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Gay Ann Arbor Purges

  • Author(s): Tsang, Daniel C
  • et al.

In any history of Gay Americans, Ann Arbor deserves a position. Not for passing, in 1972, what was at that time the most comprehensive gay rights bill (at least on paper). No, for something more infamous than that. Ann Arbor will become remembered as one place where town and gown conspired to conduct a ferociouswitchhunt against homosexuals, not just once, but a number of times.

Much of what happened to homosexuals here remains to be told, but documentation is surfacing now for the witchhunts that occured in the late 1950's and early 1960's.    

During that period Ann Arbor police apparently conducted biennual raids on campus restrooms at the University of Michigan, accompanied by covert surveillance. Police officers were stationed in men's johns on central campus to spy on unsuspecting men. As a resultdozens of homosexuals were arrested, and subsequently convicted, either of "gross indecency" or "attempted indecency",both felonies under state law.

This is the first of two articles.

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