Barbara Gittings Helps Lead First 'Annual Reminder' Protests
Gitings was an activist in both the pre-Stonewall homophile movement of the 50s and 60s and the post-Stonewall gay liberation movement. She organized the New York Chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis and, in 1965 – along with Frank Kameny – Gittings was instrumental in leading the “Annual Reminder” pickets, which were some of the very first pro-LGBTQ+ protests visible to the American public.
One cornerstone of her work included pressuring the American Psychiatric Association to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder. For three consecutive years beginning in 1970, Gittings organized protests, stormed into, and participated in the Association’s annual meeting. In 1972, Gittings organized a panel on homosexuality along with an anonymous psychiatrist who was masked and used a voice modulator. Finally in 1973, the Association announced its removal of the classification and invited Gittings to the meeting.