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L.A. Police Chief Turns Down 'Gay Pride' Invite in 1975 Letter, Says He'd Gladly Celebrate 'Gay Conversion Week'


Saw this letter floating around on social media over the weekend. A lot has changed in 38 years. Though not everywhere.

Writes Police Chief E.M. Davis:

As you no doubt expected, I am declining your invitation to participate in the celebration of "GAY PRIDE WEEK." While I support your organization's constitutional right to express your feelings on the subject of homosexuality, I am obviously not in sympathy with your views on the subject. I would much rather celebrate "GAY CONVERSION WEEK" which I will gladly sponsor when the medical practitioners in this country find a way to convert gays to heterosexuals."

(via david mixner)

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  1. I'm sure he was first in line hosing down African Americans too.

    Posted by: Michael Heynz | Mar 4, 2013 11:27:17 AM

  2. It might be a fake.

    Posted by: Huxtabull | Mar 4, 2013 11:40:15 AM

  3. this was the same dude who busted up a fundraising 'slave auction' in LA, citing anti-slavery statutes. i'm glad he's dead.

    Posted by: troybob | Mar 4, 2013 11:51:00 AM

  4. Yes, he made it a point to make gay people's lives miserable during his tenure as LAPD chief. At least he's dead now.

    Posted by: Rich F. | Mar 4, 2013 11:55:17 AM

  5. The truth is the LAPD is still homophobic they just have to hide it, some of the time. Most police are anti-gay gay, right wing republicans, who hate anything not like them.

    Posted by: Chris | Mar 4, 2013 11:55:25 AM

  6. those of us that grew up and came out the 70s in southern california remember ed davis. he was a bizarre police chief, so much so, that he kept the local so. cal media always waiting for the next 'quotations from chief ed'. his successors weren't much better, either. he wrecked a lot of lives.

    Posted by: oc | Mar 4, 2013 12:06:41 PM

  7. I came to Los Angeles when Ed Davis was chief. He's the guy who wanted to take criminals onto the tarmac at LAX and shoot them (no, really!). He also petitioned the City for a private submarine to patrol the Harbors. My first job in LA was for a guy who was on the Board of the ACLU and he would document the beatings of gays on McCadden and Selma in Hollywood by the LAPD. My boss claimed he was on the hit list of Ed Davis' department. Davis was a major skank; however, as State Senator, he did advocate for a gay rights protection bill.

    Posted by: woodroad34 | Mar 4, 2013 12:18:44 PM

  8. The good thing is, a big city sherriff would never dare write this letter today. Progress has been incredible in 38 years.

    Posted by: candideinnc | Mar 4, 2013 12:29:41 PM

  9. Yikes. Well, at least he was honest and to the point.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Mar 4, 2013 12:45:19 PM

  10. Would be curious to know where he is know and whether or not his views have changed. Is the letter shocking? Yes. Was it uncommon for it's time, probably not.

    Posted by: Daryl | Mar 4, 2013 12:56:41 PM

  11. Homophobia in the LAPD was one of the reasons the City of West Hollywood was founded in the first place.

    Posted by: Eric | Mar 4, 2013 1:44:29 PM

  12. Ed Davis did improve after he was chief of police as a state senator.

    Posted by: Matt Munson | Mar 4, 2013 1:46:41 PM

  13. I agree it might be a fake. Why is it not tri-folded like a business letter would be sent? And, why so wrinkly?

    Posted by: Ed | Mar 4, 2013 1:55:13 PM

  14. I think it is real because of the type face. It looks a lot like my college admission letter from around the same time.

    Davis was a typical Republican....what more needs to be said?

    Posted by: thepolarbeast | Mar 4, 2013 2:14:28 PM

  15. Chris -

    You said : Most (LA) police are anti-gay gay, right wing republicans...

    I find that difficult to believe. In 2006 the LA Time wrote:

    "Today, as that recent roll call suggests, the 9,314-officer LAPD is a different place. Like the city, it is less than half white; one in five officers is a woman, and Hispanics make up roughly a third of the department, with their representation even greater in the lower ranks, reflecting more recent hiring."

    The Christian Science Monitor in 2012 wrote:

    "And the changing demographics of the LAPD – 37 percent white, compared with 59 percent in 1992 – has changed the character of the force, many say. "

    So are you saying that the LAPD is staffed by black and Latino right wing Republicans?

    Posted by: David Hearne | Mar 4, 2013 2:25:38 PM

  16. Were any of you chemically-castrated by your families in an attempt to curb your homosexual tendencies? No? Just me?

    Posted by: David Hearne | Mar 4, 2013 2:34:34 PM

  17. That's true. It's not folded.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Mar 4, 2013 4:13:49 PM

  18. My dad was killed by blacks who broke his bum with their giant genitalia.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Mar 4, 2013 4:23:43 PM

  19. Great job!!!!!! Let's see what other anti-gay documents you can find from the 1970s! Better yet: let's see what you can dig up from the 1960s or 1950s!!!!!

    Posted by: James | Mar 4, 2013 9:32:35 PM

  20. OF COURSE this matters. Your past should indeed be brought up when you're representing the SAFETY and treatment of citizens.

    You homophobes just feel entitled to your homophobia!

    Posted by: Okie Lion | Mar 4, 2013 9:33:45 PM

  21. Sure hope Los Angeles LGBT groups will hold him accountable for this and require he respond to this, and not just sweep it under the rug.

    Posted by: Los Angelino | Mar 4, 2013 9:34:18 PM

  22. If he made these bigoted comments about any other demographic, he certainly would have had to answer for it. It's just, some people think homophobia is an acceptable form of prejudice. It's not. And should be swiftly addressed. Reagrdless of when or where. You have a position that represents the people. He should certainly be held accountable to atleast addressed these comments.

    Posted by: Collin | Mar 4, 2013 9:35:31 PM

  23. Law enforcement should most definitely be held to higher standards, especially a chief. They often mistreat minorities, including gays, and racial minorities, and telling them that is NOT okay is very important because we've seen it far too much in Los Angeles with police mistreating ethnic minorities and gays.

    Posted by: West LA Dave | Mar 4, 2013 9:37:12 PM

  24. @ David Hearne
    LAPD has in the past targetted black, latino and gay men. So stop acting surprised by that. We know you're a conservative.

    Posted by: West LA Dave | Mar 4, 2013 9:38:20 PM

  25. Is this supposed to be shocking? This was the attitude of just about every Police Chief in the U.S. 38years ago. I remember in Philly in the 70's, under the leadership of the Fascist Chief Frank Rizzo, the cops would routinely come into gay bars to intimidate the patrons. The way to avoid the intimidation was for the bar owners to pay the cops to stay out.

    Posted by: andrew | Mar 4, 2013 11:27:34 PM

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