The Come Out! Archive

Reprinted With the Permission of Perry Brass

Come Out! was the first periodical published by the gay and lesbian community after the Stonewall riots in June, 1969. The Gay Liberation Front, one of the first militant activist gay rights organizations birthed by the riots, published Come Out! from their base in New York City.

True to many activist groups, the GLF had a manifesto:

"Gay Liberation Front is a coalition of radical and revolutionary homosexual men and women committed to fight the oppression of the homosexual as a minority group, and to demand the right to the self-determination of our own bodies." [GLF News, # 11 (1970?)]

The Front's manifesto reflects the paradigm change within the gay rights movement, calling on gays and lesbians to take a more active and visible approach to the struggle for equal rights. The imperative title is the publication's main goal, and the main goal of the GLF - to get gay men and women to come out, to make themselves visible. Come Out! aligns itself politically and critically with the feminist/women's/lesbian movements occurring contemporaneously, moving away from specifically male- and female- oriented gay serials that preceded it (The Ladder for women, the newsletters of the various incarnations of the Mattachine Society, among others).

Featured in Come Out! are firsthand accounts and photographs of marches and rallies that capture the spirit of the movement at this pivotal point in its history, interviews with prominent members of the community, articles related to other international struggles (human rights issues in Cuba, for instance), and even poems. The publication also includes transsexual and transvestite liberation issues.

For those familiar with the gay rights movement, Stonewall is probably the most oft-told story. Come Out! has some great accounts of what happened after.