Maine Lesbian/Gay Political Alliance Pin, Portland, ca. 1994
Item 108741 info
Maine Historical Society
Hate has real and deadly consequences. Charlie Howard was attacked and murdered in Bangor in 1984, simply because he was gay. Howard had a life and a future, both taken from him because of hatred for his identity.
EqualityMaine, first known as the Maine Lesbian/Gay Political Alliance (MLGPA), was founded in response to Charlie Howard's death.
This sign was carried in the Portland Pride parade on June 20, 2009 after Governor Baldacci signed the marriage equality law in Maine the month before. But in November, a “people’s veto” repealed the marriage law at referendum.
In 2012, advocates used a citizen initiative process to place a marriage law before voters, who this time approved of the measure allowing same-sex couples to marry.
The Underground Nightclub located on Spring Street in Portland was a safe place for LGBTQ+ people to socialize starting in the 1980s—the decade when Charlie Howard, a gay man living in Bangor, was thrown off a bridge and killed by three teens.
The Underground later became Styxx, a popular dance club. Styxx closed in 2016, in part due to dating apps, but also changing attitudes that made the city’s nightlife more welcoming and comfortable to LGBTQ+ people.
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