S.V.A. Supporter Quarter-of-a-Century
(1969 to 1994)
New York City Mayor John V. Lindsay
(New York City's 103rd Mayor)
Former Mayor John Vliet Lindsay -- the handsome knight with the shining sword on the white horse -- died from pneumonia and dealing longtime with an unwelcomed illness known as Parkinson's. The former New York three-term Congressman from the Upper East Side in Manhattan, NY, and two-term New York City Mayor passed away not in his beloved NYC, where he was born, but at a medical facility in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, where he had moved with his wife Mary a few years prior. Born on November 24, 1921 in New York City, the mayor died on December 20, 2000 at the age of 79.
The first Gay organization that Mayor Lindsay met with was the STONEWALL Veterans' Association ("S.V.A.") -- then known as the "Stonewall Veterans Club". On the SVA's first visit to City Hall, the Stonewall veterans did our increasingly known "knock! knock! knock!" approach -- we did not have an appointment. Various members of the S.V.A. had also telephoned prior with no results. Because of the SVA's being based in New York City, our timely civil rights mission, our visible numbers and our undeterred determination, a scheduled appointment was quickly arranged for the following week -- directly with the Mayor and some of his staffers. (All the while we believed that his brother Jonathan was accurately rumored to be Gay.) That historic and momentous meeting occurred at City Hall in late August 1969 less than two months after the Stonewall Rebellion ended. Mayor Lindsay was the perfect mayor for an increasingly and openly-Gay City of New York. The first Gay Pride march in 1970 had many logisitc and legal problems which caught both the City and the Stonewall veterans by surprise. This included but was not limited to some abuse and much harassment by the NYC police. Mayor Lindsay was rightly displeased with this and he personally ensured that such would not repeat the next year. In 1971, the Mayor negotiated sensible guidelines and safety measures for the second Gay Pride March. (They were not 'parades' at that point.)
Politically, John V. Lindsay was a progressive Republican, then he became a Liberal Party candidate for his mayoral re-election on 1969 (after as a sitting Republican mayor he incredibly did not receive the Republican nod) and, in 1971, Mr. Lindsay rightly retaliated by switching to the Democratic Party. In 1972, he was a Democratic presidential candidate.
Most appropriately, the last two letters that Mayor Lindsay gave to any Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual or Transgender ("G.L.B.T.") organization -- twenty-one years after he completed his mayorality in 1973 -- were to his favorite groups the STONEWALL Rebellion Veterans Association and its sister group the Imperial QUEENS & Kings of New York ("IQKNY"). Both organizations are headed by someone the mayor knew long, well and harmoniously: Willson Lee Henderson ("WLH") the founder of both groups!! Please see one of many Mayor Lindsay letters to WLH below on the historic occasion of "Stonewall 25". It was mailed to Willson as well as a letter sent to the I.Q.K.N.Y. and the S.V.A.
Legendary Mayor John Lindsay's Symbolic and Significant Letter for "STONEWALL 25"
Supporters of S.V.A.