The site of a monumental event in the LGBTQ community’s fight against anti-gay discrimination was honored last week with a historic plaque. The Village Preservation on Thursday unveiled the plaque at 159 West 10th Street, also known as Julius’ Bar. The bar was the site of the first “Sip-In,” an act of defiance in which members of gay rights groups entered the bar and asked to be served drinks while announcing they were homosexuals, going against the discriminatory regulations of the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) which at the time prohibited bars from serving gays or lesbians.
The Village Preservation was joined by the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, Broadway star John Cameron Mitchell, and LGBTQ activist and “Sip-In” participant Randy Wicker.
Taking place on April 21, 1966, the first “Sip-In” was led by members of the Mattachine Society, a gay rights group. Members of Mattachine entered a multitude of bars accompanied by reporters to document the discrimination they would face. The members entered Julius’ Bar where they were joined by Wicker and asked the bartender to serve them drinks while announcing they were homosexuals, after which the bartender refused.