Gay Community News at 50

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The queer outlet that went from Boston to the world.

Even ardent consumers of queer Boston media might not have taken much notice of the five-page mimeographed publication that made its debut on June 17, 1973. Called the Gay Community Newsletter, it listed a handful of local events including a softball game and a meeting about trans issues, the phone numbers of local LGBTQ organizations, and the few TV and radio shows that covered gay and lesbian issues (including “Gay Way Radio” on WBUR).

But within a year, GCN became Gay Community News, tripled in size, and featured news stories, commentaries, personal ads and letters to the editor that provide a glimpse of what queer life was like in New England in the immediate post-Stonewall era. The paper would enjoy a 26-year run. Many of its staff members and contributors became leaders of major LGBTQ organizations. Now, The History Project and the Massachusetts Historical Society are exploring GCN’s legacy with a three-part series of live and virtual events called Gay Community News at 50.

“Boston gets overshadowed in the gay liberation-era history, but GCN soon became a publication with a national and international reach,” says History Project Executive Director Joan Ilacqua. “It is amazing to think that it came out of our little city.”

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