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A Glimpse of Gay Pride in the 1950s

By Jase Peeples

ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the University of Southern California Libraries, the largest repository of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer materials in the world, shared a heartwarming couple of photos with Time of two gay men showing affection in a photo booth during the early 1950s in honor of LGBT Pride month.

While public displays of affection by same-sex couples are commonplace today, the fact that this picture was taken in 1953 – a time when LGBT people could be arrested for simply holding hands with someone of the same sex – makes it a powerful and beautiful image demonstrating the spirit of LGBT Pride.

“The picture was once owned by the young man on the right-hand side of the image above, Joseph John Bertrund Belanger,” Kyle Morgan, an archivist at the ONE Archives, explains on Time. “Belanger, for most of his life, was a devoted collector of LGBT history. Born in Edmonton, Canada, in 1925, he served in the Royal Canadian Air Force and was a member of the Mattachine Society – an early instance of what today would be called an LGBT organization — in the early 1950s. It is thanks to his passion and foresight that the image survives today.”

Take a look at the two images below of the young men freely showing their affection for one another in the privacy of a photo booth at the 1953 PGE exhibition at Hastings Park in Vancouver, Canada.

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