Blackstone, Elliot Oral History Interview

Span Dates: 1997
Bulk Dates:
Volume: Oral history interview #97-034


This interview covers many topics, including law enforcement, public relations, and transgender and transsexual persons. In particular, it discussed the events at the New Year's Ball at California Hall in 1964. This ball led to the formation of the homophile movement in San Francisco and the subsequent founding of the Council on Religion and the Homosexual (CRH). The interview was conducted by Susan Styker.

Hist/Bio Note

Elliot Blackstone was a San Francisco Police Department community relations officer who headed an anti-poverty crime abatement program in the so-called "Central City" area of San Francisco, from 1965 through 1975. To lower criminal activity, he attacked problems of social injustice and inequality. As a SFPD community relations officer, Blackstone functioned as a liason between the police and the emergent gay and lesbian community. He worked closely with all the homophile organizations, notably the Mattachine Society, Daughters of Bilitis, the Society for Individual Rights, the Committee on Religion and the Homosexual, and various other progressive social-reform efforts. After a group of male-to-female transsexual prostitutes approached him in an attempt to end police harrassment of themselves and other transgendered women, Blackstone also helped organize the first known peer-run support groups for transsexuals, in 1967. He was an early advocate of providing social services to transgendered people, and was largely responsible for the web of services available to Bay Area transsexuals by the early 1970s. Blackstone came to work closely with the Erickson Educational Foundation which supported the National Transsexual Counselling Unit Blackstone oversaw until his retirement in 1975.

Finding Aid

A transcript of the interview is available by contacting the GLBT Historical Society. Online details are found by using the search box on the finding aid for the GLBT Historical Society Oral History collection GLBT-OH. Topics of the interview include policing, especially of transsexual and transgender people, and public relations. People named are Frank Ahearn, Tom Cahill, Mark Forrester, Hal Call, Harry Benjamin, Reed Erickson, Louise Ergestrasse, Jerry Durkin, Joel Fort, Sally Gearhart, and Ray Broshea.


This oral history interview is located at the GLBT Historical Society of Northern California in San Francisco.


Council on Religion and the Homosexual | Activist (religious institutions) | New Year's Ball (San Francisco) | Trans activism | California | San Francisco