What's Changed in 43 Years?

Complacency and Change

By 1970, the city no longer harassed gay bars regularly or tried to close all of them. This led to complacency about the fight for equal rights. In 1992, the very anti-gay Oregon Measure 9 catalyzed the LGBT movement. George adds, "our final win in the fight against Measure 9 was a major turning point." Despite this progress, there was no statewide legislation banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity until 2007.

Guest thumbnail

As Told By...

George Nicola

Advocate for LGBT Civil Rights, volunteer for GLAPN

Website: Queer Histories (includes writings by George Nicola)

George T. Nicola came out through the Portland Gay Liberation Front, Oregon’s first gay political organization, in 1970. In 1973, he wrote and lobbied for the first Oregon bill that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation. The bill failed House passage by just two votes short of a majority. But the process created numerous straight allies, many of whom were increasingly influential supporters for decades to come. Within the gay community, the bill helped build a sense of purpose and identity instrumental in the evolution of what became today’s large Oregon LGBT movement. In the early days of the movement, George also wrote articles for local gay newspapers. He appeared on quite a few local radio and television talk and news shows, and convinced other gay men and lesbians to do the same. In the past few years, George has spent considerable time documenting Oregon LGBT history through the Gay & Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest (GLAPN). He also researches and publicizes information on current LGBT issues. George is active with a number of LGBT groups, where he tries to promote inclusion of all segments of the community.