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Los Angeles Takes Down Traffic Signs That Were Used to “Target and Persecute” the Gay Community


Last week, the last traffic signs were taken down in a Los Angeles neighborhood to erase its anti-gay history.

The signs that say “Do not cruise.” Don’t make U-turns. “Midnight to 6 a.m.” was put up around the Silver Lake area in 1997 to stop gay men from hanging out on the streets to hook up, according to The Los Angeles Times.

The signs were taken down this week, just in time for Pride month.

“Los Angeles has a rich history of welcoming the LGBTQ+ community, but there have also been real and present homophobia — which at times has been inscribed into the city’s physical spaces, as with these no-U-turn signs,” Nithya Raman said in a press release.

When the 1990s were over, gay men sometimes used written guidebooks to find places in public where they could find love, sex, and friends without coming out. Griffith Park Boulevard in Silver Lake and West Hollywood were both on the list.

One of the first protests in the U.S. against police brutality against LGBT people, which happened before the Stonewall riots in New York City, was called “Black Cat.” “This type of homophobia persisted in Silver Lake 30 years after the protests, and the physical remnants of that bigotry remained on our streets until yesterday, when we joined @nithyavraman to finally take the signs down,” Councilman Higo Soto-Martinez wrote Tuesday on X.

He said that the signs were used to pick on and hurt LGBTQ+ people.

Pickle, West Hollywood’s first drag queen champion, said, “I didn’t know about those signs and would never have found them.”

The Silver Lake Neighborhood Council voted to take down the first “No Cruising” signs in 2011. The signs that said “No U-turn” and others that said “Time Limits” were left up and almost forgotten.

There was a podcast episode about Silver Lake’s gay history that made Donovan Daughtry bring up the problem, according to the council members.

“People driving around at night with Madonna on the radio probably wasn’t good for a quiet neighborhood like Silver Lake, and the noise from the bars sometimes made their way outside,” Albert LeBarron, co-owner of the gay bar Akbar, told the Times. “But in all honesty, a lot of us are people walking or driving or kind of hanging out because they had nowhere else to go.”

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