Untold tragedy: victims of the UpStairs Lounge arson fire have their story shared after 40 years of silence

It's been 40 years since the devastating act of arson at the UpStairs Lounge in the "Gay Triangle" area of the French Quarter in New Orleans. Members of the Metropolitan Community Church were burned alive in a fire which was purposely ignited. This catastrophic incident left 32 dead and only 35 survivors, yet no one was ever convicted guilty of this mass murder. This crime was the deadliest attack on the LGBT population in United States history. 32 people dead, 40 years of silence, and 1 man who chose to create a musical dedicated to the lives that were forgotten.

Wayne Self, composer and playwright, decided to embark on the journey of formulating a piece of artwork which would tell the untold story of the terror of June 24th, 1973. Self composed a musical entitled UpStairs which takes audiences back to that portion of history. The victims were never remembered for the tragedy that took their lives. UpStairs pays tribute and honor those innocent lives stolen by this event, and silenced by history.

The premier of UpStairs will be commencing just in time for the 40th anniversary of thef ire. Performances will be held June 20th-24th, 2013 at the Café Istanbul in New Orleans.

This Pride month, take a moment to remember these victims and make sure their story is heard. If you're in the New Orleans area, go to see the musical UpStairs. If you're not able to attend the production, but would like to donate to the cause, make a donation. If you would like a t-shirt to promote the musical, make a purchase.  

Take a moment to view the news coverage of the fire. This was in 1973, more than 10 years before GLAAD began fighting back against defamatory news coverage. 

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GLAAD Southern Stories will elevate the experiences of LGBT people in six of the nation's southern states. The initiative amplifies stories of LGBT people thriving in the South, ongoing discrimination, as well as the everyday indignities endured by LGBT people who simply wish to live the lives they love, including stories of family, stories of faith, stories of sports, and stories of patriotism