The Long Beach ‘social vagrant’ investigations, 1914

From the Archives Social vagrancy’ trial in Long Beach drew sneers, widespread public attention

The Los Angeles Times ap­peared to take great glee from re­port­ing on the 1914 ar­rests of 31 men in an un­der­cov­er sting op­er­a­tion tar­get­ing gay men in Long Beach. The Times re­por­ted sneer­ingly from the so-called “Holy City of Long Beach.” The men, in­clud­ing loc­al flor­ist Her­bert N. Lowe, were al­leged mem­bers of two private clubs for gay men in Long Beach. While oth­ers, called “so­cial vag­rants” by the Times, quietly paid fines fol­low­ing their ar­rests, Lowe fought the charges, and his tri­al was closely watched. Long Beach city of­fi­cials tem­por­ar­ily banned the sale of tox­ic sub­stances after one of the ar­res­ted men com­mit­ted sui­cide; this art­icle ref­er­ences that ban be­ing lif­ted.

Sources: Los Angeles Times, Nov. 16, 1914