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Letter: I was among the original gay pioneers

Katy Burns’s lengthy column, “Whole milk marriage, or skim?” in the Sunday Monitor’s Easter morning edition made some interesting and helpful points regarding the gay issue. The colorful cartoon atop the headline was great!

But Burns does not know her early American gay history. The gay rights movement in America did not begin with the Stonewall riot in 1969, as she indicated. It began 18 years earlier in 1951 with publication of Donald Webster Cory’s book, The Homosexual in America.

Next month I turn 90 and may be the last of the original gay pioneers, 1951-69. Those 18 years before Stonewall also included my 1960 award-winning book, Christ and the Homosexual. There was also the first gay picket line in 1965, where I was the only clergy and wearing my clerical color.

It was our generation that unlocked the tightly sealed doors (designed to keep us in the closet), so the Stonewall generation could push them open so today’s GLBT can walk through the now-unlocked and open doors with pride.

On Easter 2012, the Sunday Monitor published a three-column headline that said, “Gay pioneer’s book a profile in courage.” In Christ and the Homosexual, I was the first person to call for same-sex marriages and said I would perform them, and have done so over the years. That was nine years before Stonewall, Katy Burns.

Oh yes, my next same-sex marriage is scheduled for June 1, here in New Hampshire.



Legacy Comments1

Rev. Wood; Actually, you don't know your LGBT history, either. The gay rights movement started a lot earlier than the 1950s.Donald Webster Cory was a book that brought a lot of homosexuals together but I suggest you read "Leading the Parade" by Paul D. Cain. Dorr Legg and Harry Hay predate Cory by a good 6 years alone but Lisa Ben was more than 10 years ahead of anyone! She wrote a simple newsletter in Hollywood that became the model for ONE magazine, The Ladder and The Mattachine Review which wouldn't be printed until almost 15 years later. Also, gay marriage was NEVER the goal of the majority of the original gay pioneers. Most of them could have cared less about whether we could marry or not. The focus was and always should have been full equality.

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