Olympic Silver Medalist Gus Kenworthy Comes Out As Gay


News Editor, The Huffington Post

Hiding everything away is so painful. I’m just at that point where I’m ready to open up and let everyone see me for me and I hope everyone accepts it.”

In this Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, photo, Gus Kenworthy, a freestyle skier who won a silver medal in Sochi, poses in his home in Denver. The timing, to say nothing of the country, wasn't quite right to tell the world he was gay. And so Kenworthy left Russia last February better known as the compassionate daredevil who adopted several stray dogs he came across in the mountains _ and as the man who was part of an historic U.S. sweep of the first Olympic ski slopestyle contest. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

In this Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, photo, Gus Kenworthy, a freestyle skier who won a silver medal in Sochi, poses in his home in Denver. The timing, to say nothing of the country, wasn’t quite right to tell the world he was gay. And so Kenworthy left Russia last February better known as the compassionate daredevil who adopted several stray dogs he came across in the mountains _ and as the man who was part of an historic U.S. sweep of the first Olympic ski slopestyle contest. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)


Gus Kenworthy-1


The tweet accompanied a photo of the athlete on the cover of the latest ESPN Magazine, which is publishing a profile on Kenworthy and the struggle he’s faced in coming out.

That struggle has been especially difficult as a freeskier, Kenworthy told ESPN, a sport he acknowledges glorifies the “alpha male thing” at times. Kenworthy said that in his darkest moments, he even considered taking his own life.

“Hiding everything away is so painful,” he said in a video on ESPN. “You’re constantly lying and constantly feeling like you’re being deceitful. I’m just at that point where I’m ready to open up and let everyone see me for me and I hope everyone accepts it.”

Kenworthy earned a silver medal at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, and then stayed in Russia for an extra month to rescue stray dogs and bring them home to Denver.

Puppy LOve


Plenty of athletes voiced their support for Kenworthy following his announcement, including the U.S. Freeskiing team, which tweeted that it was “A huge day in action sports, the and in ​’s life. We stand with him and support him.”



On Being Black and Gay

huff-post-gay-voices-logo-1Anthony Lorenzo

Writer, copywriter, pontificator.


A gift of childhood is the distinct lack of self-awareness. You’re alive, but you don’t contemplate ‘life’. One happy day becomes the next, until suddenly; your hitherto unknown differences are thrust upon you. Once a child, now a black child. You believed you were essentially the same as all the other kids in class, skin colour notwithstanding. The teacher picks on you, and Joel, and Emmanuel, for doing things you see everyone else doing. It takes a while to put the pieces together. Negative certainly, but the sense of kinship, the shared outrage at your bad treatment, is a silver lining. You’ll get past poor treatment, because you’re in it together.

Forward 10 years, and society not being content with one box, sees fit to squeeze that airless cardboard cube into another. You’re now aware you’re a gay black child. Joel and Emmanuel leave you for dust, having to fight against notions of their violent masculinity, or worse, fulfilling the prophecies. You’re on your own.

To dwell on What It’s Like to be at an intersection of various oppressive constructs is to dance with depression.

Predictably, racism is as rife here as it is anywhere else. We didn’t need a survey, when on Grindr and other such ‘hookup sites’ the bastardised ‘No Dogs, No Blacks, No Irish’ signs are listed next to long walks in the park, good senses of humour, and proclivities towards extra-large penises.

Where do you turn? The outright rejection of you based on your race is tempered not by more understanding men, but by attraction to you based on your race, or more specifically, based on pre-conceived notions of what your race has to offer: Big cocks, thug-like masculinity, animalistic lust. When you’re strong, you ignore it. When you’re desperate, you capitulate.

You turn to your racial kin, but they’ve decided you have wantonly emasculated yourself – something colonialists did through slavery – and you are thus now on the side of ‘the enemy’. Too black to be humanised by white LGBT, too white to be embraced by the Black community [Gayness, according to some Black academics, is a White plot to kill the black male, and by corollary, all black people]. Ponder for a second, the conflicting message a black gay man such as myself contends with: In the gay community, you’re a hyper-masculine thug, in the black community, you’ve wilfully feminised yourself.

The black community is not more homophobic than any other community. Homophobia is a colonial throwback to a time when the bible was handed to the oppressed with one hand, and the books taken from them with the other. You see more homophobic laws in countries touched by colonialism because there was no time to ponder ancient and well-established gender or sexual fluidity, not when backs were breaking in the fields. Such ignorance is clung to, because where do you turn if you give up on all you were taught? Can old dogs learn new tricks? Is decolonisation of the mind even possible?

