The Gay Activists Alliance was founded in New York City in December 1969 after the Stonewall riots, by dissident members of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) including Brenda Howard, Altan Zimbabwe and Christopher Charles who wanted to form a non-violent "single issue, politically neutral, militant organization" whose goal was to "secure basic human rights, dignity and freedom for all gay people."

The Gay Activists Alliance was most active from 1970 to 1974. They published the Gay Activist newspaper until 1980. Their New York City headquarters (the Firehouse on Wooster Street in Greenwich Village) was burned down by arsonists in 1974. GAA eventually dissolved in October 1981.

GAA members performed zaps -- public peaceful confrontations with officials to draw media attention. Their first president was Jim Owles.

The symbol of the Gay Activists Alliance was the lower case Greek letter lambda (λ) taken from physics where it represents "a complete exchange of energy." Other definitions of the symbolism of the lambda include balance or unity. A battle flag with the lamda was carried by the fierce Greek fighters, the Sacred Band of Thebes who marched into battle with their young male lovers.

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