Culture or Assimilation: the 1950s Homophile Movement and the Construction of Homosexual Identity
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The author traces the history of two early gay rights advocacy groups based in Los Angeles in the post-war 1950s. The Mattachine Foundation and One, Incorporated both promoted an image of homosexuals as productive members of society who were not so different from heterosexual Americans. The author discusses the political and tactical disagreements that led to the split between the two groups. She considers how the two different organizations addressed the issue of homosexual identity, how specific events impacted the answers to these questions, and how opinions on these issues affected the face of homosexuality presented to the public. In order to gain insight to the constructed image of the organizations, her research focuses on official published statements of policy, advertisements, and publications, including the Mattachine Review and ONE magazine. It also examines letters sent by editors of the magazines in their official capacities.