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Ebook Information

Pre-Gay L.A.

A Social History of the Movement for Homosexual Rights

A rich and definitive history of the gay rights movement's West Coast origins

This book explores the origins and history of the modern American movement for homosexual rights, which originated in Los Angeles in the late 1940s and continues today. Part ethnography and part social history, it is a detailed account of the history of the movement as manifested through the emergence of four related organizations: Mattachine, ONE Incorporated, the Homosexual Information Center (HIC), and the Institute for the Study of Human Resources (ISHR), which began doing business as ONE Incorporated when the two organizations merged in 1995. Pre-Gay L.A. is a chronicle of how one clandestine special interest association emerged as a powerful political force that spawned several other organizations over a period of more than sixty years.

Relying on extended interviews with participants as well as a full review of the archives of the Homosexual Information Center, C. Todd White unearths the institutional histories of the gay and lesbian rights movement and the myriad personalities involved, including Mattachine founder Harry Hay; ONE Magazine editors Dale Jennings, Donald Slater, and Irma Wolf; ONE Incorporated founder Dorr Legg; and many others. Fighting to decriminalize homosexuality and to obtain equal rights, the viable organizations that these individuals helped to establish significantly impacted legal policies not only in Los Angeles but across the United States, affecting the lives of most of us living in America today.

“White details this history for posterity with dedication and attention to detail. For historians and those interested in the evolution of the movement for homosexual rights in Los Angeles, Pre-Gay LA emerges as a valuable reference tool.”--Bay Area Reporter

“White skillfully weaves informative studies of key leaders such as Harry Hay with illuminating analyses of the movement’s overall developments. Highly recommended.”--Choice

"This book reminds us how much we owe to the men and women who, more than half a century ago, bravely stood up against prejudice, how hard they worked, how human they were, and in the end how admirable. Todd White has written a carefully documented account of people and organizations engaged in a struggle for gay rights many years before Stonewall."--Gay & Lesbian Review

"This engaging social history provides a reliable and nuanced account of what happened in the American homophile movement and of those who took on societal prejudice. White has done an exemplary job of integrating the biographies and organizational history."--Stephen O. Murray, author of Homosexualities and American Gay

C. Todd White is a visiting assistant professor of anthropology at James Madison University. He is the editor of San Dieguito and La Jolla: Collected Papers of Claude N. Warren on the Archaeology of Southern California and a coeditor of Before Stonewall: Activists for Gay and Lesbian Rights in Historic Contexts.

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