RJ Alcalá Gay Rights and Culture Collection

In line with the University of Rochester’s recommendations regarding COVID-19, the Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation will be closed to the public until further notice, effective Monday, March 16, 2020.

Other Views:  Print/PDF  |  EAD Note: You may browse using the navigation on the left, or use Ctrl-F to search within this finding aid.

RJ Alcalá gay rights and culture collection
Creator: Alcalá, R. J. (Robert J.)
Call Number: D.602
Dates: 1962-2003
Physical Description: 2.13 Cubic feet
Language(s): Materials are in English
Repository: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester

Table of Contents:

Biographical/Historical Note
Scope and Content
Arrangement
Subject(s)
Processing Information
Access
Use
Citation
Related Materials
Content List
Series I: Formation of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF), 1962-1971
Series II: The Gay Alliance of Genesee Valley (GAGV), 1982-1990
Scrapbook on gay rights activism, 1987-1993
Series III: National media coverage of the Gay Rights Movement, 1971-2003
Series IV: The Gay Games, 1989-2002
Scrapbook on the New York Gay Games, 1994
Series V: Novelty ephemera, 1995
Collection Overview
Title: RJ Alcalá gay rights and culture collection
Creator: Alcalá, R. J. (Robert J.)
Call Number: D.602
Dates: 1962-2003
Physical Description: 2.13 Cubic feet
Language(s): Materials are in English
Repository: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester

Biographical/Historical Note
RJ Alcalá graduated from the Eastman School of Music 1971. He was one of the original members of the Gay Liberation Front at the University of Rochester, and was also an early member of the GLF's Speakers Bureau. He is credited with naming The Empty Closet, one of the longest continually-running LGBTQ+ newspapers in the United States, when it began in 1971. RJ remained an important figure in the efforts for gay liberation in Rochester, NY, working to repeal NYS sodomy laws, and participating in the Names Project. RJ continued his work with the early GLF Speakers' Bureau with its continuation under the Out Alliance in their early days as the Gay Alliance of Genesee Valley, whose members offered themselves as informational outreach speakers at community meetings, companies, schools, and other institutions in order to better educate people about the realities of LGBT experience and life. He has also been a speaker at the Anthony Mascioli Rainbow Dialogues (Rochester, 2019), and was interviewed and featured in the iSomething otherness oral history project (2012) and documentary film (2013).

Scope and Content
The RJ Alcalá gay rights and culture collection, 1962-2003 (1980s), consists of materials gathered and created by RJ Alcalá. The materials largely focus on the gay liberation and gay rights movements, including Alcalá's work with the Gay Liberation Front at the University of Rochester, the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley (the Out Alliance), the Names Project, and the Anti-Defamation League of Rochester. A large portion of the gathered materials consist of newspaper and journal articles, clippings, and entire issues (some arranged in two scrapbooks), representing a local and national scope of gay life on a personal and political level. International magazines in French (Globe) and German (Die Spiegel) featuring articles on gay life, identity, and political oppression are also present. Mainstream (The New York Times, Newsweek), limited-release (The Empty Closet), and underground publications (Gay Flames pamphlet/zine) are present. A significant portion of materials focus on the AIDS crisis, the personal experiences and losses sustained by the LGBTQ+ community, and the national political backdrop and response, as well as the Gay Games of the 1990s and early 2000s.

Arrangement
The collection is arranged in five series:

- Series I: Formation of the Gay Liberation Front, 1962-1971

- Series II: The Gay Alliance of Genesee Valley, 1982-1990

- Series III: National media coverage of the Gay Rights Movement, 1971-2003

- Series IV: The Gay Games, 1990-1994

- Series V: Novelty ephemera, 1995

Subject(s):
New York (State)--Rochester
Gay men
Gay rights
Gay liberation movement
Same-sex marriage
World AIDS day
Gays--Political activity
Alcalá, R. J. (Robert J.)
Out Alliance (Rochester, N.Y.)
Gay Games
Processing Information
The materials in this collection have been arranged to preserve the intersectionality of the personal and political implied in their original order. Materials which were originally housed together were kept associated, either by folder or series, though folder contents have been re-arranged chronologically for clarity.Access
The RJ Alcalá gay rights and culture collection is open for research use. Researchers are advised to contact Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation prior to visiting. Upon arrival, researchers will also be asked to fill out a registration form and provide photo identification.Use
Reproductions are made upon request but can be subject to restrictions. Permission to publish materials from the collection must currently be requested. Please note that some materials may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the researcher's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information contact rarebks@library.rochester.eduCitation
[Item title, item date], RJ Alcalá gay rights and culture collection, D.602, Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of RochesterRelated Materials
Video Interview, RJ Alcalá, October 20, 2012

