Friday, April 13, 2012

April 1951

James "John" Finley Gruber Jr.

Konrad Stevens and James Gruber join Harry Hay’s Society of Fools in April, 1951.  That same April, the group changed its name to the Mattachine Society, which was suggested by James Gruber, referring to historic Medieval French secret societies of masked men.   Because of their anonymity wearing the masks, the men felt empowered to criticize the ruling monarchs.  First Missions and Purposes of the Mattachine Society are also written.  Keeping in mind that this was 1951 and homosexuality was not only illegal, but viewed by the mainstream medical society as deviant, the bold primary goals of the society were to:
  • Unify homosexuals who were isolated from their own kind
  • Educate homosexuals and heterosexuals toward an ethical homosexual culture, paralleling the cultures of the Negro, Mexican and Jewish peoples
  • Lead the more socially conscious homosexual to provide leadership to the whole mass of social deviates
  • Assist gays who are victimized daily as a result of oppression
It's reported that James Gruber, the last surviving member of the original Mattachine Society, passed on peacefully at his home in Santa Clara on Monday, February 28, 2011.

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