Harry Hay

American gay rights activist (1912-2002)

Henry "Harry" Hay, Jr. (April 7, 1912 – October 24, 2002) was an American LGBT, labor, and Marxist activist, best known for his role in the creation of the Gay Liberation movement in the 1960s.

Harry Hay in September 2000

Quotes edit

Our goal is total liberation life is for the living. We are alive! We want all to be alive! Sex is a sure cure of boredom and an antidote to violence that is so American. Power to the People!
  • We, the Androgynes of the world, have formed this responsible corporate body to demonstrate by our efforts that our physiological and psychological handicaps need be no deterrent in integrating 10% of the world's population towards the constructive social progress of mankind.
    • "We, the Androgynes of the World" (July 7th, 1950)
    • Radically Gay: Gay Liberation in the words of its Founder (1996)
  • The Society, founded upon the highest ethical and social principles, serves as an example for homosexuals to follow, and provides a dignified standard upon which the rest of society can base a more intelligent and accurate picture of the nature of homosexuality than currently obtains in the public mind. The Society provides the instrument necessary to work with civic minded and social valuable organizations, and supplies the means for the assistance of our people whoa re victimized daily as a result of our oppression. Only a Society providing an enlightened leadership can rouse the homosexuals - one of the largest minorities in America today - to take the actions necessary to elevate themselves from the social ostracism an unsympathetic culture has perpetrated upon them.
    • Mattachine Society Missions and Purposes"
  • The Mattachine Society holds it possible and desirable that a highly ethical homosexual culture emerge, as a consequence ofits work, paralleling the emerging cultures of our fellow-minorities - the Negro, Mexican, and Jewish Peoples. The Society believes homosexuals can lead well adjusted, wholesome, and socially productive lives once ignorance and prejudice against hem is successfully combated, and once homosexuals themselves feel they have a dignified and useful role to ply in society. The Society, to these ends, is in the process of developing a homosexual ethic- disciplined, moral, and socially responsible.
    • Mattachine Society Missions and Purposes (1956)
  • We are coming more and more to realize that the morally healthy person is he who is capable of realizing his sexual nature to its fullest potential for growth. Contemporary modes of discourse quite agree that such realizations require persons to be able to relate to none another on a subject-to-subject basis.
    • The Homosexual's Responsibility to the Community (1967)
  • 1969 was the Year of the New Homosexual.
    • Statement of Purpose: Gay Liberation Front (Dec. 1969)
  • We are in total opposition to America's white racism, to poverty, hunger, the systematic destruction of our patrimony; we oppose the rich getting richer, the poor getting poorer, and are in total opposition to wars of aggression and imperialism, whoever pursues them. We support the demands of Blacks, Chicanos, Orientals, Women, Youth, Senior Citizens, and others demands their full rights as human beings. We join in their struggle, and shall actively seek coalition to pursue these goals.
    • Statement of Purpose: Gay Liberation Front (Dec. 1969)
  • We say that homosexuality is a perfectly natural state, a fact, a way of life, and that we enjoy our sexuality, without feelings of inferiority or guilt. We seek and find love, and approach love, as a feeling of loving mutuality.
    • Statement of Purpose: Gay Liberation Front (Dec. 1969)
  • Our goal is total liberation life is for the living. We are alive! We want all to be alive! Sex is a sure cure of boredom and an antidote to violence that is so American. Power to the People!
    • Statement of Purpose: Gay Liberation Front (Dec. 1969)
  • We Homosexuals know much about ourselves that we've never talked about = even to our selves. History knows much about us that it doesn't know it knows - but we could recognize it if we would look. Myth and Legend, Tradition and Folk-ways know much about us that has been deliberately obscured by endless politically motivated Conspiracies of Silence - 'which we can explode if we will.
    • "A Spirit Called Freedom" (Feb. 1970)
  • Though ethics are arrived at by the group, they are meaningful only when applied by the individual himself. It is essential that Homosexuals begin to direct their thinking in this way. Ghetto walls ca be knocked down, but cooperation is essential. There are, however, difficulties to be overcome. Those in greatest need are sometimes the most reluctant to help each other or themselves, tending rather to think of personal experiences as things apart from mutual effort toward betterment.
    • Social Directions of the Homosexual (1951)
  • Homosexuals do not understand themselves and thus it is not surprising that heterosexuals do not understand them ether.
    • Social Directions of the Homosexual (1951)
  • …In that time, you aren't a gay person, you aren't a homosexual person, you're a degenerate. And what you were suffering from was what was known as ostracism. Ostracism means you don't exist at all. And that's a very difficult situation to live with. As gay people, we had been chasing ostracism by that point for probably 300 years. You just knew that you should have dropped into your black hole.
  • …it was not in the dictionary. I've always said, "If I had the sense I was born with and looked it up in the legal code, I would have found it." And it was in the penal code, of course. It wouldn't be in any American dictionary until 1938. And in most American dictionaries not until the Second World War. We had no words for ourselves. That's the important point--we didn't have words...
  • …I always say to people, "If you share my dream, why don't we walk together?" And that's my only organizing tool.
  • I knew that I was gay in every bone of my body. So I did the only thing I could do. I started the movement.

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