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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: U.S. | Global Justice and Anti-Capitalism | Labor & Workers | LGBTI / Queer
Harry Hay: Gay Liberation's Radical Founder
Gay activist and independent historian Joey Cain speaks with Kate Raphael about the life and legacy of Harry Hay, the Communist labor organizer who founded the country's first gay rights organization in the early 1950s. Audio 42:31
Harry Hay was a labor organizer, ranch hand, musicologist, stunt rider, actor, small business owner and Communist Party member. In 1949, he drafted a document proposing the creation of the United States' first organization of "temperamentals" -- gay men. It took two years to find one other man willing to be associated with such an enterprise, and in 1953, he and four others founded the Mattachine Society, an underground network of discussion groups. Harry later went on to co-found the Radical Faeries, a gay men's spiritual community.
Joey Cain is curator of an exhibit on Harry's life now showing at the San Francisco Main Library.