06/08/2013 10:21 am ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Queer Historian Martin Duberman On Stonewall & His New Book

The Slant

By 1969, Martin Duberman, one of the founding fathers of LGBT studies in the academy, had spent nearly two decades in reparative therapy, desperately trying to stamp out his same-sex desires. It took a seminal moment in gay American history—the Stonewall Riots—to compel Duberman, then 39, to defiantly and resolutely reject the psychological establishment’s “cure” for homosexuality. “I don’t remember a sudden revelation,” the 83-year old recalled in a recent interview with The Slant, “but it was close to one.”

From his art-filled, book-stacked apartment in New York City’s gay enclave, Chelsea, Duberman reminisced about those heady days in the 60s and 70s when social movements–Black Power, Women’s Lib, Free Love–rebelled against the status quo and galvanized queers to start their own revolution: “After the rioting, the first gay organizations sprung up: Gay Liberation Front and Alternate You. I quit therapy and started participating in all the activism around gay rights.”

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