Harry Hay

Organization founder

1912 – 2002

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Who was Harry Hay?

Henry "Harry" Hay, Jr. was an English-born American labor advocate, teacher and early leader in the American LGBT rights movement. He is known for his roles in helping to found several gay organizations, including the Mattachine Society, the first sustained gay rights group in the United States.

Hay was exposed early in life to the principles of Marxism and to the idea of same-sex sexual attraction. He drew upon these experiences to develop his view of homosexuals as a cultural minority. A longtime member of the Communist Party USA, Hay's Marxist history led to his resignation from the Mattachine leadership in 1953. Hay's involvement in the gay movement became more informal after that, although he did co-found the Los Angeles chapter of the Gay Liberation Front in 1969. Following a move to New Mexico with his longtime companion John Burnside in 1970, Hay's ongoing interest in Native American spirituality led the couple to co-found the Radical Faeries.

Hay's belief in the cultural minority status of homosexuals led him to take a stand against assimilationism. This stance led him to offer public support to controversial groups like the North American Man/Boy Love Association and to criticize both the mainstream gay rights movement and some of the movement's radical components, including the AIDS activist group ACT UP.

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Born
Apr 7, 1912
Worthing
Also known as
  • Henry "Harry" Hay, Jr.
  • Henry Hay Jr.
  • The Duchess
Parents
Siblings
Spouses
Nationality
  • United States of America
Profession
Education
  • Stanford University
Died
Oct 24, 2002
San Francisco

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

Citation

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