Harry Hay

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Many consider Harry Hay to be the founder of the American homosexual movement.

Harry Hay (April 7, 1912 – October 24, 2002) was a liberal advocate of statutory rape and the widely acknowledged founder and progenitor of the activist homosexual agenda in the United States. Hay joined the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA) in 1934.[1] Harry Hay was an atheist.[2]

Early life

Born Henry Hay on April 7, 1912, in Worthing, Sussex, England, to Harry Hay, Sr. and Margaret Neall Hay.[3] In 1934, Hay became involved in a homosexual affair with Hollywood actor and fellow CPUSA member Will Geer. He was also involved in flings with other homosexuals over time before entering into an affair with fashion designer Rudi Gernreich, which lasted from 1950 to 1952.


From 1936 to 1938 he worked on the End Poverty in California campaign, the Hollywood Writers’ Mobilization, the American League Against War and Fascism, the Mobilization for Democracy, the Workers’ Alliance of America and Labor’s Non-Partisan League.[4]

In 1950, Hay was a founder of the Mattachine Society.

The original founders of the Mat­tachine Society were all either former CPUSA members or fellow travelers. The first step Hay took in organizing the Mattachine Society was to recommend to the CPUSA that he be expelled in 1951 after eighteen years as a member. Rather than do that in light of his years of service to the party and work as a teacher at the California Labor School,[5] they released him as “a security risk but a life-long friend of the people.” The early leadership of the Foundation shaped the organization to reflect the cell structure of the Communist Party, in which "secrecy, hierarchical structures, and centralized leadership predominated." [6] Hay and his comrades began circulating the anti-war Stockholm Peace petition against the US campaign in the Korean War which was sponsored by the USSR and the East European Communist parties [7] at a homosexual-frequented beach in Los Angeles. Some of the contacts they gained in this way were later organized into their first study and discussion groups. The first months pro­duced hundreds of members.

Advocating of older men having sex with young boys

Hay was a regular speaker at North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) Conferences; NAMBLA continues to carry a special tribute to Hay on its homepage along with his published material. Hay was known for making public statements to justify sexual abuse of minors. In 1983 Hay addressed a NAMBLA conference in New York. Hay said,[8]

Because if the parents and friends of gays are truly friends of gays, they would know from their gay kids that the relationship with an older man is precisely what thirteen-, fourteen-, and fifteen-year-old kids need more than anything else in the world.

Presence at the San Francisco LGBT Pride Parade

Apart from being a fierce advocate of abhorrent behavior, i.e. man/boy "love", Hay was, perceived as "gay rights pioneer", also one of the featured attractions of civic San Francisco "Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender" "Pride" Parade in 2001. He was celebrant number 31 there. [8]

Radical Faeries

In the early 1950s, Hay and his lover, John Burnside, formed a queer spirituality group named Radical Faeries.[9]


  1. The Boston Phoenix, The real Harry Hay, Michael Bronski, October 31 - November 7, 2002.
  2. http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/WTARC/2010/ss_politics0010_01_07.asp
  3. Encyclopedia of Gay and Lesbian Popular Culture
  4. Harry Hay heard ‘siren song of revolution’, Leslie Feinberg, Workers World, Apr 20, 2005.
  5. In Partial Payment Class Struggle, Sexuality and Gay Liberation (1978), by A. Rausch. Retrieved from Urgent Tasks: Journal of the Revolutionary Left, Sojourner Truth Organization Digital Archive , 10 May 2007.
  6. John D'Emilio, Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities: The Making of a Homosexual Minority in the United States (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983), quoted in Martin Meeker, Behind the Mask of Respectability, Journal of the History of Sexuality, (2001) 78-116.
  7. New Russian Evidence on the Korean War Biological Warfare Allegations: Background and Analysis, Milton Leitenberg, Cold War International History Project, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Jeffrey Lord (5 Oct 2006). When Nancy Met Harry When Nancy Met Harry. The American Spectator. Retrieved on 15 Jul 2018. “Celebrant number 31 was the late Harry Hay. Harry, it seems, was quite the guy. In fact, it is not too much to say that he was famous in San Francisco. He was famous not only as a founder of the gay rights movement, for his one-time relationship with actor Will Geer (who played Grandpa Walton on The Waltons TV series,) he was also known for being featured in the 1976 documentary film of gay life titled Word Is Out. When he died the following year after the parade, at 90, the New York Times Magazine featured him in “The Lives They Lived,” its annual pictorial salute to famous Americans who had passed away during the preceding year. In addition to laudatory obits in both the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, the Chronicle did a considerably flattering obituary. “Harry Hay, gay rights pioneer, dies at 90.” The paper favorably notes a number of things in Harry’s life, including his left-leaning politics, his connection with the Communist Party in the 1930s and his founding of “The Mattachine Society,” a group the Chronicle calls “the first sustained homosexual rights organization in the United States.” Fair enough. The Chronicle, however, left something else out of the obituary entirely. It was a very strong belief held by Harry Hay that, if one is to believe all the attention devoted to Harry on the Internet, was common knowledge in San Francisco. Harry Hay was a fierce advocate of man/boy love. While The Chronicle simply ignored Harry’s views, the North American Man/Boy Love Association was only too delighted to put up a collection of Harry’s views on the need for young boys to have older men as sexual partners. Here’s just a sample taken from a talk at a New York University forum sponsored by a campus gay group in 1983. Said Harry: “Because if the parents and friends of gays are truly friends of gays, they would know from their gay kids that the relationship with an older man is precisely what thirteen-, fourteen-, and fifteen-year-old kids need more than anything else in the world.” In short, San Francisco’s beloved Harry Hay was a vigorous and well-known advocate of older men having sex with young boys. He was a fearless and quite famous advocate for Congressman Mark Foley’s behavior.”
  9. Lillian Faderman (2015). "12. Say it proud – and loud: New gay politics", The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle. Simon and Schuster, 204. ISBN 9781451694116. 

See also