The Advocate has posted an article about what it calls the 'worst mass killing of LGBT people in US history':
|Patrons of the UpStairs Lounge|
There are a number of upsetting aspects to this story:
- Because this happened in a 'queer bar', some of the contemporary reporting was quite hateful - and there was the 'joke' told by a local radio jockey: “What will they bury the ashes of queers in? Fruit jars.”
- Some of the victims had children who waited decades before learning how and why one of their parents died.
- Four bodies were never identified, no one ever came forward to claim them. They were buried in a pauper's grave.
- It seems highly likely that the arsonist was a hustler who had been thrown out of the bar shortly before the fire started for aggressive and drunken behaviour. He may or may not have been gay himself, but was well known to the patrons of the bar.
- Unlike with other, similar events of the time, the local authorities made no attempt to mark the tragedy.
This link is to an online exhibit which "weaves artifacts from the time into a vivid historical account of this tragedy and memorializes those who perished":