The North American Conference of Homophile Organizations

Spark of Protest

Despite the intensity of the debates in Kansas City, nearly every delegate agreed that the homophile movement needed a national presence. Six months after the meeting in Kansas City, delegates gathered in San Francisco and held the first North American Conference of Homophile Organizations—or NACHO (pronounced Nay-Ko). The organization’s name as a collection of homophile organizations reveals the degree to which members were reluctant to lose their organizational independence. Lesbians in attendance were particularly concerned that their issues would not be fully considered by male-dominated leadership. In addition, copious amounts of conference time was spent on structural details like membership, credentialing, and voting rights. Even still, conference-goers agreed to continue to meet on an annual basis, yielding a permanent outcome from the first planning meeting in Kansas City.

The NACHO Meetings

Activist Frank Kameny, surrounded by other protesters, smiles while holding a sign that reads "Gay is Good."
Activist Frank Kameny, who introduced the slogan “Gay is Good” that NACHO adopted during the Chicago meeting, marches with members of the Mattachine Society of Washington in 1970.
Courtesy: New York Public Library

Perhaps the greatest contribution of the NACHO gatherings came from the 1968 Chicago conference. There members agreed on a slogan, introduced by legendary Mattachine Society activist Frank Kameny: “Gay is Good,” modeled on the “Black is Beautiful” mantra that was in vogue at the time. More importantly, NACHO members adopted a five-point “Homosexual Bill of Rights.”


Homosexual Bill of Rights
Adopted at the 1968 Chicago NACHO meeting

1. Private consensual sex between persons over the age of consent shall not be an offense.
2. Solicitation for any sexual acts shall not be an offense except upon the filing of a complaint by the aggrieved party, not a police officer or agent.
3. A person’s sexual orientation or practice shall not be a factor in the granting or renewing of federal security clearances or visas, or in the granting of citizenship.
4. Service in and discharge from the Armed Forces and eligibility for veteran’s benefits shall be without reference to homosexuality.
5. A person’s sexual orientation or practice shall not affect his eligibility for employment with federal, state, or local governments, or private employers.