In Memoriam: Dick Leitsch, pioneering LGBT activist


On Friday, June 22, 2018, Richard “Dick” Leitsch, the pioneering and innovative LGBT activist, passed away. He was 83 years old.

Dick will forever be remembered as the mastermind behind the game-changing “Sip In” at Julius’ Bar, one of the earliest acts of civil disobedience in the LGBT movement. As then-president of the Mattachine Society, Dick created a media moment that changed the course of history, captured in the famous photo by Fred W. McDarrah.

Dick remained committed to the LGBT equal rights movement throughout his life, and we are all indebted to his early leadership and trailblazing actions. His spirit will live on in each of us.

Raise a glass tonight in honor of Dick Leitsch. And next time you’re in Greenwich Village, sip a cocktail in his honor at Julius’ Bar.



Photos: (1) Dick Leitsch, president of Mattachine Society of New York, at its offices, December 30, 1965. Photo by Louis Liotta/New York Post. Source: NYP Holdings, Inc. via Getty Images; (2) After pouring their drinks, a bartender in Julius’s Bar refuses to serve John Timmins, Dick Leitsch, Craig Rodwell (1940 – 1993), and Randy Wicker, members of the Mattachine Society, an early American gay rights group, who were protesting New York liquor laws that prevented serving gay customers, New York, New York, April 21, 1966. (Photo by Fred W. McDarrah/Getty Images); (3) Dick Leitsch at the 52nd anniversary of the “Sip-In” at Julius’ Bar, Apirl 2018.