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Martha Shelley

Gay Is Good

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Part of the The Bedford Series in History and Culture book series (BSHC)


Martha Shelley was a founder of New York’s Gay Liberation Front. She had been active in the Daughters of Bilitis, a lesbian homophile group organized in the 1950s, but was frustrated by its caution. Her satirical, defiant style was typical of the gay liberation movement. At the August 26, 1970, Women’s Strike for Equality rally in New York City, Shelley protested the fact that no lesbian had been invited to speak by forcing her way onto the, stage to address the crowd. The essay reprinted here, written in 1969, describes the desire to “come out” — to celebrate gayness without worrying about whether it made heterosexuals uneasy. It inspired thousands of gays around the country.

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© 2005 Bedford/St. Martin’s

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Gosse, V. (2005). Martha Shelley. In: The Movements of the New Left, 1950–1975. The Bedford Series in History and Culture. Palgrave Macmillan, New York.

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  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, New York

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-349-73428-3

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-137-04781-6

  • eBook Packages: Palgrave History CollectionHistory (R0)