Take a revealing look at gay sex and gay history—and the man who helped kick-start gay activism in today’s society

The Mattachine is the origin of the contemporary American gay movement. One of the major players in this movement was Hal Call, America’s first openly gay journalist and the man most responsible for the end of government censorship of frontal male nude photography through the mail. Behind the Mask of the Mattachine: The Early Movement for Homosexual Emancipation, the Hal Call Chronicles travels back to the times before Stonewall and its aftermath, to the beginnings of the modern homosexual movement and the lesser-known individuals who started it. This stunning chronicle boldly goes beyond the standard whitewashed/desexualized history usually provided by other gay historians, to give the unexpurgated—and sexually charged—history of the activists who organized homosexuals, using the biography of the controversial Hal Call as its springboard.

Behind the Mask of the Mattachine provides a revealing illustration of gay life and gay sex in the past through an intergenerational history of the early gay men’s movement. Noted author James T. Sears generously weaves oral history, seldom seen historical documents, and rare photographs to provide a rich behind-the-scenes look at the first wave of Mattachine activists and the emerging gay pornography industry. This historical chronicle of a previously neglected era is packed with details of Call’s personal struggles, his celebration of the phallus, and his assertion linking homophobia and heteronormativity to our culture’s sex-negative tradition. The reader is transported to the sexual underworld of youthful hustlers, porno kingpins, spurned lovers, sex clubs, cruising grounds, secretive societies, and personal in-fighting over the direction of gay activism. This enthralling narrative is impeccably referenced.

Behind the Mask of the Mattachine examines:

  • the origins of the Mattachine Society
  • the Mattachine Foundation of Harry Hay and others of the “Fifth Order”
  • the Weimar Republic in Germany—the roots of the modern homosexual movement
  • networking of homosexuals through correspondence clubs and speakeasies in Depression-era America
  • the intense rivalries between San Francisco and New York City Mattachine groups
  • censorship of books, magazines, and films
  • much more!

    The book explores the lives of three generations of pre-Stonewall gay activists:
  • Magnus Hirschfeld and Benedikt Friedländer
  • Henry Gerber and Manual boyFrank
  • Harry Hay and Hal Call

Behind the Mask of the Mattachine is not only candid about gay sex and its impact on society but also puts a needed spotlight on a time in lesser-known gay history. This is important, illuminating reading for historians and gay persons interested in the undeniably sexually charged history of the early gay men’s movement.
Take a look at these other James T. Sears books on LGBT issues:
Growing Up Gay in the South
online at https://www.haworthpress.com/store/product.asp?sku=0502
Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Issues in Education
online at https://www.haworthpress.com/store/product.asp?sku=5180

chapter |12 pages

Introduction: Logos, Eros, and Psyche

part Section I|28 pages


chapter Chapter 1|4 pages

Who Waas Haal Call?

chapter Chapter 2|7 pages

The Final Visit

chapter Chapter 3|9 pages

In a Dream

chapter Chapter 3|4 pages

Q & a

part Section II|103 pages


chapter Chapter 5|9 pages

German Roots

chapter Chapter 6|9 pages


chapter Chapter 7|9 pages

Egos and Eros

chapter Chapter 8|10 pages

Making Contacts

chapter Chapter 9|20 pages

Three-Cornered Conversation

chapter Chapter 10|10 pages

War Buddieises

chapter Chapter 11|8 pages

The Fifth Order

chapter Chapter 12|9 pages

Letters Home

chapter Chapter 13|13 pages

Coming Out

part Section III|127 pages

Mattachine (1950–1953)

chapter Chapter 14|13 pages

Organizing in the Bay Area

chapter Chapter 15|17 pages

Cracks in the Foundation

chapter Chapter 16|12 pages

Conventional Wisdom

chapter Chapter 17|6 pages

Chuck and Gerry

chapter Chapter 18|4 pages

Conflict Across the Bay

chapter Chapter 19|12 pages

On the Edge of Midnight

chapter Chapter 20|9 pages

The “Unravelment of Dreams”

chapter Chapter 21|5 pages

Q & a II

chapter Chapter 22|16 pages

Mattachine Melee

chapter Chapter 23|12 pages

Gerry's Farewell

chapter Chapter 24|15 pages

Moments in Time

part Section IV|272 pages


chapter Chapter 25|10 pages

1973: Theater of the Absurd

chapter Chapter 26|10 pages

1964–1965: Our Man Flint

chapter Chapter 27|15 pages

1954: Pan-Graphic

chapter Chapter 28|16 pages

1985: Sexual Rebels

chapter Chapter 29|8 pages

2000: Harold and Hal

chapter Chapter 30|19 pages

1956: Fear and Respectability

chapter Chapter 31|29 pages

1957: Game of Fools

chapter Chapter 32|4 pages

January 28, 1958: Hal's Turn

chapter Chapter 33|23 pages

1958: Bitchery-Butchery

chapter Chapter 34|20 pages

1959: Calling Shots, Dispelling Darkness, Going Public

chapter Chapter 35|20 pages

2006: A Candid Conversation Across Gay Generations

chapter Chapter 36|17 pages

1960: Verboten

chapter Chapter 37|29 pages

1960: A House Divided

chapter Chapter 38|15 pages

1961: The Rejected

chapter Chapter 39|19 pages

1967: The Furtive Fraternity

chapter Chapter 40|8 pages

The Mask of Desire