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Compton’s Cafeteria Riot

Andre Perez


San Francisco 1966: Transwomen and drag queens working in the Tenderloin district of San Fransisco often took refuge in Gene Compton’s, an after-hours cafeteria. They would buy coffee and stay for hours, temporarily escaping the troubles of the street. The owner began harassing them with discriminatory policies, so the queens formed an organization they named Vanguard to fight for their rights to use Compton’s. On a hot summer evening after an unsuccessful picket of the cafeteria, the owner called the police to evict the queens—they fought back, leading to a street riot.

Printed at the worker-owned Stumptown Printers, Portland, OR.

This is #121 in the Celebrate People’s History Poster Series.

André Perez is a Latinx transgender filmmaker, educator, and community organizer. From founding the Transgender Oral History Project to directing America in Transition, his work centers collaborative storytelling with people of color.