Rich Wandel

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center

In 1972, Rich was the second president of the Gay Activists Alliance. He later held office in the GAA, Brooklyn and the New York Mattachine Society in the mid-70s. He has fought for gay rights for the better part of 50 years. He is a professional historian and archivist, and founded of the Archives at the LGBT Community Center in NYC. His photographs are renowned and have been used in many publications and documentaries. Wandel used cameras to capture the mood and progress of the gay movement, and tells us many stories through his lens.  

ACT UP by Rich WandelThe Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center

The Protests

Wandel covered many of the marches and protests of the gay struggle, peace movements, and other politically driven gatherings. He showed the fight and determination that was at the core of the struggle to gain equality, change laws, and improve the lives of many people. 

Crowds gathered at the March on Albany, 1971 (1971-03-14) by Richard C. WandelThe Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center

"Gay Liberation Now!" Unity and diversity shown at the march on the State Capital.

Gay Activists Alliance at the 1971 Gay Pride March, 1971 (1971-06-27) by Richard C. WandelThe Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center

Pride in the face of prejudice, 1971

March on Albany, 1971 (1971-03-14) by Richard C. WandelThe Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center

"LOVE IS A MANY SPLENDID THING!"

Gay Activists Alliance Demonstration at Suffolk County Police Headquarters, Haupauge, NY, 1971 (1971-08-22) by Richard C. WandelThe Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center

The Passion

Many of Wandel's images also capture and share the pain of the struggle. They show some the confrontations and clashes with police, the arrests, the anger and abuse of the movement. 

Gay Activists Alliance Protest of City Councilman Saul Sharison, 1971, Richard C. Wandel, 1971-10-02, From the collection of: The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center
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Gay Activists Alliance Protest City Councilmember, 1971, Richard C. Wandel, 1971-06-25, From the collection of: The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center
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"We shall not be moved."

Gay Activists Alliance Protest of New York City Board of Examiners, 1971 (1971-04-13) by Richard C. WandelThe Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center

"You will hear me!"

Police Altercation at Long Island Gay Activists Alliance Demonstration, 1971, Richard C. Wandel, 1971-08-22, From the collection of: The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center
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Gay Activists Alliance Demonstration at City Hall, 1971 (1971-06-25) by Richard C. WandelThe Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center

Richard Wandel and Hernan Figueroa, 1971 (1971-07) by Richard C. WandelThe Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center

The People

Like with his pictures chronicling the protests, parades and passion, Wandel also recorded the intimacy, the humanity, and the ordinary life that existed in and around the movement. He showed that gay people were trying to live their daily lives the best way they could, while facing incredible bigotry and discrimination. 

Gay Activists Alliance Street Fair on Wooster Street, 1971, Richard C. Wandel, 1971-06-26, From the collection of: The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center
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"Gay balloons 25 cents."

Christopher Street Liberation Day March, 1971, Richard C. Wandel, 1971-06-06, From the collection of: The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center
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"Freedom."

Gay Activists Alliance Voter Registration at Jacob Riis Park, 1971 (1971-08) by Richard C. WandelThe Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center

Voting and political organizing were integral in forcing those in charge to take gay rights seriously. Voting is power and there is strength in unifying voters.

Gay Pride March, 1971 (1971-06-27) by Richard C. WandelThe Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center

Rich

There are a few images of Rich that depict that he was a man who understood the importance of the things happening around him. He used his camera to bear witness and we are forever grateful. 

Photo portrait of Hernan Figueroa, Richard Wandel and a cat, 1971, Richard C. Wandel, 1971, From the collection of: The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center
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Just two guys and a cat.

Hernan Figueroa and Richard Wandel at Gay Activists Alliance Firehouse, 1971 (1971-12) by Richard C. WandelThe Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center

Rich and Hernan

Credits: Story

Curated by Yasmin E. Davidson

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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