harry hay


LBGTQ* History Through Photos

The Radical Faeries

The above photos are from various gatherings of The Radical Faeries. The group was founded by Harry Hay, one of the leading LGB rights organizers of the mid-20th century and founding member of the Mattachine Society. The Radical Faeries was founded as a way for queer men to use spirituality and nature to replenish and nourish the body and mind. The group worked as an activist group, using naturalistic healing and ritual practices to unite members and create open forums for discussion.


The Mattachine Society, founded in 1950, was one of the earliest homophile organizations in the United States. Harry Hay and a group of Los Angeles friends formed the group to protect and improve the rights of gay people. These are some of their protest signs and publications.

I find that a lot of people within the LGBT community don't know anything about the history of LGBT rights.

I’ve also found that some of the older members of the community will look down upon me due to my age and say shit because they think I don’t understand. I do. I know the history a bit better than most of the people in my age group. In 11th grade when everyone in my history class was doing reports on mainstream people in history that created some sort of change in history, I was doing my report on Harry Hay.

As I set up my large posterboard in front of the class, I turned to look at my classmates to see blank stares from my captive audience. Not a single one had heard of Harry Hay before hand. Yet he was the founding father of the gay rights movement. He was a huge factor in founding the Mattachine Society that began in 1950. It was the first underground homophile organization to be founded in the US. That was HUGE considering that at that time, people could go to jail for being gay.

Harry Hay was in fact a communist, and because of this, he was eventually kicked out of the Mattachine Society.

In 1965, with Don Slater, he organized a Gay motorcade in Los Angeles to protest military exclusion of homosexuals. In 1977 he spoke at New Mexico’s first Gay Pride march in Albequerque, and participating in march against Anita Bryant in Los Angeles.

In 1978, he and his partner, John Burnside, founded the Radical Faeries. The Radical Faeries actually still exists to this day.

On October 24, 2002 he quietly passed away at the age of 90.

If you’d like to know more. Please either contact me, or do the research. I’m very big on research. It’s sort of a past time of mine. I’m planning on doing this more often as well with giving tid bits on LGBT history. It’s not LGBT history month, but I don’t care. Next, John Burnside.


Harry Hay and Barbara Gittings interviewed by Vito Russo. Our Time. c.1983. Part 2

LGBTQ* Societies, Groups and Rallies

You Should Know 

The Mattachine Society

Homophile group founded after the Society for Human Rights. The leading voice/publication from a homosexual equality groups during the early stages of LGBTQ* equality in the United States of America. Founded in 1950 by Harry Hay (founder of the Radical Faeries) and other male friends in Los Angeles. 

Powerful Couples: John Burnside & Harry Hay.
“Out of the mists of our long oppression, / We bring love for ourselves and each other, / And love for the gifts we bear, /So heavy and so painful the fashioning of them, /So long the road given us to travel them. A separate people, /We bring a gift to celebrate each other, /’Tis a gift to be gay! / Feel the pride of it!” -Harry Hay