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Tenderloin Museum turns 2 with history-themed shows

The Tenderloin Museum celebrated its second anniversary Saturday with a community day of free activities including a peek at a new play about the neighborhood’s pivotal 1966 event in the fight for gay rights.

“The history in this neighborhood is unbelievable. Very few people know about it,” said playwright Mark Nassar, as he introduced the first reading of “The Compton’s Cafeteria Riot.”

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The Tenderloin Museum Re-Creates The Compton’s Cafeteria Riot

It began with a hot cup of coffee.

On a warm night in August 1966, a group of transgender women were hanging out at the 101 Taylor St. location of Gene Compton’s Cafeteria. Staff called the cops. An officer moved to arrest one woman for the then-crime of cross-dressing.

She threw coffee in his face. In the resulting commotion, the windows were smashed. Although the press didn’t cover it at the time, people made a similar show of force the next evening. Owing to organizing work by nearby Glide Memorial Church and the gay-youth organization Vanguard, what might have been yet another desultory, late-night raid against trans people in the Tenderloin became a focal point of resistance against state violence.

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