This all-encompassing barrel of contradictions is something those of us at such intersections must ponder regularly. It’s bad enough as a man, so to imagine how black lesbians feel, or black transpeople feel, is to dance ever strenuously in that quagmire of depression. Perhaps this is why it’s easier for mainstream media to ignore the issues altogether. Writing about whether Ukip should be allowed to pride is easier than contemplating the pain PoC face when we see extremist viewpoints being normalised and celebrated (for Pride is a celebration). It’s easier to pontificate on liberty and argue for free speech, than it is to discuss another of those freedoms, the Right to Assembly, and whether PoC feel safe enough to assemble when faced with people who do not want us and our families around.

I suppose we have to remember that beauty and strength reside in us. The rejection, the juggling of toxic balls, the hatred; those things are external. On a subconscious level, we know that hatred such as racism is borne from fear, jealousy, and ignorance. I used to be torn between feeling like I had to choose one or the other: be gay, or be black. To be one was to let the other side down. The knowledge that the two aren’t mutually exclusive was as shocking as it was simple. I am me. You are you. No-one can remove our sense of self without our permission. Don’t forget that, and celebrate your existence!


Here's The Truth About Being A Gay Latino


Deputy Gay Voices Editor,The Huffington Post


“Suddenly I have become ‘Papi?'”

Being queer is a radically different experience for every individual.

Everyone’s ways of navigating the world are shaped by a number of intersecting identities — particularly one’s ethnic background. In a new video from Flama/Univision, contributor Gabe Gonzalez deconstructs the nuances of identifying as both gay and Latino and the way this shapes his life in American culture.

The video is decidedly satirical, and tackles a number of issues about exotification among queer men, as well as sexual health in the Latino community. According to Gonzalez, these are issues that Latino gay men in America are confronted with quite frequently.

“I want to spark honest conversation,” Gonzalez told The Huffington Post. “In particular, I want people to talk about sex and gender performance in the Latino community because we have a hard time addressing these topics. Growing up, most of my friends knew I was gay, but I faced these linguistic and cultural barriers fitting in at school. At home I spoke Spanish comfortably, but worried about ‘butching it up’ and acting like a ‘boy’ so my parents wouldn’t think I was gay. I always felt like I was hiding a part of myself no matter where I went — and a big part of that was never feeling like I had someone to talk to about my sexuality.”

Check out the video to hear more from Gonzalez or head here to follow him on Twitter.


‘Worlds Apart’ by David Plante




Review by Kevin Brannon
September 30, 2015

David Plante has always been driven by intimations of wholeness. His novels aspire to remind us of our spiritual yearning for unity, for what is universal and beyond the self. It is an ambition he returns to in his new memoir, Worlds Apart, which he has culled from his diaries spanning the 1980s and early 1990s. This most personal form of writing, with its tendency over time to “accumulate itself into an entity that is outside myself. . .by making connections, masses and masses of connections ” turns out to provide the perfect raw material for what Plante has in mind. The diaries (at least the bits he shares) are all but free of introspection, his pen trained only to what was said and done, and by whom. What results is an account of human connection, spanning out across the globe, of a world that would go right on spinning regardless of the writer’s fevered attempts to keep up. For readers who yearn more for good dish than spiritual pondering, it does not hurt that Plante’s “connections” are of the very best kind: Germaine Greer, Phillip Roth, David Hockney, to name a few. And they meet in wonderful places like London and New York. Even Tulsa, Oklahoma, with its gaudy Christian temples and gun-toting denizens, is not too far afield as to escape incorporation.

Worlds ApartOf  course, part of the wonder of the world Plante has created is its susceptibility to ruin. He opens with a note on the death of his partner, Nikos Stangos, with whom he shared the greater part of his life, including the years covered here. Then, passages written in London in which Plante ruminates on the news from back home in the States that his mother has lost her breasts to cancer. Cut to New York and he is on his way to the St. Mark’s Baths with Öçi, his dearest friend. It’s the early 1980s and the reader knows what Plante does not: that the men who go there will soon begin to die. Another of Plante’s intimates, the English poet and novelist Stephen Spender, begins his descent into old age. The void is everywhere, not least of all within Plante himself. As a child, he remembers telling his mother, “I never asked to be born.” She responds by slapping his face.

