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Mattachine Society

The Mattachine Society of New York, Inc. was an early gay rights organization. It was founded in the City of New York in 1955 by Harry Hay, but was not incorporated until 1961. Several other related organizations were formed shortly afterward in Boston, Chicago, Denver, the District of Columbia, and Philadelphia.

It was named after Mattacino[?] (or the Anglicized Mattachino), a character in (Venetian?) Italian theater. Mattacino was a kind of court jester, who would speak the truth to the King when nobody else would.

Mattachine's goal was to provide a variety of services to the gay community, including referral services for legal and other professionals, and counselling. They also lobbied for the repeal of sodomy laws and other laws gay people considered discriminatory.

It was associated with other groups in ECHO (East Coast Homophile Organizations[?]).

During the 1960s, Mattachine was one of the foremost gay rights groups in the United States. Following the Stonewall riots of 1969, it became increasingly to be seen as too stodgy and traditional, and not willing enough to be confrontational. It lost support, and fell prey to infighting. Eventually it closed due to impending bankruptcy, and was disbanded in January of 1987.



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