John Rechy

American writer

John Francisco Rechy (born March 10, 1931) is an American novelist, essayist, memoirist, dramatist and literary critic.


  • I was bewildered. I did nothing at all to promote the book, even to the extent of denying that I wrote it. I felt that if I left the streets as soon as I had some success, I'd be betraying the world that I wrote about. And the truth is that I couldn't give it up. I'd been hustling for so long that it was a habit.
  • Every character in City of Night has a strong antecedent…Miss Destiny was very real. That was the name she used, and all those stories were based on my recollections of her. We kept in touch for a few years after the book came out; she'd ring me in the middle of the night, saying she was with one of her 'husbands' who didn't believe she could be a character in a famous novel. Then some boozy voice would come on, and I'd have to say 'Yes, that really is the fabulous Miss Destiny'. After a few years the calls stopped, so I guess Miss Destiny is now rattling her beads in God's face, like she always said she would.
  • You have to understand what the world was like back then. Being queer was very dangerous, and there was a lot of stigma about it. Even when I was hustling, it took me a long time to realise myself as a gay man. It's hard to accept that some of us, at one time or another, had heterosexual feelings. I certainly did. I emerged very slowly into homosexuality, despite the way I was living.
  • …Pershing Square was a gathering of denizens of every type, the gospel people would preach, hustlers would hustle, queens would camp. It was an incredible array of society. There was a cop there that ruled it, I mean as if he was the king. And he was a terror. And if he saw anybody there whom he had not seen, you went downstairs to a little place that was kind of secret. It was very, very weird downstairs, a little room where he would interview you without saying that he suspected you of anything. If it looked like you were hustling or the queens or whatever he would go there and hassle you.
  • I cannot tell you what it does to me to hear pre-Stonewall. And even in our literature, even in the art, pre-Stonewall, post-Stonewall. I wrote three books pre-Stonewall and a dozen more post-Stonewall. There’s no demarcation. Gay history is centuries and centuries from the Romans to the Greeks to Oscar Wilde to all kinds of outrages. And those seem to be put back and pre-Stonewall is passive. Post-Stonewall is brave and dignified. I actually have heard things like that…
  • We confuse gay liberation with straight imitation. Straightness is our goal. This pushes us away from the uniqueness that is the gay experience.

External linksEdit

Wikipedia has an article about: