Hugh Ryan

Who Gets to Write Gay Rights Into the History Books?

I was a sophomore in high school when Rodney Wilson, a courageous high school teacher in Missouri, came out to his class and reimagined October as National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month. And while I lived in a fairly progressive town within an afternoon’s drive of New York City, we never got that memo. My education about gay life – and what it meant to be part of the larger LGBTQ community – took place mainly on the nascent internet (like soc.motss, the massive newsgroup for “members of the same sex” started on Usenet in 1983). Once I got to college, I was guided by some slightly older queer peers and a few out profs – my own personal Rodney Wilsons – but it was still a largely self-directed process.

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