GAY LIBERATION FRONT members Jim Owles, Marty Robinson, and about twelve people met in Arthur Bell’s Manhattan apartment and founded THE GAY ACTIVISTS ALLIANCE (GAA). Author Arthur Evans wrote the group’s statement of purpose and much of its constitution. Acting on the principle that the personal is the political, GAA held homophobes who were in positions of authority personally accountable for the consequences of their public policies.
Accordingly, Robinson, Evans, and Owles developed the tactic of “zaps.” These were militant (but non-violent) face-to-face confrontations with outspoken homophobes in government, business, and the media. Evans was often arrested in such actions, participating in disruptions of local business offices, political headquarters, local TV shows, and the Metropolitan Opera.
In effect, GAA created a new model of gay activism, highly theatrical while also eminently practical and focused. It forced the media and the political establishment to take Gay concerns seriously as a struggle for justice. Previously the media treated Gay life as a peripheral freak show. The new Gay activism inspired Gay people to act unapologetically from a position of Gay Pride. This new model inspired other Gay groups across the county, eventually triggering revolutionary improvements in Gay life that continue to this day.
In November 1970, Robinson and Evans, along with Dick Leitsch of the Mattachine Society, appeared on the Dick Cavette Show. They were among the first openly Gay activists to be prominently featured as guests on a national TV program.