"A lively look at the life of a civil rights hero, as revealed by his letters. . . . This collection is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of the gay rights movement."—Publishers Weekly
"Based on the compelling testimony Long uncovers, a convincing case could be made that Kameny's name should be uttered in the same breath as Harvey Milk's."—Brian Bromberger, Bay Area Reporter
"The LGBT movement has been blessed with an amazing array of passionate, provocative, colorful, dedicated, and sometimes infuriating women and men. Frank Kameny is certainly one of the most important. Michael Long’s magnificent book captures the breadth of the movement and the specificity of Kameny’s life and importance."—Michael Bronski, Harvard University
"Michael Long has edited a compelling, important, and fascinating collection of letters from one of the American gay movement’s most influential and stubborn activists. . . . The letters are a joy to read."—Craig Loftin, California State University, Fullerton
"A truly remarkable story of a born activist."—New York Journal of Books
"Through these letters, editor Michael G. Long presents a coherent narrative of Kameny's battles for gay and lesbian equality."—The Gay and Lesbian Review
"Thanks to Long’s fine exposition in the introduction to Gay is Good and his subtly crafted assemblage of Kameny’s letters, more individuals, both young and old, can dive in and see not only a brother in arms but also the very definition of an individual who came from humble beginnings to rise up, experience injustice in the world, and fight his entire life to change it."—Lambda Literary
"The nation’s interpreters of our collective and diverse histories would do well to give Michael G. Long’s Gay is Good a thorough reading."—Washington History
"What a joy to read—and in some cases reread."—Journal of the History of Sexuality
Contrary to popular notions, today’s LGBT movement did not begin with the Stonewall riots in 1969. Long before Stonewall, there was Franklin Kameny (1925–2011), one of the most significant figures in the gay rights movement. Beginning in 1958, he encouraged gay people to embrace homosexuality as moral and healthy, publicly denounced the federal government for excluding homosexuals from federal employment, openly fought the military’s ban against gay men and women, debated psychiatrists who depicted homosexuality as a mental disorder, identified test cases to advance civil liberties through the federal courts, acted as counsel to countless homosexuals suffering state-sanctioned discrimination, and organized marches for gay rights at the White House and other public institutions. In Gay Is Good, Long collects Kameny’s historically rich letters, revealing some of the early stirrings of today’s politically powerful LGBT movement.
These letters are lively and colorful because they are in Kameny’s inimitable voice—a voice that was consistently loud, echoing through such places as the Oval Office, the Pentagon, and the British Parliament, and often shrill, piercing to the federal agency heads, military generals, and media personalities who received his countless letters. This volume collects approximately 150 letters from 1958 to 1975, a critical period in Kameny’s life during which he evolved from a victim of the law to a vocal opponent of the law, to the voice of the law itself. Long situates these letters in context, giving historical and biographical data about the subjects and events involved. Gay Is Good pays tribute to an advocate whose tireless efforts created a massive shift in social attitudes and practices, leading the way toward equality for the LGBT community.
Michael G. Long is the author and editor of several books on politics, religion, and civil rights. He is the editor, most recently, of Beyond Home Plate: Jackie Robinson on Life after Baseball.
6 x 9, 400 pages, 15 black and white illustrations