How a Queer Liberation Collective has Stayed Radical for Almost 40 Years
On May 22, some 80 people filed into a press event for the largest gay culture event in the world, the Frameline Film Festival, held every June in San Francisco. And like every year since 2007, there were queer protesters to meet them.
The group Lesbians and Gays Against Intervention, or LAGAI, and its offshoot Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism, or QUIT!, have protested the festival for the past decade, consistent with anti-oppression politics that began when the United States started meddling in Latin America in the late 1970s.
“We know our history didn’t start with ourselves,” said Daniel Ward, a longtime member of LAGAI. Probably the longest-running anti-hierarchical queer organization in the United States, LAGAI is a tight circle of friends and comrades originally formed in response to the U.S. invasion of El Salvador. Since then, as a 1987 mission statement reads, the group has centered issues as diverse but as inextricably linked as HIV support services, universal healthcare, self-determination for youth, open borders, sexism and poverty.