Patricia Fitzgerald & Kay Guinness, Cherry Grove Beach, September 1952, Cherry Grove Archives Collection, Gift of Gay Nathan & Julie Paradise

Safe/Haven: Gay Life in 1950s Cherry Grove

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Virtual Panel

Event Description:

Was Cherry Grove really a safe haven? If so, for whom? What was it like in the 1950s? How has it changed over time? What is it like today and do we still need safe havens?

Imagine a time when the truth about your life could ruin it. Now, imagine a place, just a ferry ride away, where you and society’s other sexual outlaws could find sex, love, refuge, and community against a backdrop of white sand beaches. Welcome to the not-so-secret hideaway of Cherry Grove, Fire Island.

Join us for a conversation inspired by Safe/Haven: Gay Life In 1950s Cherry Grove, a photo exhibition currently on display at the New-York Historical Society through October 11, 2021.



Esther Newton, LGBTQ scholar and author of Cherry Grove, “Fire Island: Sixty Years in America’s First Gay and Lesbian Town”

Parker Sargent, filmmaker and a curator of “Safe/Haven” from the Cherry Grove Archives Collection

Tomik Dash, writer, activist, President, Black and Brown Equity Coalition



Eric Marcus, journalist, founder and host of the Making Gay History Podcast, founding board member of the American LGBTQ+ Museum


Hosted by The American LGBTQ+ Museum, in partnership with the New-York Historical Society.


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