We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.



Since the mid-1970s, when the polished, mainstream gay rights movement emerged from the radical gay liberation movement of the 1960s, many gay activists have tried to play down those far-left roots. It’s ironic, then, that probably the country’s earliest gay rights advocate, Harry Hay, was a card-carrying Communist. As a teacher, musician, and leftist activist, Hay tried to start a Los Angeles gay organization as early as 1948, to be known, quaintly, as “Bachelors for [Henry] Wallace,” the progressive presidential candidate. That effort failed, but Hay would go on to organize the first major national gay group. Since the 1940s, Hay has moved on from communism to Native American and new-age spiritualism, and he has urged gays to adopt a “radical faerie vision.” Now an editor has assembled Radically Gay: Gay Liberation in the Words of Its Founder; the book is a collection of Hay’s writings and rantings, which is unfortunate, since a biography of his weird and fascinating life would be far more entertaining. Meet Hay at 6 p.m. at Lambda Rising, 1625 Connecticut Ave. NW. FREE. (202) 462-6969. (John Cloud)