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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
May 6, 2005

Gay civil rights pioneer Jack Nichols dies at 67

Cocoa Beach, Fla.--Jack Nichols, an historic icon in the gay liberation movement, died May 2 of complications from cancer.

John Richard Nichols was 67, and had been battling cancer for 20 years.

In 1961, Nichols helped start the Washington, D.C. chapter of the Mattachine Society with Frank Kameny. Mattachine, founded in 1950 by Harry Hay, who died in 2002, was one of the first gay civil rights organizations in the United States.

Four years after forming the chapter, Nichols was one of ten people at the first gay protest outside the White House.

Nichols, Kameny, Lilli Vincenz and other activists in the area held the protest on April 16, 1965, followed by another White House protest on May 29, then four more protests over the course of the next three months.

Nichols and the other members of the Washington chapter of Mattachine joined the Philadelphia chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis, the group�s lesbian equivalent, in organizing a protest on July 4, 1965 in front of Independence Hall. The event was held annually through 1969, when it took place a week after the Stonewall riots. The following year, it was replaced by the Christopher Street Liberation Day in New York City, which commemorated the riots.

Nichols was also an accomplished author and editor, having founded the country�s first weekly gay newspaper, Gay, co-writing two books with his partner Lige Clarke, who was murdered in Mexico in 1975.

Nichols� most recent book was The Tomcat Chronicles: Erotic Adventures of a Gay Liberation Pioneer. From 1997 to 2004, he edited the Internet news magazine GayToday.com.

He is survived by his mother Mary F. Lund, a number of cousins, and his friends Steve Yates and Gary Commingdeer, who were with him when he passed away.

 

 

 

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