In 1950, in the midst of America’s most conservative decade, Harry Hay started the Mattachine Society, the country’s first successful gay liberation organization. Harry’s ideas would become the guiding principles of the US gay rights movement.

Harry began his activist life in the 1930’s fighting for worker’s rights in the labor movement. Soon after meeting fellow activist Will Geer, Harry became an active member of the Communist Party and a celebrated Marxist teacher. While later abandoned by most activists, at that time the Party was on the cutting edge of social change in the US. As fellow activist Frank Pestana says, “They were fighting for workmen’s comp, job security, medical care, social security - all the things that we have now.”

It was Harry’s experience organizing in these activist movements that gave him the tools he needed to create a secret, underground homosexual organization in Los Angeles. In a climate of extreme oppression, Mattachine provided enough safety and security for homosexuals to gather together and take steps towards their own liberation. The Mattachine Society would eventually spread to major cities across the country.

Decades later, in 1979, as the gay rights movement began losing its edge, Harry and three others called for the first Spiritual Gathering of Radical Faeries, reaching out to activists across the country. This first gathering launched a movement of Radical Faeries that is now active across the US and around the world. Radical Faeries often meet in rural areas, offering an alternative to mainstream queer culture. Radical Faerie sanctuaries now exist in the US, Canada and Europe.

Harry continued his social change work until the very end, speaking out, organizing, and inspiring a new generation in the fight for justice and equality. Harry passed away in 2002.

For more on Harry Hay, please see Stuart Timmons’ biography, The Trouble with Harry Hay , and Will Roscoe’s curated collection of Harry’s writings and essays, Radically Gay : Gay Liberation in the Words of Its Founder.



Hope along the Wind debuted to a sold out Castro Theater in 2001. The film went on to win awards in Seattle, Philadelphia, & Dallas as well as a Golden Gate Award at the SF International Film Festival and a Bay Area Emmy nomination.

The film had its broadcast premiere on PBS in June of 2002. Hope along the Wind was directed by Eric Slade, produced by Jack Walsh, and edited by Dawn Logsdon.

Eric Slade is an independent producer/director in Portland, Oregon. He is a frequent contributor to the national PBS schedule, working on series such as History Detectives and Great Lodges of the National Parks. ericslade.com

His most recent film, with Stephen Silha, is Big Joy, The Adventures of James Broughton, a wild exploration of joy and the authentic artistic path, told through the life story of avant garde filmmaker and poet James Broughton. bigjoy.org

Jack Walsh is an independent filmmaker and producer in San Francisco. Jack’s works have screened around the world at film festivals and through broadcast. His current project, Feelings Are Facts: The Life of Yvonne Rainer is a feature length documentary about the pioneering choreographer and filmmaker.

Jack is currently the Executive Director of the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture. He is the principal investigator of Mapping the Field: A National Survey of Media Arts Organizations, which he launched in 2010. namac.org

Dawn Logsdon edited the Academy Award-nominated Weather Underground; Sundance and Emmy award-winning Paragraph 175; and the Peabody and Emmy award-winning The Castro.

She recently made her feature-length directing debut with Faubourg Tremé: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, won numerous Best Documentary awards, and broadcast nationally on PBS in 2008. She is currently working on Free for All, a feature length documentary that will chronicle a year inside a busy urban public library, San Francisco Public Library. freeforall.org