11-02-1916

A Teleidescope

JOHN LYON BURNSIDE, inventor, gay American activist, born (d: 2008);  John, or as he was known in Faerie circles “n’John” for his long-term relationship with Harry Hay – as in “Harry n’John”, was the inventor of the Teleidoscope and the Symmetricon, and was the partner of Mattachine and Radical Faerie founder, Harry Hay for 39 years.

Burnside was sent to an orphanage while still a child because he was caught in sexual play with another little boy. He served briefly in the Navy, and settled in Los Angeles in the 1940s. He married, but had no children. Burnside met Harry in 1962 at ONE Incorporated. They fell in love and became life partners. They formed a group in the early 1960s called the Circle of Loving Companions that promoted gay rights and Gay love.

In 1966 they were major planners of one of the first gay marches, a protest against exclusion of gays in the military, held in Los Angeles. In 1967, they appeared as a couple on the Joe Pyne television show. In the late 1970s, they founded, along with Don Kilhefner, the Radical Faeries. John died of brain cancer in San Francisco, where he had been tended to by members of the Circle of Loving Companions that had taken care of Harry in his final days.