Stratford Center Cemetery Stratford, Coos County, New Hampshire, USA
Paul Goodman (September 9, 1911 – August 2, 1972) was an American novelist, playwright, poet, literary critic, and psychotherapist, although now best known as a social critic and anarchist philosopher. Though often thought of as a sociologist, he vehemently denied being one in a presentation in the Experimental College at San Francisco State in 1964, and in fact said he could not read sociology because it was too often lifeless. The author of dozens of books including Growing Up Absurd and The Community of Scholars, Goodman was an activist on the pacifist Left in the 1960s and a frequently cited inspiration to the student movement of that decade. A lay therapist for a number of years, he was a co-founder of Gestalt therapy in the 1940s and 1950s.
The freedom with which he revealed, in print and in public, his romantic and sexual relations with men (notably in a late essay, "Being Queer"), proved to be one of the many important cultural springboards for the emerging gay liberation movement of the early 1970s. He viewed sexual relationships between males as natural, normal, and healthy. In discussing his own sexual relationships, he acknowledged that public opinion would condemn him, but countered that "what is really obscene is the way our society makes us feel shameful and like criminals for doing human things that we really need."