Shoulders to Stand On, documentary, 2013

The Empty Closet online collection

The Gay Brotherhood of Rochester papers


Administrative Information
Author: Lev Earle
Publisher: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester
Address:
Rush Rhees Library
Second Floor, Room 225
Rochester, NY 14627-0055
rarebks@library.rochester.edu
URL:

Finding aid publication date: February 2020
Content List
Series I: Formation of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF), 1962-1971
The first series, The Formation of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF), 1962-1971, is comprised of material gathered or written by Alcalá during the early days of the GLF. Included are newspaper and journal articles, notes, gay zines, fliers, magazines, materials from the 1971 March on Washington to protest for gay rights, programs from a mass held to bless the protesters, and an unidentified photograph of an early GLF meeting in Todd Union. A number of news articles on "Anticipatory Avoidance Learning" or "aversion therapy" using electrical shock therapy on gay men are included, including protests and responses from the gay community both on campus and at large. Publications include Gay Flames pamphlet/zine, The Empty Closet, UR Journal, The Campus Times, Newsweek, Harper's, and Sexual Behavior.

Box 1, Folder 1"Homosexuality in the Church, " Rev. Robert W. Wood, 1964
Box 1, Folder 2Gay Flames Pamphlet, vol. 1, 3, 4, 6-8, 10-13, 1970-71 and undated
Box 1, Folder 3Articles on Gay Liberation, 1962-1971
Box 1, Folder 4Photograph of early meeting, undated
Box 1, Folder 5"He Enjoys Being a Girl," Guy Flatley, The New York Times, November 15, 1970
Box 1, Folder 6The Empty Closet, January 1971
Box 1, Folder 7Ecumenical Prayer Service program, Trinity United Methodist Church, March 14, 1971
Box 1, Folder 8March of the Gay Unveiling March Information Sheet, March 1971
Box 1, Folder 9Sticker, State March of the Gay Unveiling, Albany, March 13-14, 1971
Box 1, Folder 10Letter to Times-Union editor regarding coverage of the March, RJ Alcalá, March 1971
Box 1, Folder 11UR Journal, April 1971
Box 1, Folder 12The Empty Closet, April-May 1971
Box 1, Folder 13The Campus Times, May 14, 1971
Box 1, Folder 14UR Journal, October 1971
Box 1, Folder 15"Out of the Closet: A Gay Manifesto," Allen Young, Ramparts, November 1971
Box 1, Folder 16The Empty Closet newsletter, no. 18, July 1972
Series II: The Gay Alliance of Genesee Valley (GAGV), 1982-1990
The second series, the Gay Alliance of Genesee Valley (GAGV), 1982-1990, is comprised of material gathered by Alcalá either for use at or during his time with the GAGV (now the Out Alliance). Material formats include newspaper clippings, an amici curiae brief, magazines, fliers for meetings and protests, and memorial programs. In addition to folders of newspaper articles, this series also contains Alcalá's scrapbook of clippings focused on gay rights activism, often presented with context of other news items of the day. A large amount of this material focuses on the rising AIDS crisis, the personal and political oppression and situation of LGBTQ+ people in the United States, and community and political response. Other topics include the decision and protests against the Supreme Court sodomy ruling against the gay community, debates about the right to privacy of the individual, the pathological medicalization of sexuality and identity, and Gay Pride events. Materials from the AIDS quilt memorial the Names Project and the Anti-Defamation League's fight for fair civil rights are also present.

