One of Hay's strengths, to me, is the fact that he comes out of a different tradition than the post-structuralist philosophical one which is prevalent these days. Hay was able to talk about the experience of being queer and of what the possible social implications of that might be by taking the philosophical material he got as an instructor in Marxism for the Communist Party, particularly that deriving from Engel's work "On Private Property and the Family", and extending and extending it, modifying it here, dropping some of the dogmatic features of that type of Marxist thought along the way and instead integrating the lived experience of being queer and spirituality into a heady mix which gives insight both for queer people, focussing on queer men, themselves about themselves and of the role that gays and lesbians play and have played in society throughout history, how capitalism shapes the queer experience, looking at homophobia as being a reinforcer of patriarchy and ultimately...
Harry Hay is one of the fathers of American gay rights. But this is not essentialist idol-praising. Hay was a big part of the big pre-Stonewall organization, Mattachine Society. He was a strong Communist, back when it was risky to be one. In addition, Hay knows a lot about gender theory and gay history and such. He's a sage. Will Roscoe has written a number of important gay books, especially concerning gay Native Americans. Basically, this is an important historical subject written by a strong gay author. You should peep this book if you can.
Autobiographical collection of papers of Harry Hay gives a clear idea of the early years when Gay Rights became recognized as a human rights issue to gay men and women. Hay provided leadership to start a movement that continues today. Now days we take so many of our rights for granted and do not know how gay people were treated in the past. As a gay man I am pleased to recognized that the gay movement is part of my heritage and I am proud to be part of it..
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