Friday, March 31st, 2023

Ed Alwood’s article in Journalism History is excellent

Billy GloverSeptember 27, 2015

Regarding Edward Alwood’s article, “The Role of Public Relations in the Gay Rights Movement, 1950–1969,” published in Journalism History vol. 4 issue 1 last spring:

I hope this gets lots of coverage, because as is pointed out, it was/is media that helped get the movement known.

(I do think I read the article so fast I may have missed lots, but I thought a few things I would add that I think interesting. 

I do not think you cover the “fall out” of the Mattachine Convention in Denver in 1959.  It got great publicity, but it cost the leaders there their jobs, and that chapter of Mattachine died. And the “plant,” thanks to the San Francisco mayoral race, backfired and got the mayor reelected. I was there and did not think that the unknown person who suggested thanking Mayor Christopher might be an agent of the opposition (Wolden).  It got Mattachine good publicity.

I think what Frank Kameny and Randy Wicker, et al., did on the East Coast, some people, like Morris Kight and a few others did on the West Coast (use the press/media). Morris took on a publicity thing others had started and used/fooled the press with the “idea” of us taking over a California county (Alpine).

It was the Homosexual Information Center that sponsored the picketing of the Los Angeles Times, over the rejection of the ad for a play, The Geese.  I was there, and it was fun. Morris loved it too.

It is relevant to point out that you point out that two early leading activists, Wicker and Nichols, had to change their names, to “protect” their families.

Although it has been pointed out that, technically, Don Slater and Tony Reyes were not members of Mattachine when they founded ONE magazine, ONE, Inc., did “come out” of Mattachine [through Dale Jennings, Martin Block, and W. Dorr Legg] so there is a continuous connection, and ONE did cover Mattachine and helped publicize the next movement publications, Mattachine Review and The Ladder.

I do think any more “coverage” might include NACHO, and it was at the Chicago conference that Kameny promoted his slogan (Gay is Good).  Although I did not feel it was important — I was wrong —  but I think we all voted for it.  (Later I thought that discussion was like Dale Jennings’ version of the discussion that got them the name Mattachine.)

Thank you for writing this and please get it seen, as it will reach people who will not read a book, especially an “educational” one.

About The Author


  1. Ed Alwood

    Thank you for your email and for your comments.

    I realize that the article has gaps. Unfortunately, the journal has a very strict length of 25 pages and some of those pages must include literature review that is part of academic research criteria. The article was previously rejected by the Journal of PR Research. I had hoped to get the attention of PR types but apparently they didn’t care for the subject. I was pleased that the Journalism History journal found it acceptable.

    By the way, I don’t know if you are aware of a project that Dustin Lance Black has been working on for one of the networks (maybe ABC). According to his account, it will be a history of the movement from after Stonewall. He mentioned in a talk that he simply doesn’t identify with activists who wore coats and ties. I’m concerned that his miniseries will leave the impression among viewers that the movement began with Stonewall. I’ll let you know if I hear more about this. You may want to be on the lookout.



  2. Billy Glover

    Thanks. As to Black, et al, I have always had a generic thought that others have said, often in jest. All news is good, even if bad.

    Any discussion of our movement is good, hopefully not internal and fussing at each other. The general public just needs to hear it existed. I think you did that.

    Has there been response? Will it be reprinted or mentioned in our media? It would be a great introduction to serious Queer Studies in college courses. It is what the lgbt groups at most colleges should “hear.”

    BUT I do think we have to expose journalists, historians, etc who distort our history, unless they say that they are coming from a specific view/motive.

    It does make a difference to future citizens if they are told that someone or some group or event is what caused a great change (made history) and that is not true.

Comments are closed.