Partner John Burnside, buried together
Stanford University, 450 Serra Mall, Stanford, CA 94305, Stati Uniti
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Nomenus Radical Faerie Sanctuary, 4525 Lower Wolf Creek Rd, Wolf Creek, OR 97497, Stati Uniti
Henry "Harry" Hay, Jr. (April 7, 1912 – October 24, 2002) was a prominent American gay rights activist, communist, labor advocate, and Native American civil rights campaigner.
Harry Hay and Joel Burnside are profiled in ''Living happily ever after: couples talk about lasting love'', by Laurie Wagner, Stephanie Rausser, and David Collier (1996).
Hay was a founder of the Mattachine Society, the first sustained gay rights group in the United States, as well as the Radical Faeries, a loosely affiliated gay spiritual movement. Despite these earlier efforts, the Mattachine Society, established in Los Angeles in 1951, was the first homosexual rights organization to achieve a national following and make substantive strides in challenging the widespread assumption that homosexuals deserved the discrimination they received. Although Harry Hay is generally credited as the founder of Mattachine, C. Todd White has meticulously detailed the early history of the organization and argues that it was a substantial group effort between Harry Hay, Rudi Gernreich, Bob Hull, Chuck Rowland, Dale Jennings, and (joining the group slightly later) Konrad Stevens and James Gruber.
Born to an upper middle class family in England, Hay was raised in Chile and California. From an early age he acknowledged his same-sex sexual attraction, and came under the influence of Marxism. Briefly studying at Stanford University, he subsequently became a professional actor in Los Angeles, where he joined the Communist Party USA, becoming a committed activist in left-wing labor and anti-racist campaigns. As a result of societal pressure, he attempted to become heterosexual by marrying a female Party activist in 1938, with whom he adopted two children. Recognizing that he remained homosexual, his marriage ended and in 1950 he founded the Mattachine Society. Although involved in campaigns for gay rights, he resigned from the Society in 1953.
Featured in Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers by Robert Giard [Rights Notice: Copyright Jonathan G. Silin (email@example.com)]
The only surviving photograph of the Mattachine founders (asterisked), Christmas 1951. Pictured are Harry Hay (upper left), then (l–r) Konrad Stevens, Dale Jennings, Rudi Gernreich, Stan Witt, Bob Hull, Chuck Rowland (in glasses), Paul Bernard. Photo by James Gruber. The photographer, James Gruber, with Stevens, became the sixth and seventh to be admitted. Considered for, but denied membership, Benard is said to have drowned in 1954 after moving to Mexico. Hull's friend Witt sometimes socialized with members, as on this occasion. (Photo courtesy James Gruber)
Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
Hay's developing belief in the cultural minority status of homosexuals led him to take a stand against the assimilationism advocated by the majority of gay rights campaigners. He subsequently became a co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of the Gay Liberation Front in 1969, although in 1970 he moved to New Mexico with his longtime partner John Burnside. Hay's ongoing interest in American Indian religion led the couple to co-found the Radical Faeries in 1979 with Don Kilhefner and Mitchell L. Walker. Returning to Los Angeles, Hay remained involved in an array of activist causes throughout his life, and became a well-known, albeit controversial, elder statesman within the country's gay community.
Hay has been described as "the Founder of the Modern Gay Movement" and "the father of gay liberation", and has been the subject of a biography and documentary film.
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