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The LGBTQ community has a long and impressive history of uniting together against injustices. This marginalized demographic, like many others, have found that organizing around political issues is a successful and impactful way to force change and awareness. The first homosexual rights organization in 1950 was created, The Mattachine Society, once the founder Henry Hays used the concept that labor organizing movements created, movements based off of identity and group status. The Mattachine Society was political in the very sense that it was as an organization that “connected homosexuals and slowly erased the social isolation of being homosexual”, and it “began with an ideology of education and self-help to aid individuals in coping with same-sex desire in a homophobic society.”.This political act of building community and standing up against discrimination is crucial and sets the foundation for future LGBTQ organizations. A decade later, as the freedom of LGBTQ people became more of a political stance, Carl Whitman wrote the Gay Manifesto demanding that queer people be freely themselves, and do so loudly and boldly. This coming out a directive from the Gay Liberation Movement brought freedom, but also physical resistance and violence towards the LGBTQ, as was seen with the incident at the Stonewall. The political organizing continued within the LGBTQ community with the king of the Castro, Harvey Milk. He was a radical gay visionary of his time, who simply wanted to fill his city with not only hope but meaningful change that would benefit all people. He did this by becoming an elected official to make changes from inside the system, all while knowing the changes he was seeking could result in his assassination.
The political activism taking place across the country in the 1970s and 80s also found its way to the Central Coast. The Bay Area Municipal Elections Committee (BAYMEC) is an organization founded in 1984 on the shoulders of all of the political organizations before it. Their purpose was to serve the LGBTQ community of the Santa Clara, San Mateo, and Monterey Counties. BAYMEC’s main focus has always been political; they lobby for elected officials on behalf of the LGBTQ community, as well as fund and endorse candidates whose positions and stance align with positive change and safety for the community . This organization has held an important role in moving the LGBTQ community of the Bay Area in a positive direction. Archives of LGBTQ newspapers from the 1980s to the early 2000s, like The Paper and Demeter, have preserved the way BAYMEC would spread the word. In a June 1994 issue of The Paper, they go into a bit of detail about the organization's goals and duties which are said to include: fighting for civil rights, striving to end discrimination against lesbians and gays, educate public officials about their community, elect gays and lesbians to public office, and provide a voice for gays and lesbians in local political office . Active members in the local chapter of the organization, like Matt Friday and Bruce Carlson's, kept a paper trail of newsletters and meeting minutes detailing the work BAYMEC did. Archives of said documents show the efforts of the organization to rally and campaign against certain Props and Initiatives—like the Knight Initiative—that were threatening the community .
Local activists, Matt Friday and Bruce Carlson, became heavily involved within the LGBTQ community in the Monterey County and continuously fought for political and social recognition. Originally born in Iowa, Friday moved to the Monterey area in 1967. He was a co-founder of several environmental projects, a board member for the Monterey County AIDS Project (MCAP). Friday was committed to fighting against human rights issues such as hate crimes and racism. Though this work, he became invested in politics. Friday served as Chair of the 27th Assembly District and co-President of the Bay Area Municipal Elections Committee (BAYMEC) . In the year 1986, Carlson came to the Monterey area and some years after, became active within the gay community. He became a founding board member of the Monterey County Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), a founding member of the Monterey County Coalition for Fairness and a founding board member of the Monterey County Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Task Force. He was also the co-director of Monterey’s first Gay Pride Parade in 1992 and was a board member for the Bay Area Municipal Elections Committee in Monterey County (BAYMEC) . The two met in 1986, both volunteered in community-based organizations, participated in democratic politics and in time, helped build the fastest growing and evolving framework that included other successful activists . The activist work that Friday and Carlson participated in was only a snapshot of the social justice work being done in the Monterey County.
ADD IMAGE CREDITS
 Michael Bronski,A Queer History of the United States (Boston: Beacon Press, 2011):94-95.
 Kent W. Peacock, "Race, the Homosexual, and the Mattachine Society of Washington, 1961–1970." Journal of the History of Sexuality 25, no. 2 (2016): 267-96.
 Carl Wittman, A Gay Manifesto http://library.gayhomeland.org/0006/EN/A_Gay_Manifesto.htm (accessed May 10, 2019)
 David Carter,Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution. New York: Macmillan, 2004.
 RandomnessMaster. "The Last Words of Harvey Milk." YouTube. June 15, 2012. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVb9nt8huMY. (accessed May 10, 2019) ]
 BAYMEC Letter Correspondence, 2002, BOX, FOLDER, Matt Friday and Bruce Carlson Papers
 The Paper, June 1994, Matt Friday and Bruce Carlson Papers.
 BAYMEC Perspective, 2004, BOX, FOLDER, Matt Friday and Bruce Carlson Papers.
 Guthrie, Robin, "Finding Aid to Matt Friday and Bruce Carlson Papers" (2017), 4, https://digitalcommons.csumb.edu/findingaids/4 (accessed May 10, 2019)
 Gary Karnes, Karen Araujo, and Juan Martinez, Voices of Change: The People's Oral History Project: Interviews with Monterey County Activists and Organizers 1934-2015 Pacific Grove, CA: Park Place Publications, 2015.