For all of that, Worlds Apart is not a terribly grim read. Everywhere Plante observes people reaching out for connection, new sources of love and life. Spender embarks upon his final great love affair with a young American named Bryan, fifty years his junior. By this time, he is married to a long suffering concert pianist named Natasha, and the question of how much she knows, what Plante and Stangos can say to comfort her without betraying their friend, is a source of delicious tension. Roth publishes a thinly fictionalized account of an affair he has while living in London with Claire Bloom, to whom he will soon be married. Plante himself enjoys a brief sexual affair with the painter Jennifer Bartlett and nurtures a passion for her that spans the years. Everyone, it seems, is at pains to keep the home fires burning while conquering the next adjacent land in the name of friendship or love. Or, if one happens to encounter Germaine Greer in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a bit of sympathetic company.

Still, the reader might easily forget about Plante’s metaphysical preoccupations if he did not find ways of returning to them. (When his publishers balk at his new novel, he writes them a passionate letter explaining the book’s philosophical underpinnings.) Instead, the real wonder of this diary-as-memoir is Plante’s genius for observation. Visiting Israel with Roth, he captures the famously self-referential author with a precision that makes him instantly recognizable to anyone familiar with his novels. During a teaching stint at the University of Tulsa, Plante ends up sharing a house with Greer, and the overlapping of their lives makes for a strange domestic comedy that shows her in wild variety of moods. One moment she is startlingly open to intimacy–the two share a bed, chastely nude, to make room for out of town guests–and the next sees her peevishly refusing to share her groceries as Plante sits devastated over the news of his mother’s death. Yet, he never resorts to caricature; his mode of detachment allows him the space to work the contradictions into a characterization that feels alive, convincingly complex, and deceptively effortless.

However much Plante may want to inspire us to contemplate what he calls “the undivided spirit,” that ultimate state of wholeness to which all our lonely souls aspire, Worlds Apart may actually do the opposite. The fallen world he offers up, with all of its messy differentiation, is far too seductive to wish away. Desire (and all that is done on its behalf) is always more interesting than its object, earthly or divine. And when Plante and his friends are through with living, we will miss them very much.

World’s Apart: A Memoir
By David Plante
Bloomsbury Publishing
Hardcover, 9781408854808, 359 pp.
August 2015

– See more at: http://www.lambdaliterary.org/reviews/09/30/worlds-apart-by-david-plante/?utm_source=Lambda+Literary+Review+October+2nd%2C+2015&utm_campaign=Newsletters&utm_medium=email#sthash.QMqsj4e6.dpuf

Why Stop at Vengeance? by Richard Stevenson


Why Stop at Vengeance


Richard Stevenson (Richard Lipez) has tackled a variety of social issues in his mysteries over the years. His new novel, Why Stop at Vengeance? (MLR Press)–fourteenth in the Albany, NY-based Donald Strachey series–takes on an American evangelical missionary’s anti-gay crusade in Uganda.

A young Ugandan man, John Suruma, attempts to hire Strachey to burn down a local evangelical church, International House of Faith (IHOF), that has funded anti-gay bigotry in Uganda, which led to the death of Suruma’s ex-lover and friend. He wants Strachey, who he calls “the gay Dirty Harry” which is a moniker the detective is not comfortable with, to help him exact his revenge. Strachey is sympathetic to the man’s plight, but wants to find a non-violent solution to neutralizing IHOF and its evil trio of villains the smug and hypocritical Pastor Chip Salisbury, the Ugandan political-climber Pastor Isaac Baba, and the phony psychologist Floyd Lapp. The question is: Can Strachey implement his plan before Suruma, who continues to receive news of hate crimes at home, takes action and murders Salisbury and his cronies and, in doing so, sacrifices himself?

Stevenson’s crisp prose and intricate plotting propel the story forward at a quick pace, making Why Stop at Vengeance? a thoroughly engaging and enjoyable read. He throws light on bigotry abroad and, through the fine-tuned machinery of a thriller plot, shows us how evangelical missionaries can harness political backing and propaganda for their hate-mongering in countries with political and economic instability. He reminds us that, as we make significant progress in LGBTQ rights in our country, we need to turn our attention to anti-gay campaigns and laws in other places in the world.

