The Last Gay Liberationist


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And what if the poet wants to talk back to the TV set?

And what if time is a spiral with strange returns and recognitions and never a conclusion?

And what if cocksucking can be an act of revolution?

Famous at the height of Gay Liberation in the 1970s and ’80s as a theorist, writer, activist, and founder of the anarchist gay men’s periodical Fag Rag, Charles “Charley” Shively was mostly forgotten during the last three decades of his life, not unlike the radical social movement to which he gave so much.

Through Fag Rag Shively published his influential essays that theorised homosexuality as a transgressive, liberative force. Shively, along with his Gay Liberation comrades, felt homosexuals should remain outside of the mainstream—that queers were meant to be at the helm of the destruction of society as we know it.

The Last Gay Liberationist is a remembrance and reappraisal of the complicated life and legacy of Charles Shively by long-time friend and fellow activist Michael Bronski.

Michael Bronski has been involved with LGBT politics since 1969 as an activist, organiser, writer, publisher, editor, and independent scholar. He has written numerous articles and books, most recently A Queer History of the United States for Young People (Beacon Press, 2019), and he is the editor of the forthcoming four-volume survey Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History: Critical Readings (Bloomsbury, 2020). He is Professor of the Practice in Media and Activism in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Harvard University, Cambridge, USA.