John Lauritsen and David Thorstad, The Early Homosexual Rights Movement

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THE EARLY HOMOSEXUAL RIGHTS MOVEMENT (1864-1935)

John Lauritsen and David Thorstad. New York: Times Change Press, 1974.

First edition. Paperback, 91 [v] pp. Lower cover with a few dents, otherwise in very good condition.

ABOUT THIS BOOK

A short and sweet guide to what Lauritsen and Thorstead describe as the century of gay liberation struggle preceding the Stonewall Riots: “1969 marks a rebirth, an anniversary—indeed, one might say the 100th anniversary of gay liberation.” The authors begin with a letter written by Hungarian doctor K. M. Kertbeny in 1869 protesting Prussian penal codes that criminalized homosexuality, and trace the continental European movements that flourished due to the efforts of men like  Karl Heinrich Ulrichs and Magnus Hirschfeld, the influence of their thought in England in the United States, and the demise of the movement due to the rise of Nazism, Stalinism, and their relationship to Western Imperialist forces. An important history that attempts to build solidarity between the aftermath of the Stonewall Riots and earlier revolutionary struggle, by an important small press whose foundation was inspired by a similar sense of solidarity. A Note To Our Readers,” published on the inside of the front and back covers, describes the work of the press—co-founded by Lauritsen, also a founding member of the Gay Liberation Front—as a site for building a common political struggle: 

“From the beginning our desire has been to expand the arena of liberation…Among  people and societies, there is commonality and there is difference.  We would like TCP to help further what can be shared and help us respect what cannot…For us, now, utopia is being as happy and free in whatever situation one finds oneself. Times Change Press is one such space for us and we hope it furthers you in yours, for by enhancing our personal utopias we invigorate the world and the universe.”

FUTHER READING

“The Home Page of John Lauritsen,” http://paganpressbooks.com/jpl/ 

Brooke Palmieri