Several times in the novel, Strachey mentions he read Reza Aslan’s Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, a critically acclaimed biography of Jesus. Stevenson has him do this, it seems, to remind the reader that the actual Jesus shouldn’t be confused with the romanticized evangelical Jesus; the evangelical Jesus who, Strachey remarks looks “not at all like an Aramaic-speaking Palestinian Jew but like somebody who knew where to go for a good shampoo and who perhaps spoke Swedish.” It’s true; the iconic Western image of Jesus bears little resemblance to historical truth. Other than mentioning Aslan’s book, however, Strachey seems to have little to say about evangelical Christianity other than its propensity to direct hatred at members of the LGBTQ community. Every Christian character the detective comes across is evil, naive, or a buffoon. I don’t disagree with the overarching message about the duplicity of many Christian evangelicals, but as a reader, I hunger for stereotypes–stereotypes of all kinds–to be challenged. I had hoped to come across a character who straddled the evangelical world and the LGBTQ world in a complicated way, perhaps a Christian character whose faith was authentic, but who was critical of Pastor Chip and IHOF’s evil machinations.

When writers address issues of social injustice in their fiction, it’s usually because they have a message to deliver. Stevenson does in this novel–and it’s an incredibly important message: Look beyond the boundaries of our country and to the harsh inequalities in other corners of the world. However, the challenge comes in balancing the desire to make a point with offering the reader characters whose perspectives don’t neatly align on either side of an issue, but perhaps could be valuable to be heard.

Why Stop at Vengeance?
By Richard Stevenson
MLR Press
Paperback, 9781608209774, 248 pp.
April 2015











Starring Kostas Nikouli, Nikos Gelia and Aggelos Papadimitriou

Official Selection:
Cannes Film Festival, Un Certain Regard
Toronto International Film Festival
Winner, Chicago International Film Festival, Gold Hugo Best Film
Miami and Fort Lauderdale Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
Seattle International Film Festival
Frameline Film Festival
XENIA follows two young brothers in search of their birth father across the colorful landscape of Greece. Dany, 16, leaves Crete to find his brother Odysseus who lives in Athens and they journey to Thessaloniki where they think their father is living. When the handsome Odysseus isn’t protecting his daydreaming, gay younger brother, he auditions for the television talent show “Greek Star” where he pursues his fantasy of becoming a singing star. A comic and touching road trip of two brothers connecting and searching for their dreams.
128 Minutes • Drama • Not Rated • In Greek with English Subtitles

Truth in Fantasy and LGBT Heroes



Truth in Fantasy and LGBT Heroes

by Marilla

by Andrew J. Peters

I don’t know how I got into writing fantasy exactly. I certainly didn’t follow the popular advice: write what you know. My books tend to involve ancient world settings and characters from myth. Not much from my everyday experience to draw on there.

I guess it’s been a matter of what feeds my creative soul. I like earthy mysticism and imagining what it would have been like to live in an ancient time. My writing takes me through a lot of research, and when I read books about ancient history and myth, sparks ignite in my brain for stories that could have or should have happened if someone had taken the time to write about them.



Sci fi/fantasy author S.P. Somtow was famously credited with saying: “Fantasy is the most intelligent, precise, and accurate means of arriving at the truth.” That’s a wonderfully provocative statement about a genre that is often criticized as not being “real” literature because it’s too imaginative, too far flung from contemporary human experiences.

I believe that fantasy can reveal truths about our lives, and it can do so just as elegantly as any other genre. But up until quite recently, fantasy hasn’t revealed much truth with respect to LGBT young people. Its authors typically portray LGBTs as sideline characters, if they include us at all, which is a truth perhaps for some heterosexuals who see us as part of the scenery: colorful but not especially important to the issues they confront in their daily lives.

The truth is: LGBT teenagers can overcome a haunting past and discover amazing, world-changing talents just like J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. The truth is: LGBT teens can stand up to an unbreakable tyranny and lead the way to justice just like Suzanne Collins’ Katniss Everdeen.

The truth is LGBT young adults are heroes in small and epic ways every day.

I’ve always endeavored to write stories that expand the varieties of “truth” in fantasy. Growing up, I was starved for books that would show me that a young gay man could make something of himself in the world.

Fantasy enables us to sneak away from reality for a while and enter an adventure where unexpected heroes triumph and hard work pays off in the end. Fantasy is more than escapism. Through its ability to exhilarate and reach into that hopeful place inside the reader, it shows that any one of us can be a hero, which is arguably the most important truth of all.

