Photographer Susan Kravitz ’65 captures gay liberation on Fire Island.
Many have called it Fire Island’s Stonewall—after the 1969 protests in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village that kicked off the gay rights movement.
Forty years ago, a restaurant in the Pines—a beach community on Fire Island, New York—refused to serve Teri Warren, who was dressed in drag. When Warren’s friends from the neighboring community of Cherry Grove, a longtime summer haven for artists and theatre people drawn by its openly gay atmosphere, heard what had happened, they were outraged. On July 4, 1976, they fought back by dressing in drag en masse and storming the Pines in revelry. The “Invasion of the Pines” turned into an annual celebration.
Photographer Susan Kravitz ’65 first visited Cherry Grove in 1979 as a straight woman and returned for more than 30 years, photographing the Invasion and the community at large during a pivotal era in American culture when LGBTQ life became more accepted into the mainstream. During this time, Kravitz also came to terms with her own sexuality. Her first book, Mascara, Mirth, & Mayhem: Independence Day on Fire Island, documents these cultural and personal transitions through her photographs.
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