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Biltmore Hotel

1923 1972
506 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90071

The men’s bar…had been a cruising spot even before the war, uniformed soldiers would be “packed three-deep” (Gay LA).

During the 1940s and 50s, the Biltmore’s Grand Avenue Bar served a rendezvous point for Los Angeles’ gay community. Located near "The Run,” a strip of bars, burlesque theaters, tattoo parlors and dance halls centered around Pershing Square, the bar provided a fun and glamorous gathering spot for Los Angeles’ vibrant and active LGBTQ community (sailors, uniformed soldiers, and local residents alike).

On October 17, 1970, the Biltmore hosted the Second Annual Behavioral Modification Conference. The audience was watching a film by Dr. M. Phillip Feldman, which was making the case for electroshock therapy as the “cure” for homosexuality. The meeting was interrupted by men and women from the LA chapter of the Gay Liberation Front, who stormed the stage and stopped the screening. The Biltmore Invasion, as it became known, effectively forced one of the first dialogues between mental health professionals and the gay community. Within two years of that incident, “homosexuality” was removed as a mental disorder after decades of stigma and official misclassification.

Carolyn Weathers was among the 25 or so from the GLF who organized the invasion.

The hotel is still open and operating, but no longer of specific interest to the LGBTQ community.

Attr — Faderman, Lillian and Stuart Timmons, Gay L.A. pp. 73; Clendinan, Dudley, Out For Good: The Struggle to Build a Gay Rights Movement in America pp.202
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