Gay and Lesbian Humanist

Winter 2002-2003

Warren Allen Smith

Gossip from Across the Pond

by Warren Allen Smith

Harry Hay’s death at the age of 90 in Los Angeles reminds one that, long before the 1969 Stonewall riots, Hay in 1950-51, with Rudi Gernreich, Robert Hull, Chuck Rowland and Dale Jennings, founded the Mattachine Society (for masked people, unknown and anonymous). This led to the formation of several chapters for homosexuals and, in 1953, to the founding of One, a magazine that gained a circulation of 5,000.

Will Geer, the actor who was one of Harry’s lovers and who played Grandpa Walton on TV, had been the one who introduced Hay to communist organizing. Together they worked on a general strike that closed the Port of San Francisco in 1934. A disaffected Roman Catholic, Hay co-founded the Radical Faeries, but was ousted when during a parade he carried a NAMBLA sign. His partner of 40 years, John Burnside, survives.

Readers have been helpful in suggesting the names of non-believers who are not included in my two books, Who’s Who in Hell and Celebrities in Hell (Barricade Books). In any second editions, for example, the following is a partial listing (good as well as bad guys) of who might be included along with over 10,000 previously named. Known gays are designated with an ass-to-risk. If you know otherwise, please e-mail me.

Humanist journals generally have been critical of my not having written specifically for their vested interests, resulting in criticisms that focused on their own narrow editorial slant. To date, neither book has yet been disinterestedly evaluated by a critic who discerned the international scope of the two books and their attempt to picture the state of non-theism at the end of the twentieth century. What a pity that Nicolas Walter died just before the books were published, although he did read an early draft of the first, suggesting some profound inclusions.

Will second editions of the books ever come out? In light of my having received so little help from the major rationalist and humanist organizations, few readers have been aware that the project needs input. In short, Harvard’s Houghton Library is receiving my (and also Gore Vidal’s) correspondence, but the task of future listings appears now to be best handled by Celebrity Atheists.

Paul Rudnick, the gay non-theistic author of Jeffrey, upon hearing the Hollywood deal-maker Michael Ovitz’s complaint that a “gay mafia” was largely responsible for engineering his downfall, wrote in the New Yorker that “Lieutenants in the Gay Mafia are usually heavily armed, especially during tank-top season” and “the Gay Mafia’s links to the Catholic Church are extensive and most often begin with the phrase, ‘Jimmy, did you know that the Apostles liked to wrestle?’.”

Sir Ian McKellen was the only non-theist of two dozen celebrities selected by readers of Metrosource NY in a “Special People We Love in 2002” balloting.

Manhattan’s Chelsea men are shocked that Bono is reported in major newspapers as saying of Sting’s anatomy that he has, uh, no visible means for procreation.

URI of this page :
Created : Sunday, 2003-01-12 / Last updated : Wednesday, 2007-12-12
Brett Humphreys :