The hero in my latest release Banished Sons of Poseidon is a sixteen-year-old boy named Damianos. He goes by Dam for short, which is suggestive of the “damned” life he was dealt, an evacuee to the underworld after the flood that buried Atlantis. He’s also on the margins of both aristocratic and peasant society. A disgraced priest with a reputation for getting played by aristocratic boys, he’s pretty much on the outs with everyone. Drawing on his will to persevere in spite of whatever the gods or mortals throw at him, Dam leads an unthinkable adventure that is the only way to save the people he loves. It’s also the only way to deliver his countrymen from a cold, barren world, which is a huge test of his character given his past mistreatment by his peers.

You don’t have to travel to a fantastical world to find stories about LGBT heroes, although as a fantasy author, I do wish that more readers would. For this guest post on GayYA, I thought I’d share some recent real-life heroes who inspire me in and out of my writing life. They’re young people who in their own way have slayed dragons or outwitted cruel wizards or survived dystopias right in their own backyards.


Sean Warren

Source: Instinct Magazine



Sean Warren, a high school junior from Phoenix, Arizona, who recently came out as gay in the traditionally homophobic culture of high school football.




Harmony Santana

Source: RH Reality Check



Harmony Santana, a young transgender actress, who got her first film role while living in a New York City foster care residence and garnered an Independent Spirit Best Supporting Actress nomination.




Subhi Nahas

Source: Washington Blade



Subhi Nahas, a young, gay Syrian refugee, who addressed the United Nations Security Council to raise awareness of LGBT persecution in Islamic military states.



Evan Young

Source: Common Dreams




Evan Young, a high school valedictorian from Colorado, who triumphed over censorship to come out as gay to his classmates and their families during his graduation address.



Jay Abang

Source: Twitter



Jay Abang, a young, lesbian human rights activist in Uganda, who courageously stands against a government that seeks to imprison and put to death LGBTs.






Those real-life stories are an inspiration board for my writing. Somehow, fantasy always captures my imagination when I write about LGBT young adults, so my heroes end up in otherworldly settings, not always infused with magical abilities, but leading lives that are at least on the surface pretty different from those of modern young adults.

I still think fantasy can resonate in critical ways. When we live vicariously through a hero’s adventure, we can discover our inner truths. We may not have supernatural abilities or magical relics, but by stepping into a fantasy hero’s shoes for a while, we are reminded of the values and the characteristics that help us overcome the challenges that we face: self-belief, facing down our fears, and the undeniable virtue of being true to who we are.

AndrewPetersAndrew J. Peters is the author of the Werecat series and two books for young adults: The Seventh Pleiade and Banished Sons of Poseidon. He grew up in Buffalo, New York, studied psychology at Cornell University, and has spent most of his career as a social worker and an advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth. A lifelong writer, Andrew has been a contributing writer at The Good Men Project, YA Highway, Reading Teen, Dear Teen Me, GayYA, and La Bloga among other media. Andrew lives in New York City with his partner Genaro and their cat Chloë. For more about him and his books, visit his website.

Only Kyle Chandler Was Man Enough To Play Cate Blanchett's Husband In 'Carol'




Todd Haynes: “He can hold his own with her. That’s not always easy.”


Festival crowds have extolled Cate Blanchett’s and Rooney Mara’s performances in “Carol,” the 1950s-set story of a demure retail worker who begins a romance with an older, married woman. Blanchett and Mara have been at the forefront of next year’s Oscar talk since the movie premiered at Cannes in May. But a third performance has received quieter kudos: Kyle Chandler in the role of Blanchett’s husband.

Chandler’s feat is full of resolve, his character struggling to reconcile the love he still feels for his wife while recognizing that she does not share the same desire. His screen time is a fraction of Blanchett’s and Mara’s, but it turns out Coach Taylor has just the brooding masculinity and underlying sweetness to capture the sexual stifle of ’50s suburbia — and Todd Haynes knew that from the start.

The director, whose previous movies include “I’m Not There” and “Far From Heaven,” participated in an hourlong Q&A on Saturday as part of the New York Film Festival’s Directors Dialogue series. There, he dissected his “Carol” influences — namely the 1945 British drama “Brief Encounter” — and explained his casting choices.

<span class='image-component__caption' itemprop="caption">Todd Haynes, left, speaks with New York Film Festival director of programming Kent Jones on Oct. 10, 2015.</span>ROB KIM VIA GETTY IMAGESTodd Haynes, left, speaks with New York Film Festival director of programming Kent Jones on Oct. 10, 2015.

