'His Should Be a Household Name'.

'His Should Be a Household Name'

(September 1998)

Harry Hay is the founder of gay liberation. In 1950, he started the underground Mattachine Society, the first modern gay rights organization. It took its name from a dance, "les Mattachines," that groups of unmarried men performed in France during the Renaissance. According to Hay's 1996 book, Radically Gay, the performances of these fraternities satirized religious and political power. Harry Hay was one of the first to insist that lesbians and gay men deserve equality. And he placed their fight in the context of a wider political movement. "In order to earn for ourselves any place in the sun, we must with perseverance and self-discipline work collectively... for the first-class citizenship of minorities everywhere, including ourselves," he wrote in 1950.

At first, Hay could not find anyone who would join him in forming a political...

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