Granby Mall Clean up

By Cory Moreno

Panoramic View Of Granby Mall Norfolk

My name is Cory Moreno and I will be talking about the “Granby Mall Clean-Up” movement that took place in
downtown Norfolk. In October of 1979, Norfolk police begin a campaign by enforcing the Alcoholic Beverage
Control laws in an effort to prohibit serving alcohol to homosexuals. This became known as the “Granby Mall
Clean-up” Using ABC Enforcements to label many places around the Granby Mall area rendezvous places. This
wasn’t so much of a specific event as it was an agenda by police to rid the area undesired individuals. One of the
first incidents to kickoff this movement was the Oar House which, even though was not located specifically
downtown, was an incident where police charged two individuals with possession of marijuana who were in the
parking lot of the Oar house establishment. After the officials had interrogated the individuals purging them to
reveal that they were homosexuals, the officials then went after the Oar house owners and establishment, contacting
the Oar house owner, and warning that the individuals were banned from re-entering the establishment or else the
establishment will be cited as a known meeting place for homosexuals, prostitutes and pimps. It is Believed that this
police intimidation was part of an effort to rid the Granby mall area of people considered undesirable by police and
downtown merchants and customers. Some establishments posted signs warning female impersonators to stay out of
the establishment which hindered customer service to many perceived LGBT individuals and really pushed them
away from the Granby area. Police had said that there was a large [quote] “He-She” problem in the Granby area that
needed to be dealt with. It was said that many of the homosexuals and “He-She”s around the Granby Mall area
would be “stopping traffic to making advances and propositions to people”. Rumors begin to circulate that police
began compiling list of over 30 names of individuals that were “Known homosexuals” and were prohibited to be
served alcoholic beverages as a result. On November 2 nd , representatives of three different Norfolk organizations
such as the Old Dominion University Gay Alliance, Norfolk Coalition of Human Rights and the Unitarian
Universalist Gay Community went to Norfolk Police headquarters to complain about these actions being made
against the LGBT community. The meeting lasted for almost 2 hours to which Deputy Chief John L. Andrews
denied such accusations of his deputies. However, they discussed the definition of “known homosexual” to having
to be someone with a prior conviction. Furthermore, taking names of anyone else would violate Virginia’s Freedom
of Information Act. think that this event is important because it is a prime example of the discrimination that took
place in our recent history and is a great example to compare the differences between then and today and accentuate

where there are still issues that remain. I think it is also an important part of Norfolk history and can be a great way
to document Norfolk’s LGBT progression. As of today, we do not have as many of these extremes to suppress our
community and freedom; we have moved up from toleration but I wouldn’t say we have completely stepped into full
equality either.


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