Blanchett had signed on before Haynes was involved, when “Brooklyn” director John Crowley was attached to the project. When Mia Wasikowska dropped out due to scheduling conflicts, Haynes selected Mara based on the eclectic body of work she’s established in less than a decade, which includes “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and “Her.” But for Chandler, the director knew he needed one thing in particular: “You have to cast, without sounding sexist, a real man opposite Cate Blanchett.”

“You need a guy who’s grown up, and a lot of actors don’t seem grown up, no matter how old they get,” he said. “They just seem like juveniles with gray hair or something, and he seems like a grown-up. He can hold his own with her. That’s not always easy.”

Haynes, who worked with Blanchett on her Oscar-nominated turn as Bob Dylan in “I’m Not There,” said he’d seen enough of “Friday Night Lights” to be “so impressed” with Chandler.

“That guy is so gifted, and he’s made for the ’50s, too,” he said. “As soon as he got into those clothes, it was like, ‘Oh, my God.’

“Carol” opens in November 2015



Author Tyler Curry Wants Kids To 'Love The Feathers' They're Born With

Gay Voices Senior Editor,

The Huffington Post


“A Peacock Among Pigeons” is for “anyone who has been made to feel different.”

Journalist Tyler Curry is making his first foray into children’s literature with A Peacock Among Pigeons, a charming picture book with a very mature message.

The book, which arrives in stores next month but is already available for purchase here, follows Peter, a peacock who is ostracized from a flock of pigeons in which he was raised because of his bright feathers and seemingly proud strut. It isn’t until Peter ventures beyond the flock and is introduced to other colorful, unique birds — including a canary, a flamingo and a cardinal — that he learns to “love the feathers” he was born with, even if he doesn’t quite fit in.

Curry, who is the senior editor of the online publication HIV Equal and has written for Out magazine, The Advocate and HuffPost Gay Voices, had dreamt of writing a children’s book that drew on his own coming out for years. Collaborating with illustrator Clarione Gutierrez, Curry began developing A Peacock Among Pigeons after reading an interview with actor Russell Tovey, in which the openly gay “Looking” star made controversial remarksabout “effeminate” men, in The Guardian earlier this year.

“If anyone was raised to be masculine, it was me,” the 32-year-old Texas native told The Huffington Post in an interview. Pointing to his family’s passion for hunting, fishing and athletics, he said, “Some of us are just born peacocks, and it won’t matter how you try to ‘raise’ us, because we can never change our feathers.”


While Peter’s path to avian acceptance echoes that of the titular character in Hans Christian Andersen’s 1843 fairy tale, The Ugly Duckling, Curry says there’s a key difference.

“The ugly duckling goes through a physical transformation and changes into a beautiful [swan]. Peter was always beautiful, he just didn’t know it yet,” Curry said. While his character’s colorful feathers can be interpreted as a metaphor for being gay, the author chose not to include any direct references to sexuality, in hopes that A Peacock Among Pigeons will resonate with “anyone who has been made to feel different.”

“I didn’t want to be literal; I didn’t want to be preachy,” Curry, who is currently at work on a second book, said. “I just wanted to create a new kind of character that could be universally loved and serve as a champion for children who sometimes need it the most.”

A Peacock Among Pigeons hits bookstores Nov. 3. Check out a sneak peek below.


    Amazon Link


How WWII Started The Modern Gay Rights Movement


Long before Stonewall, the quest for community began.

We often attribute the 1969 Stonewall Riots as being the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement. But the first time gay people started coalescing was during World War II, according to USC gender studies professor Chris Freeman.

In honor of October’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) history month, Freeman explained to HuffPost Live’s Alex Miranda that after the draft began, the army started screening people in the early 1940s for homosexuality. It was a term many had never heard before.

“It helped in a certain way to solidify an identity, or it gave a name to an identity, that they just had feelings for,” Freeman said. “And then, through the context of being in the all-male or all-female environments that they wound up in, they found each other.”

After the war, Freeman explained, many of those homosexual relationships remained, and as people resettled in cities rather than “going back to the farm,” early gay communities were created.

“Public sex and gay people meeting each other for that purpose has been perpetual, forever,” Freeman said. “But forming organizations and forming community around it as a modern identity and a modern community village is really a post-WWII phenomenon.”

Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation on gay history here.