Partner Warren Kopp

Queer Places:
Columbia University (Ivy League), 116th St and Broadway, New York, NY 10027
1782 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94109

Paul D. Hardman (February 19, 1923 - January 5, 1996) and his partner Warren Kopp are featured in ''Family: a portrait of gay and lesbian America'', by Nancy Andrews (1994). World War II Navy veteran Paul Hardman was a founding member of the American Legion Post 448, the nation's only predominantly gay post. Paul and his partner of more than forty years, Warren Kopp, lived in the Pacific Heights section of San Francisco. Paul was a retired banker. They lived in a Victorian home. Hardman said: Ten years ago it became apparent to me that the cutting edge for gay rights in the military had to be from the outside by those of us who had served honorably and successfully in the military—people who knew what it was like to be in the military but who were be¬ yond their reach. We were now civilians, and I don't care how big a general you are, you are second-rate to a civilian. So I founded American Legion Post 448. An American Legion post is a minimum of fifteen people who are honorably discharged war veterans who are interested in working with war veterans. It took a year and a half to get them to accept our application. Because we were gay, because we were making an outreach to gay and lesbian veterans, they didn't want our kind. Several times they lost our application. They threw up every roadblock, creating things that were not really required. All of our members had to show formal discharge papers to at least two other members of the Amer¬ ican Legion to make sure that we were truly veterans. We had to pick the name of an American war hero, which is also not required. So I picked Alexander Hamilton, because he was gay. Many American Legion posts sit around and drink beer. They tell limited-intelligence jokes, talk dirty about girls, and make snide remarks about gay people and pretend to per¬ form a lot of functions which are in their handbooks but don't actually occur. They have all kinds of subcommittees on youth, radio communication, and espionage. It's like a Boy Scout handbook that has very little relevance in actual practice. The intentions of those who put it together were good—but the phenomenon that's observable in actual conduct is not. Before they really knew or had any experience with gay veterans, they were suspicious and antagonistic. People would ask, "Will your members dress funny and speak funny?" We march in parades and we win their prizes—which is not really any comment on how good we are, but, frankly, how poor they are. When the veterans are all out marching, like on Memorial Day, we're there.

Hardman was born Feb. 19, 1923, in New York. His family moved to the Bay Area when he was 5. In 1940, he joined the Navy. After serving in the Pacific, he received an honorable discharge in 1945. Hardman received a bachelor's degree from Columbia University and a doctorate in history from the ONE Institute in Los Angeles supervised by Dorr Legg. He turned his doctoral dissertation into a book (Hardman, Paul D. Homoaffectualism: Male bonding from Gilgamesh to the present. 1993). In the post-war years, he and his lifetime companion, interior designer Warren Kopp, operated an antique shop. He also served as a vice president at Crocker Bank.

In the 1970s and early 1980s, Hardman published the California Voice, a San Francisco gay newspaper. In 1984, he founded the Alexander Hamilton Post, the country's first American Legion post with a gay and lesbian focus, which played an active role in the national battle over gays and lesbians in the military. Hardman also served on the board of the Society for Individual Rights and the American Association for Personal Privacy. He was executive director of the Pride Center at 333 Grove Street and served as president of the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Commission.

In the summer of 1987, Hardman met William A. Percy in Puerto Escondido, Mexico. Hardman subsequently introduced Percy to Arther Warner, Wayne Dynes and Warren Johansson, leading to Percy's collaboration with Dynes, Johansson and Stephen Donaldson on the Encyclopedia of Homosexuality.

Paul also served on the board of the Society for Individual Rights and, along with Dynes, on the board of the American Association for Personal Privacy founded by Warner.

Paul Hardman died January 5, 1996, at Fort Miley after complications from surgery.

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