Gay Liberation: “Out of the Closets and into the Streets!”

  • Van Gosse


By 1965, the homophile movement had traveled a long, painful road. A new breed of reformers, epitomized by the defiant, unashamed Frank Kameny of the Washington, D.C. Mattachine Society, had taken leadership. Public protest had begun, if only in the most careful and restrained fashion—Kameny himself was known for admonishing female couples to stop holding hands on the picket line. In San Francisco, a beachhead was established into electoral politics, via the Society for Individual Rights (SIR), and homosexual activists had created alliances with liberal Protestant churches, though nowhere else did gay people have this small measure of legitimacy.


Civil Disobedience Electoral Politics Picket Line Drag Queen Mainstream Homosexual Community 
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A Selected Bibliography

  1. Barry D. Adam, The Rise of the Gay and Lesbian Movement (Boston: Twayne, 1987) provided the background on homosexual politics in Europe.Google Scholar
  2. Stuart Timmons, The Trouble with Harry Hay: Founder of the Modern Gay Movement (Boston: Alyson, 1990) compliments D’Emilio’s Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities.Google Scholar
  3. Dudley Clendinen and Adam Nagourney, Out for Good: The Struggle to Build a Gay Rights Movement in America (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1999) provides a lively general narrative of how gay liberation turned to gay rights.Google Scholar
  4. Donn Teal, The Gay Militants: How Gay Liberation Began in America, 1969–1971 (New York: Stein and Day, 1971) opens up those early liberatory days with terrific detail, as doesGoogle Scholar
  5. Martin Duberman, Stonewall (New York: Dutton, 1993). An article by Justin David Suran, “Coming Out Against the War: Antimilitarism and the Politicization of Homosexuality in the Era of Vietnam,” American Quarterly, 55/3 (2001): 452–488, offers a crucial insight about the relation of gay liberation to the larger left. Finally, all of my understanding of gay and lesbian politics has been shaped by the essays of Jeffrey Escoffier, collected in American Homo: Community and Perversity (Berkeley: University of California, 1998) and his essay, “Fabulous Politics: Gay, Lesbian, and Queer Movements, 1969–1999,” in the recent collection edited by Richard Moser and myself, The World the Sixties Made: Politics and Culture in Recent America (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2003), pp. 191–218.Google Scholar

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© Van Gosse 2005

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  • Van Gosse

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