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Mattachine January 64 cover by Chuck Arnett

Undesirable Elements: New York City’s Gay Press Before Stonewall, 1960-1969: A Talk with Ben Miller

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Event:
Undesirable Elements: New York City’s Gay Press Before Stonewall, 1960-1969: A Talk with Ben Miller
Start:
February 15, 2014 7:00 PM
End:
February 15, 2014 9:00 PM
Organizer:
Greg
Phone:
646 457 0859
contact@bgsqd.com
Updated:
January 22, 2014
Venue:
Bureau of General Services–Queer Division
Phone:
646 457 0859
Address:
Google Map
83A Hester St., New York, NY, 10002, United States
Mattachine January 64 cover by Chuck Arnett

Undesirable Elements: New York City’s Gay Press Before Stonewall, 1960-1969

In July 1969, readers of the New York Mattachine Newsletter (put out by New York Mattachine, the city’s largest and oldest formal gay group) found five mimeographed sheets inserted into their copies of the magazine. Titled, “The Hairpin Drop Heard Around The World,” the article summarized the events of the Stonewall riots: the 1am bar bust, the accumulating crowd, and the decision to fight back, concluding with the following declaration: “Homosexuals are tired of waiting. After all, we can’t be put off with the old line that things will improve in the next generation and our children will lead better, happier lives. Most of us aren’t going to have children, and we have to struggle to make our own lives better. If the traditional means of winning reform cannot work in this age…then possibly the only place for those of us who care about reform is in the streets.”  How did the gay movement arrive at this point, and how did periodicals like the New York Mattachine Newsletter aid in the construction of physical communities and constitute communities in themselves? This talk will explore those questions by examining periodicals aimed at gay men in New York City during the 1960s, discussing how physique magazines cloaked their queer objectives while creating consumer communities, and how organizations used public and private periodicals to bolster physical communities and create communities of print.

 

Ben Miller is a New York-based writer and student of history. Current projects include thesis research on early gay activist Harry Hay that has taken him to archives in California and conferences from Pennsylvania to New Mexico, an adaptation of an early Mozart libretto for performance at Carnegie Hall, and new short fiction influenced by his historical research. His teachers in history and writing have included Linda Gordon, K. Kevyne Baar, Marcelle Clements, and Jonathan Safran Foer. His academic writing has appeared in Historian, College Film and Media Studies, and the Chicago Journal of History; and his short fiction has appeared in Brio, Studio on the Square, and West 10th. He is editor or co-editor of several publications, co-founder of Squid Ink Magazine (launching soon), and serves on the communications committee of the New York City Anti-Violence Project. He tweets @benwritesthings.

 

 

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