Box 1, Folder 17Coverage of Pride March, June 1982
Box 1, Folder 18Brief for the American Psychological Association and the American Public Health Association as Amici Curiae, Bowers v. Hardwick and Doe, 478 U.S. 186, 1985
Box 1, Folder 19"Gay Topics in the News," newspaper clippings, 1985-1990
Box 1, Folder 20Anti-Defamation League, 1985-1986
Box 1, Folder 21"A Government in the Bedroom: In a sodomy case, the high court rules against gays," Newsweek, July 14, 1986
Box 1, Folder 22"The Gay Decades," Frank Rich, Esquire, November 1987
The Names Project
Box 1, Folder 23National Tour, 1988
Box 1, Folder 24AIDS Memorial Quilt tour program, October 1989
Box 1, Folder 25AIDS Memorial Quilt List of Names 1989-1990, September 1989
Box 4, Folder 1"Gay Items in the News," oversize newspaper clippings, 1987-1990
Scrapbook on gay rights activism, 1987-1993
Box 4, Folder 2National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights program, October 11, 1987
p.1

Box 4, Folder 3March on Washington weekend calendar of events
p.2

Box 4, Folder 4Native Guide to the Events: Countdown on the National March on Washington
p.3

Box 4, Folder 5National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Town Meeting on Sex and Politics program, October 10, 1987
p.4

Box 4, Folder 6"Denying AIDS Its Sting: A Quilt of Life," Katherine Bishop, The New York Times, October 5, 1987
p.5

Box 4, Folder 7Demonstrations, AIDS health policy, October 14 20, 1987
p.6

Box 4, Folder 8"2,000 Gay Couples Exchange Vows in Ceremony of Rights," Linda Wheeler, The Washington Post, October 11, 1987
p.7

Box 4, Folder 9Gay marriage demonstration, AIDS treatment. The Washington Post, October 11, 1987
p.8

Box 4, Folder 10"Hundreds of Thousands March for Gay Rights," Karlyn Barker and Linda Wheeler, The Washington Post, October 12, 1987
p.9

Box 4, Folder 11"A Somber Crowd Dedicates Quilt to AIDS Victims," Sandra G. Boodman, October 12, 1987
p.10

Box 4, Folder 12AIDS Quilt, festivals, national policy groups, October 12 13, 1987
p.11

Box 4, Folder 13"Gay rights protest leads to 600 arrests," Aaron Epstein, The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 14, 1987
p.12

Box 4, Folder 14AIDS protest arrests, various newspapers, October 14, 1987
p.13

Box 4, Folder 15Protests, AIDS Commission, political cartoon, various newspapers, October 14, 1987
p.14

Box 4, Folder 16Supreme Court protests, various newspapers, October 14, 1987
p.14

Box 4, Folder 17-19"Armies of the Dawn: At the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights," various authors, The Voice, October 20, 1987
p.16-18

Box 4, Folder 20 and 23Militant gay protests, gay marriage demonstration, October 1987
p.19 and 22

Box 4, Folder 21-22"200,000 March in Capital to Seek Gay Rights and Money for AIDS," Lena Williams, The New York Times, October 12, 1987
p.20-21

Box 4, Folder 24-27AIDS Quilt front page feature and national march coverage, The New York Native, October 26, 1987
p.23-26

Box 4, Folder 28Meeting of gay and lesbian lawyers and personal memories, various newspapers, October 1987
p.27

Box 4, Folder 29Programs and images, The Names Project, October 1987
p.28

Box 4, Folder 30Images from AIDS protests, October 1987
p.29

Box 4, Folder 31"The Wedding: a demonstration for equal rights" event program, October 10, 1987
p.30

Box 4, Folder 32"The Wedding: Celebration and Remembrance," Rebecca Lewin, The New York Native, November 2, 1987
p.31

Box 4, Folder 33"Stonewalling," Thomas J. Jackson, The New York Native, November 2, 1987
p.32

Box 4, Folder 34 and 35"Gay Marchers Throng Capital in Appeal for Rights: A Celebration Mixed With Demands," Jeffrey Schmaltz, The New York Times, April 26, 1993
p.33-34

Box 4, Folder 36"Public Private: The Power of One," Anna Quindlen, The New York Times Op-Ed, April 28, 1993
p.35

Series III: National media coverage of the Gay Rights Movement, 1971-2003
The third series, National media coverage of the Gay Rights Movement, 1971-2003, is a collection of local, national, and international magazines, newspapers, and journals featuring articles on gay sexuality, life, the AIDS crisis, political rights and activism, Pride celebrations, and personal stories. The majority of these items are full issues and speak to the broader context against which the gay liberation and gay rights issues played out.

Box 2, Folder 1"Playboy Panel: Homosexuality - Discussion." Playboy vol. 18, no. 4, April 1971
Box 2, Folder 2"Bekennt, daß ihr anders seid," Der Spiegel, no. 11, March 12, 1973
Box 2, Folder 3"Letze Chance einer Liebe auf Erden: US-Autor Barry Graves über Homosexuelle in New York," Der Spiegel, no. 51, December 15, 1975
Box 2, Folder 4"Homosexuelle in Österreich: Herr Sucht Herrn," profil, no. 21, May 18-June 7, 1976
Box 2, Folder 5"How Gay Is Gay? Homosexuality in America," TIME, April 23, 1979
Box 2, Folder 6Articles on the Masters and Johnson study, The New York Times, April 18, 1979
Box 2, Folder 7"The Meaning of Gay: An Interview with Dr. C.A. Tripp by Philip Nobile," New York Magazine, June 25, 1979
Box 2, Folder 8"Kinsey Study Finds Homosexuals Show Early Predisposition," Jane E. Brody, The New York Times, August 23, 1981
Box 2, Folder 9"Alan's Story," Donald C. Drake, The Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine, May 22, 1983
Box 2, Folder 10"Gay America: Sex, Politics and The Impact of AIDS," Newsweek, August 8, 1983
Box 2, Folder 11"AIDS: One Man's Story," Patricia Morrisroe, New York Magazine, August 19, 1985
Box 2, Folder 12"Growing Up Gay: The Society's Dilemma - One Family's Crisis," Newsweek, January 13, 1986
Box 2, Folder 13"High Court, 5-4, Says States Have the Right to Outlaw Private Homosexual Acts," various authors, The New York Times, July 1, 1986
Box 2"Essay: The Individual Is Sovereign," Otto Friedrich, TIME, July 21, 1986
Box 5, Folder 1Gay Community News, vol. 15, no. 12, October 4-10, 1987
Box 5, Folder 2The Washington Blade, vol. 18, no. 41, October 9, 1987
Box 5, Folder 3The Village Voice, vol. 32, no. 42, October 20, 1987
Box 2, Folder 15"Homos: Vignt Ans Après la Colère," various authors, Globe, no. 36, April 1989
Box 2, Folder 16"Stonewall 25," special issue, 10 Percent, June 1994
Box 2, Folder 17"A Mother's Powerful Letter," Sharon Underwood, The Valley News, April 30, 2000
Box 5, Folder 4"Justices, 6-3, Legalize Gay Sexual Conduct in Sweeping Reversal of Court's '86 Ruling," front-page feature, The New York Times, vol. 152, no. 52,527, June 27, 2003
Series IV: The Gay Games, 1989-2002
The fourth series, the Gay Games, 1989-2002, is comprised of material focused on the international Gay Games, a derivative of the Olympic Games. Materials include programs, maps, schedules, a souvenir brochure from a featured drag performer, and Alcalá's scrapbook of articles and newspaper features focused on the 1994 Games in New York City.

Box 3, Folder 1Gay Games 1990 Official Program, August 4-11, 1990
Box 3, Folder 2Gay Games IV and Cultural Festival Collector's Edition Official Program, June 18-25, 1994
Box 3, Folder 3The Games Guide, June 18-25, 1994
Box 3, Folder 4Gay Games IV: The Official Map, 1994
Scrapbook on the New York Gay Games, 1994
Box 3, Folder 5"Is Everybody Gay?" Paul Rudnick, New York Magazine, June 20, 1994
p.1-2

Box 3, Folder 6New York Pride Guide, June 1994
p.3

Box 3, Folder 7Letter from the Family Defense Council to the Ambassador of Australia; Drag performance review, May-June 1994
p.4

Box 5, Folder 5"Thousands Gather for Gay Games and Anniversary of Stonewall Uprising," The New York Times, June 17, 1994
p.5

