LONG BEACH – Both of them fought for the gay community – He confronted police harassment in his gay bar, while she defended gay men who had been discriminated against in the criminal justice system.
Lee Glaze and Stephanie Loftin were among four LGBTQ community leaders who had their names added in May to the Memorial Wall in Equality Plaza at Harvey Milk Park. The plaza was created to recognize local LGBTQ community leaders who have battled discrimination and advocated for equal rights and historic preservation.
Glaze stood up for equality when, in 1968, he lead a nonviolent rebellion against police harassment after two gay men were arrested by Los Angeles vice officers at his Wilmington gay bar The Patch. Their crime? The two men were friends and one of the men gave the other one a friendly pat on the butt.
Glaze’s actions were historic because they took place 10 months before the Stonewall Inn riots, a series of violent demonstrations by gay people and drag queens against a New York City police raid. Stonewall was seen by many to be the starting point for the fight for gay rights in the United States. Glaze died in 2013. He was 75.
Loftin is a former president of the Long Beach Lambda Democratic club, a founding member of the Long Beach Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and the first openly lesbian president of the Women’s Lawyers of Long Beach. As an attorney, Loftin defends gay men against lewd conduct arrests by the Long Beach Police Department. In late April, Loftin’s client had his lewd conduct case thrown out by a Superior Court judge, who said the arrest was based on discriminatory enforcement and prosecution. It was the first time in Long Beach court history that a judge dismissed a lewd conduct case for this reason. Loftin, however, has been fighting lewd conduct arrests about 25 years.
Jim Deaton and Marsha Naify also were inducted to Harvey Milk Park.
Deaton is a former board member and president of the Teacher’s Association of Long Beach and former board member of the Long Beach Lambda Democratic Club. He also was a member of the Long Beach Chapter of PFLAG, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.
Naify is a past president of the Long Beach Lambda Democratic Club and the Long Beach Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and a cochair of the Long Beach LGBT History Project.
Honorees are selected by the Harvey Milk Park Committee. Nominees, living or deceased, must identify as a member of the LGBTQ community, and have exceptional or outstanding contribution or service to the greater Long Beach area LGBTQ community.