He died recently at age 90. This past Sunday, friends and comrades gathered to celebrate his life at One Institute & Archives in Los Angeles. Speakers included comedian Robin Tyler, politicians Sheila Kuehl and Jackie Goldberg, and community activist Torrie Osborn. On the Subversity show today, we talk with some of those friends and also play excerpts from the memorial service at One Institute Library in Los Angeles.
Hay's biographer, Stuart Timmons ("The Trouble with Harry"; and board chair of the One Institute), onetime FDR editor Craig Collins, and Green activist Phil Wilkie remember Hay on Subversity, a KUCI public affair program, airing in Orange County, California from 4-5 p.m. today on KUCI, 88.9 fm, and Web-cast via kuci.org.
Hay, who had to leave the Communist Party USA because he was gay, was forced out of the Mattachine Society he had founded because he was communist.
In 1986, the gay estabishment (Christopher Street West) called in the mounted police to try to kick him out of the gay pride parade after he carried a sandwich board supporting the free speech rights of a lesbian former mayor (on one side) and of NAMBLA (on the other), a despised gay group that supported men in relationships with teenagers. Both had been barred from the parade. Hay supported the group, arguing that he had his first sexual experience at 14. He would later argue that it was he, as a teen sailor, who had "molested" the older man, another seaman (25).
He was lovers with Will Geer, who played Grandpa in the TV series, "The Waltons," who recruited him into the Communist Party, USA.
At his death, gay establishment groups like Human Rights Campaign rushed to proclaim him as the father of gay liberation, yet during his life, they dismissed him as a trouble-maker.
We talk about Harry's legacy to us.
Remembering Harry Hay
Earlier Subversity press release on Timmons interview about Harry
Earlier interview with Timmons about Harry Hay (in RealAudio)
Daniel C. Tsang Host, Subversity, now Tuesdays, 4-5 p.m. KUCI, 88.9 FM and Web-cast live via http://kuci.org Subversity: http://kuci.org/~dtsang; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Daniel Tsang, KUCI, PO Box 4362, Irvine CA 92616 UCI Tel: (949) 824-4978; UCI Fax: (949) 824-2700 UCI Office: 380 Main Library Member, National Writers Union (http://www.nwu.org) WWW News Resource Page: http://sun3.lib.uci.edu/~dtsang/netnews1.htm AWARE: http://sun3.lib.uci.edu/~dtsang/aware2.htm Personal Homepage: http://sun3.lib.uci.edu/~dtsang/