Gay activist Arthur Evans dies at 68Breaking News, Top Highlights Thursday, September 15th, 2011
LGBT communities throughout the United States are mourning the loss of gay pioneer Arthur Evans who died in San Francisco over the weekend. Evans died due to complications from cardiovascular disease.
Evans forged the road for many other gay rights activists, beginning first in New York City, later settling in where he’d call home, San Francisco. Evans would be later be known for joining the Gay Liberation Front, later leaving the group to start the Gay Activists Alliance alongside Marty Robinson and Jim Owles in 1969.
Memorable messages from the group’s mission statement include the following beloved “four basic rights”:
“The right to our own feelings. This is the right to feel attracted to the beauty of members of our own sex and to embrace those feelings as truly our own, free from any question or challenge whatsoever by any other person, institution, or moral authority.”
“The right to love. This is the right to express our feelings in action, the right to make love with anyone, any way, any time, provided only that the action be freely chosen by all the persons concerned.”
“The right to our own bodies. This is the right to treat and express our bodies as we will, to nurture them, to display them, to embellish them, solely in the manner we ourselves determine, independent of any external control whatsoever.”
“The right to be persons. This is the right freely to express our own individuality under the governance of laws justly made and executed, and to be the bearers of social and political rights which are guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States and the Bill or Rights, enjoined upon all legislative bodies and courts, and grounded in the fact of our common humanity.”
In 1970, Evans was also famously known for showing up at the offices of Harper’s Magazine in Manhattan to protest an article that had criticized the gay community. Showing up with coffee, donuts, and chairs, Evans immediately erupted after editor Midge Decter refused to print a rebuttal, the New York Times reports.
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