San Francisco Landmarks
Gene Compton’s Cafeteria was a popular hangout for transgender women, young male hustlers, and others who lived and worked in the Tenderloin in the early 1960s. Compton’s was a brightly lit, inexpensive restaurant that was open 24 hours a day, and was one of the few places where transgender women could feel safe socializing.
In August 1966, when police tried to evict transgender women from the cafeteria, patrons rebelled. Transgender women and drag queens threw crockery, turned over tables, and shattered the plate‐glass windows. When an angry crowd gathered at the intersection of Turk and Taylor Streets, police called in backup. The night ended with a police car wrecked and a corner newsstand set on fire. Many went to jail. The next night a picket line with placards appeared at Compton’s and again, shattered glass littered the sidewalk. The event received no press coverage.
Source: Adapted from the San Francisco Landmark Designation Application dated 10 August 2022.