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"HUMAN RIGHTS FOR GAYS!" circa 1974
Image: A New York Gay Activists Alliance protest. Gay Activists Alliance, New York collection, #ONEArchives at the USC Libraries. John Lauritsen, Photographer.

“They can't ever say now that a gay man can't play in the majors, because I'm a gay man and I made it." – Glenn Burke, 1995.
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Picture: Glenn Burke (November 16, 1952 - May 30, 1995), c. 1978.
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At the beginning of Glenn Burke’s professional baseball career, an assistant coach on the Los Angeles Dodgers' minor league team described Burke, who was born sixty-five years ago today, as "the next Willie Mays." More than anything, prejudice kept Burke from meeting those expectations.
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Upon being called up to the Dodgers' major league club, General Manager Al Campanis offered to pay Burke a large sum if Burke agreed to marry; before refusing the offer, Burke responded, "to a woman?" Despite the initial pressure, during his time with the Dodgers Burke was known as "the life of the team, on the buses, in the clubhouse, everywhere."
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In October 1977, Burke ran onto the field during a game to congratulate teammate Dusty Baker on Baker's thirtieth homerun of the season. As Baker jogged from third base to home, Burke raised his hand over his head; unsure of what to do with his teammate's upraised hand, Baker slapped it. The two men—one of whom, by that point, was openly gay to his teammates and coaches—are credited with inventing the high five, which later became a symbol of identification and gay pride when Burke lived in San Francisco's Castro neighborhood.
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Despite his popularity on the Dodgers, Burke was traded to the Oakland Athletics in 1978, where the open secret of Burke's sexuality was met with open prejudice. When Billy Martin became General Manager in 1980, for example, he often referred to Burke as a "faggot."
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When he suffered a knee injury before the 1980 season, the A's sent Burke to the minors and then released him from his contract.
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"Prejudice drove me out of baseball sooner than I should have,” Burke later said, “...prejudice just won out."
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Burke spent his last years in San Francisco, where, despite being an easily recognizable and popular figure, he struggled with addiction, financial issues, and run-ins with law enforcement.
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Glenn Burke died of AIDS-related complications on May 30, 1995; he was forty-two. #lgbthistory #Resist #GlennBurke

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