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Stan Tillotson
(1948 - living) U.S.A.

Stan Tillotson

Gay activist

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Stan TillotsonWhile he was at high school, Stan Tillotson read in the Village Voice that a group of college students at Columbia founded the Student Homophile League (SHL) to work for gay rights. Assuming that there would be a similar group at MIT by the time he graduated from high school. When he arrived He was disappointed that in all of Boston, the "Athens of America", home to MIT and other sundry centers of learning and culture there were no openly gay groups.

By 1969 Stan had a circle of gay friends, but had no interest in going to bars. The only other gay resource in the area was the Homophile Union of Boston, but they were an invitation-only society. Frustrated with the lack of safe places for young gay people to meet, in May 1969, Stan placed an announcement. He was pleasantly surprised when his notice was published; he had expected it to be rejected.

Even with an influx of phone calls, people were cautious and nervous. His roommate, not wanting to be associated with the group, asked for a separate phone line. Others were hesitant to leave their name, and still others who called were afraid to be associated with homosexuals.

At the first meeting, there were two graduate students from Harvard, one student at BU, and several students from MIT, but to form a student group at MIT, Stan needed five MIT undergraduate signatures. However he could not convince five gay undergrads to sign the charter.

His goals for the group were threefold: to have a dance, to have a table at the freshman midway, and to have a picture in the MIT Yearbook. So we owe the formation of the SHL and its future incarnations to the courage of one gay man, and the signatures of four straight men.

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Source: http://alumweb.mit.edu/groups/bgala/JanNewsletter.pdf

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