Morris Kight - Humanist, Liberationist, Fantabulist: A Story of Gay Rights and Gay Wrongs Book
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How did the gay movement, which began as a sedate group of intellectuals, become what is arguably the most dynamic civil rights crusade in America? How did a deviant and marginalised fraction of society evolve into powerful, effective, and respected leaders
Morris Kight, a forgotten leader of the early gay rights movement, was the anti-Harvey Milk. He was self-aggrandising, egotistical, and always found the camera. But his style of organising and activism showed the power of the 'influencer' decades before social media brought millions together with a meme.
His work in the 1950s as a part of an underground network of gay 'safe houses' that provided bail, health care, and legal advice was based on his early Socialist beliefs. He then turned his unique charisma and organising skills to the 1960s anti-war movement before deciding to come out of the closet and devote the rest of his life to 'Gay Liberation.
He fostered key relationships with politicians, socialites, and gangsters. He had backroom deals with wealthy business owners and handshake agreements with power brokers. This led to a new quality of life for homosexuals, liberated homo youths and, eventually, led to the first generation of never-closeted Gays.
Knight helped organise the first gay pride parade in the country in 1970. He founded groups that lead seminal protests that resulted in: the American Psychiatric Association removing homosexuality as a disease from its diagnostic manual, protecting civil rights for gay citizens in California, and reducing police violence against the gay community. And for every good thing he did, he took credit for many more.
He was a man who, with his flaws and delusions, managed to alienate as many people as he brought together. His story brings to life his work as remembered by those who loved and loathed him. Mary Ann Cherry befriended Morris Kight in the last decade of his life. She, with Morris' permission, began writing his biography.
Cherry is a Los Angeles based writer whose wide-ranging work includes, television and film producing as well as creating and maintaining the historical archives for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
|Author||Mary Ann Cherry