Queer Activism in the Labor Movement
Smith, Sarah R.http://www.solidarity-us.org/site/node/4338
Date Written: 2015-01-01
Publisher: Against the Current
Year Published: 2015
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX20869
Smith's review of a book published on the history of LGBT activisim within the labour movement.
In the 1970s, Teresa Rankin kept her sexual orientation private while organizing textile workers at J.P. Stevens in North Carolina, relying on the lesbian social scene in nearby Washington, D.C. for community. When the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (ACTWU) offered her an organizing position in a small town in Virginia, Rankin, turned down the opportunity fearing isolation due to her sexual orientation.
At the same time in San Francisco Howard Wallace campaigned for the boycott of Coors beer because of its anti-union and anti-gay policies. In 1983, Wallace and other activists formed the Lesbian/Gay Labor Alliance of San Francisco. In the 1980s, workers at AIDS clinics in several cities engaged in efforts to unionize their workplaces.