History of Gay and Lesbian Life in Milwaukee, Wisconsin - People - Bios

Patrick Batt


May 18, 1946
Primary Involvements:




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Patrick Batt was a community activist, and well known in the Milwaukee gay scene in the 1970s. He was heavily involved in the Gay Peoples' Union (GPU), including serving for a time as Chairperson of the Board of Directors of GPU. He was also a friend of Robert Uyvari, Milwaukee's premier artist at the time, and commissioned some of Uyvari's artwork in Batt's own work for the International Mr. Leather (IML) contest, and other businesses and organizations, until moving to San Francisco.

Patrick Batt was Chairperson of the Gay Peoples Union (GPU) in May of 1977, when he was fired from his job as Personnel Director of the Marion Heights Nursing Home because he was gay. According to Batt, "They couldn't deal with the word homosexual, so they used the word 'lifestyle'."

On May 6, 1977, Roger Hamilton, administrator of the Catholic affiliated nursing home, told Batt that he had been instructed by the Board of Directors of the facility to ask for his resignation in view of his "private life". Batt refused to resign. Later in the day Hamilton again approached Batt and again asked for his resignation. He was offered only one month's severence pay in exchange for "cooperation", defined as resigning and not making an issue of the circumstances. Batt refused and was discharged.

A prolonged legal battle followed. By August a non-profit foundation, the Milwaukee Human Rights Alliance (MHRA) had been formed to help fund the defense, and many fundraisers were held throughout the community. One grant even came from the Playboy Foundation. By January of 1978, a federal judge had already dismissed the case, and although it was appealed to the circuit court and finally the U.S. Supreme Court, the case was eventually lost. However, the case was later used as an example to secure a State of Wisconsin nondiscrimination in the workplace rule.

Batt moved to Chicago in 1978 to manage the Gold Coast bar. In 1980 he moved to San Francisco where he managed the SF Eagle, and then was general manager for Drummer magazine until he started Mercury Mail Order in 1982. Batt started AutoErotica, which sells classic porn and new sex toys, in 1997.

As of early 2007, Patrick Batt lives in San Francisco, and continues to own and operate both AutoErotica and Mercury Mail Order.


Firing announced in June 1977 issue of GPU News (vol 6 no. 9)

"Review 77" show at On Broadway Show Lounge as MHRA fundraiser for Patrick Batt Legal Defense Fund
(November 1977 issue of
GPU News, vol 7 no. 2)

Credits: information GPU News articles;
Last updated: February-2007.