By J. Roslyn
With his 2013 book, “Extraordinary Hearts: Reclaiming Gay Sensibility’s Central Role in the Progress of Civilization,” Nicholas F. Benton established himself as one of the pre-eminent scholars in the field of LGBT studies. In “Gay Men in the Feminist Revolution: Articles, Pamphlets & Reflections on My Gay Activist Days In San Francisco, 1969-1972,” Benton demonstrates his bona fides once again. He was not only there in the beginning when the gay rights movement exploded on the national scene, he helped to give voice to that movement in contemporaneous writings published in the Berkeley Barb and in the leaflets and pamphlets handed out by like minded young people.
Benton was there, he knew Harvey Milk and others like Milk. Through his writing, Benton helped to support those who were brave enough to declare themselves in the face of the sneering judgmental condemnation of Nixon’s “silent majority,” including his own father. By supporting these brave young men and women, Benton helped to mobilize college students and faculty to take a stand in support of the burgeoning gay rights movement.
“Gay Men in the Feminist Revolution: Articles, Pamphlets & Reflections on My Gay Activist Days In San Francisco, 1969-1972,” should be required reading in every college course that touches on women’s rights, feminism, LGBT rights and the history of all of the above. This is an important book.