Good-bye and thank you John Gruber

Timothy Kincaid

March 22nd, 2011

The last member of the original Mattachine Society has died. (SFGN)

In April of 1951, Gruber and his boyfriend Konrad “Steve” Stevens attended a meeting hosted by a gay advocacy group soon to be known as the Mattachine Society. Soon Gruber and Stevens were invited to join the other founders: Harry Hay, Rudi Gernreich, Chuck Rowland, Bob Hull and Dale Jennings. According to historian John D’Emilio, it was Gruber who suggested the name Mattachine Society for the new group, inspired by Hay’s talk about medieval “mattachines.”

“Gruber and Stevens were the only two of the original seven without strong left-wing ties or sympathies,” wrote the historian John Loughery, “but their physical charm, youth, and eagerness made them highly desirable additions and a speedy and significant difference in attracting new members.” Gruber readily embraced his “newly chosen family,” and brokered a meeting between the Society and Gruber’s famous friends Isherwood and Hooker.

Gruber was 23 when he joined Mattachine and I’m sure he had no idea how this little group of sexual outlaws and political outcasts with quirky personalities and no template to follow would place the first stones in what would be the foundation for a world-wide gay political movement.

(Bay Area Reporter Obituary)


March 22nd, 2011

I remember reading about this group in Eric Marcus’ book, Making History. All American sexual minority people owe these men a debt.

Mark F.

March 22nd, 2011

Wow, how the world has changed in 61 years. I’m sure more than anyone thought possible.

Thanks and RIP.

Regan DuCasse

March 23rd, 2011

Indeed. Respect must be paid. There are several places I like to bring visitors to LA.
And three of them are museums and educational centers around civil rights pioneers and the history of social progress.

The ONE Institute is that kind of place.It’s the archive of gay and lesbian history in America, and Los Angeles icons of that movement in particular. Ever interesting is the evolution of gay and lesbian news and social publications.

There is much to admire about the Mattachine Society, and also about people of color who were part of that history. Such as Ruth Ellis.

Some of us straight allies are grateful as well to these important travelers.
It is from them we learned so much and how to support and fight for our beloved gay friends.


March 23rd, 2011

My heartfelt thanks to John Gruber. He had the courage and the conviction to stand up and demand equality at a time when no one dared challange society’s judgement.

joe Hanley

March 23rd, 2011

Au Revoire Good man

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