Box 5, Folder 6"Things to Do With A Gay Flavor," The New York Times, June 17, 1994
p.6

Box 3, Folder 8"The Time Has Come;" Gay Games schedule, The New York Times, June 17, 1994
p.7

Box 3, Folder 9Cultural Events schedule and tickets, June 17-25, 1994
p.8

Box 5, Folder 7Gay presence in New York City during the Games, various authors, New York Newsday, June 20, 1994
p.8, oversize items

Box 3, Folder 10Games coverage, political protections, various authors, The New York Times, June 20, 1994
p.9

Box 3, Folder 11Australian consul invitation, Games coverage, prejudice and anti-bias policy, The New York Times, June 21, 1994
p.10

Box 3, Folder 12"Revealing the Universal Amid Specifics: Bill T. Jones...," Anna Kisselgoff, The New York Times, June 21, 1994
p.11

Box 3, Folder 13"Gay Officers Get Their Turn to Present a Heritage Exhibit," George James; Rikki Streicher obituary, The New York Times, June-Aug 1994
p.12

Box 3, Folder 14Performance review, Lesbian motherhood, The New York Times, June 22, 1994
p.13

Box 3, Folder 15"Gay Pride (and Anguish) Around the Galleries," Holland Cotter, The New York Times, June 24, 1994
p.14

Box 3, Folder 16"In the Ancient Greeks' Theatrical Tradition: Dance Works...," Jack Anderson, The New York Times, June 24, 1994
p.15

Box 3, Folder 17Advertising to gay consumers, performance reviews, The New York Times, June 24-25, 1994
p.16

Box 3, Folder 18"Stonewall Liberation: Who and How," Ben Brantley, The New York Times, June 25, 1994
p.17

Box 3, Folder 19Closing Ceremonies programs, June 25, 1994
p.18

Box 5, Folder 8Gay Games Closing Ceremony full-page ad, The New York Times, June 9, 1994
p.18, oversize items

Box 3, Folder 20Program, International March on the United Nations to Affirm the Human Rights of Lesbian and Gay People, June 26, 1994
p.19

Box 3, Folder 21March, HIV testing in babies, New York Newsday, June 27, 1994
p.20

Box 5, Folder 9"Unauthorized" march to commemorate Stonewall, various articles, New York Newsday, June 27, 1994
p.20-21

Box 3, Folder 22Italian news coverage of marches commemorating Stonewall, June 27, 1994
p.22

Box 3, Folder 23"Gay Marchers Press Ahead in 25-Year Battle," Janny Scott, The New York Times, June 27, 1994
p.23

Box 3, Folder 24Coverage of March, continued, The New York Times, June 27, 1994
p.24

Box 3, Folder 25"From the Gay World's Every Reach, a Sea of Marchers...," James C. McKinley, Jr., The New York Times, June 27, 1994
p.25

Box 3, Folder 26"The Gay Connection in Music and in a Festival," Alex Ross, The New York Times, June 27, 1994
p.26

Box 3, Folder 27Performance reviews, gay visibility, various authors, The New York Times, June 28, 1994
p.27

Box 3, Folder 28"Mayor Applauds Police on Gay March Strategy," Alison Mitchell, The New York Times, June 28, 1994
p.28

Box 3, Folder 29"Anti-Gay Resolution Draws Louganis Protest," William C. Rhoden, The New York Times, July 8, 1994
p.29

Box 3, Folder 30The Games Guide, June 18-25, 1994
p.30

Box 5, Folder 10"Library's Gay Show is an Eye-Opener, Even for Its Subjects," David W. Dunlap, The New York Times, Sept. 6, 1994
p.30, oversize items

Box 5, Folder 11Gay Games 2002 Opening Ceremony program, November 2, 2002
Box 5, Folder 12Souvenir brochure for a Barry Humphries drag revue performance, Gay Games Australia, (c) March, 1989
Series V: Novelty ephemera, 1995
The fifth series, Novelty Ephemera, 1995, is comprised of a set of novelty Gay Pride Christmas string lights in the original packaging.

Box 5Gay Pride-themed Freedom Lights, by Don't Panic Designs, 1995


Other Views:  Print/PDF  |  EAD