Open main menu

Friendship and Freedom, published from 1924 to 1925,[1] was a short-lived[2] American gay-interest newsletter[3] published by the Chicago-based Society for Human Rights (SHR), the first recognized homosexual rights organization in the United States. Henry Gerber, founder of the Society for Human Rights, started publishing the newsletter using his personal typewriter.[4] The purpose of the newsletter was to act as a forum of discussion among gay men.[3] The first issue of the newsletter was published in 1924,[2][5] and a total of only two issues were published.[6][7][8] Friendship and Freedom was the first known gay-interest periodical in the United States.[9][5][8] This periodical, along with Jim Kepner's Gay Fan and Lisa Ben's Vice Versa, is described by author of LGBT-issues James Thomas Sears as "amateurish".[10] The title of the magazine, Friendship and Freedom, was directly translated from a 1920s German gay magazine, Freundschaft und Freiheit.[11]

In the 1920s, the United States was less progressive compared to contemporary Germany, where many gay rights organization flourished during this period. As a result, Gerber's room in a boardinghouse was raided by the Chicago Police Department in July 1925, and everything associated with the publication of the newsletter, including Gerber's typewriter and his personal diaries, were seized. Gerber was thrown into jail for three days and the news of his arrest was published in the contemporary press with the headlines, "Strange Sex Cult Exposed."[4] All copies of Friendship and Freedom that were not in circulation were seized by the police and destroyed.[12]

No copy of Friendship and Freedom survives today.[7][13] Despite lack of any existing copy, the existence of this publication was verified by American LGBT historian Jonathan Ned Katz through a photograph published by sexologist and LGBT-rights advocate Magnus Hirschfeld in 1927 depicting homosexual publications, among them Friendship and Freedom.[14]


  1. ^ Robert B. Marks Ridinger (4 February 2004). Speaking for our lives: historic speeches and rhetoric for gay and lesbian rights (1892-2000). Psychology Press. p. 866. ISBN 978-1-56023-175-2. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  2. ^ a b Norman G. Kester (1997). Liberating minds: the stories and professional lives of gay, lesbian, and bisexual librarians and their advocates. McFarland. p. 92. ISBN 978-0-7864-0363-9. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  3. ^ a b David E. Newton (27 October 2009). Gay and lesbian rights: a reference handbook. ABC-CLIO. p. 7. ISBN 978-1-59884-306-4. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  4. ^ a b Betsy Kuhn (1 January 2011). Gay Power!: The Stonewall Riots and the Gay Rights Movement, 1969. Twenty-First Century Books. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-7613-5768-1. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  5. ^ a b Peter M. Nardi (15 July 1999). Gay men's friendships: invincible communities. University of Chicago Press. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-226-56843-0. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  6. ^ Sam Deaderick; Tamara Turner (May 1997). Gay resistance: the hidden history. Red Letter Press. pp. 31–32. ISBN 978-0-932323-03-3. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  7. ^ a b Tracy Baim (1 September 2008). Out and proud in Chicago: an overview of the city's gay community. Agate Publishing. p. 34. ISBN 978-1-57284-100-0. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  8. ^ a b JoAnne Myers (30 July 2009). The A to Z of the lesbian liberation movement: still the rage. Scarecrow Press. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-8108-6811-3. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  9. ^ David E. Newton (22 December 2009). Sexual health: a reference handbook. ABC-CLIO. p. 113. ISBN 978-1-59884-366-8. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  10. ^ James Thomas Sears (30 October 2006). Behind the mask of the Mattachine: the Hal Call chronicles and the early movement for homosexual emancipation. Psychology Press. p. 168. ISBN 978-1-56023-187-5. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  11. ^ Robert Deam Tobin (24 May 2000). Warm brothers: queer theory and the age of Goethe. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 201. ISBN 978-0-8122-3544-9. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  12. ^ Jim Kepner (1998). Rough news, daring views: 1950s' pioneer gay press journalism. Psychology Press. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-7890-0140-5. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  13. ^ Lisa Keen; Suzanne Beth Goldberg (23 May 2000). Strangers to the Law: Gay People on Trial. University of Michigan Press. p. 82. ISBN 978-0-472-08645-0. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  14. ^ Chad C. Heap (15 May 2009). Slumming: sexual and racial encounters in American nightlife, 1885-1940. University of Chicago Press. p. 376. ISBN 978-0-226-32243-8. Retrieved 15 February 2012.