File:Purple hand.svg

Purple hand from the 1970s.

On Halloween night (31 October), 1969, sixty members of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) and the Society for Individual Rights (SIR) staged a protest at San Francisco's Examiner in response to another in a series of news articles disparaging LGBT people in San Francisco's gay bars and clubs.[1][2] The "peaceful protest" against the "homophobic editorial policies" of the San Francisco Examiner turned "tumultuous" and was called "Friday of the Purple Hand" and "Bloody Friday of the Purple Hand".[3][4][5][6][2] Examiner employees "dumped a bag of printers' ink from the third story window of the newspaper building onto the crowd".[2][4] Some reports were that it was a barrel of ink poured from the roof of the building.[7] The protestors "used the ink to scrawl "Gay Power" and other slogans on the building walls" and stamp purple hand prints "throughout downtown San Francisco" resulting in "one of the most visible demonstrations of gay power".[2][4][6]

At that point, the tactical squad arrived -- not to get the employees who dumped the ink, but to arrest the demonstrators who were the victims. The police could have surround the Examiner building...but, no, they went after the gays...Somebody could have been hurt if that ink had gotten into their eyes, but the police came racing in with their clubs swinging, knocking people to the ground. it was unbelievable.
-- Larry LittleJohn, then president of SIR[2]

The accounts of police brutality include women being thrown to the ground and protester's teeth being knocked out.[2][8]

Inspired by "Black Hand" (La Mano Nera in Italian) extortion methods of Camorra gangsters and the Mafia,[9] some activists attempted to institute "purple hand" as a gay and lesbian symbol as a warning to stop anti-gay attacks, with little success. In Turkey, the LGBT rights organization Purple Hand Eskişehir LGBT Formation (MorEl Eskişehir LGBTT Oluşumu), also bears the name of this symbol.[10]

See also: Gay Mafia
  1. Gould, Robert E. (24 February, 1974). What We Don't Know About Homosexuality. New York Times Magazine. Retrieved on 2008-01-01.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Alwood, Edward (1996). Straight News: Gays, Lesbians, and the News Media. Columbia University; ISBN 0231084366. Retrieved on 2008-01-01.
  3. Bell, Aurthur (28 March, 1974). Has The Gay Movement Gone Establishment?. Village Voice. Retrieved on 2008-01-01.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Van Buskirk, Jim (2004). Gay Media Comes of Age. Bay Area Reporter. Retrieved on 2008-01-01.
  5. Friday of the Purple Hand. The San Francisco Free Press (November 15-30, 1969). Retrieved on 2008-01-01. courtesy the Gay Lesbian Historical Society.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Gay Power" Politics. GLBTQ, inc. (30 March 2006). Retrieved on 2008-01-01.
  7. Montanarelli, Lisa; Ann Harrison (2005). Strange But True San Francisco: Tales of the City by the Bay. Globe Pequot; ISBN 076273681X. Retrieved on 2008-01-01.
  8. Newspaper Series Surprises Activists. The Advocate (24 April, 1974). Retrieved on 2008-01-01.
  9. Jay Robert Nash, World Encyclopedia of Organized Crime, Da Capo Press, 1993. ISBN 0306805359
  10. MorEl Eskişehir LGBTT Oluşumu
  11. Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.