[Updated 1995 Press release from Times Change Press.]

Cover of The Early Homosexual Rights Movement (1864-1935)

Pioneering Book On Early Gay History Reissued

The Early Homosexual Rights Movement (1864-1935). Revised Edition by John Lauritsen and David Thorstad, ISBN 0-87810-041-5, illustrated, 128 pp, bibliography & index; $9.95, paperback.  Published by TIMES CHANGE PRESS, Ojai, CA, 1995.

This new edition of a book originally published in 1974 has been substantially amended and updated, with the addition of an afterword. It also newly includes the text of a historic 1928 speech by Kurt Hiller, an outspoken German defender of gay rights, addressed to the Second International Conference for Sexual Reform, held in Copenhagen.

The Early Homosexual Rights Movement (1864-1935) begins with an account of such early German writers as Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, Karoly Maria Kertbeny (German-Hungarian), and Magnus Hirschfeld, the Berlin physician who in 1897 co-founded the Scientific Humanitarian Committee — the first gay liberation organization — which endured for 36 years, until it was snuffed out by the rise of Nazism. The book follows the spread of movements for gay rights to other parts of Europe, England, and the United States. The antigay role of the Stalinists is described, as well as that of the Nazis. The stories of Oscar Wilde, Sir Richard Burton, Walt Whitman, and Edward Carpenter are included.

At the time of its first publication, the book was hailed as “a landmark in gay awareness because it reveals the presence of gay pride a century before the current movement began.” (Sammy Staggs in Library Journal) Choice described it as “highly readable and of interest to both professionals and nonprofessionals.”

It also won kudos from leading scholars and literary figures:

A very useful beginning in the difficult job of unearthing information about the “first” gay rights movement.... A vital new historical perspective.
            — Martin Duberman

Thorstad and Lauritsen ... have begun to enlighten our darkness.
            — Eric Bentley

A book like this is of immense value.... It is a reminder to other minorities that homosexuals are their brother-victims of persecution. And, to the vast, unthinking but not heartless majority of heterosexuals, it is a challenge.
            — Christopher Isherwood 

David Thorstad is a former president of New York's Gay Activists Alliance and is active in other gay organizations; he is a book editor. John Lauritsen has been active in the gay movement since he joined the Gay Liberation Front in the summer of 1969; he is a retired survey research analyst.

TIMES CHANGE PRESS was an independent publisher of books and posters pertaining to social and philosophic questions — founded in New York City in 1970. It is apparently no longer in business.