Jim Steakley: Harry Hay, 1982

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Here are two photos of Harry that I took in 1982, when I gave a slideshow about German gay history at the ONE Institute in Los Angeles.

Left to right: John Burnside, Hay's longtime companion, Hay, [man with beard].

Harry Hay and boyfriends at ONE.jpg

Left to right: Hay, [man with beard?], Burnside.

Harry Hay at ONE.jpg

In the discussion after the slideshow, Harry indicated his disapproval of the way that I'd characterized Adolf Brand and the Gemeinschaft der Eigenen as proto-fascist. Then he walked up to me and put the palm of his hand on my forehead, saying, "You have to learn to see things with the third eye." I thought to myself, "Brother...," but didn't say anything. That was the one and only time I experienced him face-to-face.

I might add that I knew who Harry was primarily from "Gay American History". In 1982, I was struck by the changes in his world view since the time he'd been in the U.S. Communist Party -- or what I took to be the changes.

Jim Steakley is Professor of German at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.