Season 6: Episode 4: Nancy Walker

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By Making Gay History and Eric Marcus. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

In 1976 Nancy Walker joined the Gay Community News, an influential Boston-based weekly paper. She was in her 40s, an outspoken New Yorker, and a moderate pragmatist. Not surprisingly, Nancy and the younger, more radical GCN staff often locked horns...

Episode Notes:

Read more about Nancy Walker’s contributions to the LGBTQ civil rights movement in Eric Marcus’s book, Making Gay History. You can read some of Nancy’s prose and poetry in this memorial book, compiled after her death in 1996. Also, listen to our Love Is Love episode, in which Nancy talks about Penny, the love of her life.

The Community Homophile Association of Toronto (CHAT) was Nancy’s first activist home. Learn more about CHAT in this video. Listen to the oral histories of CHAT founding members Elgin Blair and George Hislop, and member Pat Murphy, kept by the ArQuives, Canada’s LGBTQ2+ archive.

While a member of CHAT, Nancy began writing for the Body Politic. You can read an article she wrote about coming out here.

Nancy started working for Boston’s Gay Community News (GNC) in 1976. Read more about this important newspaper, which ceased publication in 1992, here and in Amy Hoffman’s memoir, An Army of Ex-Lovers: My Life at the Gay Community News. Watch this interview with GCN co-founder David Peterson. You can check out the paper’s very first issues and many others from the first few years online. The GCN archives are kept at the Northeastern University Archives.

In 1982, arsonists set fire to the GCN offices (reported on in the feminist and gay press at the time). You can listen to audio interviews with GCN journalists directly after the incident here.

In the episode, Nancy mentions Charley Shively and his infamous bible burning at the 1977 gay pride rally in Boston; read the speech Charley delivered here. You can learn more about Charley here and here, or read an issue of his publication, Fag Rag, online here. Physical copies of Fag Rag’s full run can be found here and at many LGBTQ archives.

In 1979, Nancy attended the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. Learn more about it here, listen to audio from the march here and here, read the program of events, and see it in pictures here.

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