing others. To an extent, social silencing and its consequences were what the exhibition was all about.”
Around the world, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month is celebrated annually in June to commemorate the Stonewall riots. Beginning in 1987, during the administration of Ed Koch, New York City declared June to be a month for honoring the contributions and struggles of its gay and lesbian inhabitants, a tradition which continued in subsequent years. The ceremony announcing New York City’s second “Gay and Lesbian Pride and History Month” was disrupted by members of the AIDS activist organization ACT UP to draw attention to Koch’s failures in leading the city in the battle against AIDS.