1929-04-28

JOHN PAUL HUDSON, Gay activist, “born” (d: 1992); With all the humility his detractors claim he lacked, John Paul Hudson called himself “a militant Gay journalist of the earliest days of Gay Liberation movement.” But that description is no more complete than would be calling a laboratory skeleton a living human being.

Hudson was a pioneer of the Gay press, a contributor to a half dozen of the earliest Gay periodicals beginning with Gay in 1969 and The Advocate in 1970, and including David, Gaysweek, NewsWest, Flash and Vector. He organized the first Gay Pride March in the wake of the Stonewall riots. In the years following Stonewall, he was a tireless organizer, his growing radicalism more and more reflected in his writing as he himself became increasingly disillusioned with the “organized Gay community” he’d helped to bring about.

Like many radicals he was pure of heart and intolerant of hypocrisy. Unlike most radicals, he was not self-righteous. Like all radicals he was unwilling to allow history the necessary time to catch up with itself, insisting that all social changes must be effected NOW. No wonder he became disillusioned.

More than three decades ago, Hudson (as “John Francis Hunter”) gave us those eccentric and literate guides, The Gay Insider (1971) and The Gay Insider USA (1972). Without them there could have been no States of Desire, no Gayellow Pages. John Paul Hudson was, in short, an innovator, with a spirit as impatient as his flesh was attractive.

Today, incidentally, is not his birthday, as some might report. That is March 21. But, according to Hudson, it is the anniversary of his awakening as a born-again radical (1970) and is thus commemorated here. He died in 2002 in Honesdale, PA.