Martin Duberman (b. August 6, 1930)

Martin is an American historian, biographer, playwright, gay rights activist and radical.

Writer or editor of over 25 books, Martin founded the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at CUNY.

Duberman grew up near New York City & earned a B.A. from Yale and a Ph.D. from Harvard. He taught history at Yale, then Princeton, where he became involved in activism. He signed the “Writers and Editors War Tax Protest” in 1968, refusing to pay taxes to protest the Vietnam War.
During those years, Martin endured years of therapy in an attempt to “cure” his homosexuality. With the advent of Stonewall and the gay liberation movement, Martin embraced his homosexuality and incorporated it into his activism. He came out in a New York Times essay in 1872.
Martin was the founder and keynote speaker of the Gay Academic Union in 1973, and later founded and was first director of the Center for Gay and Lesbian Studies at the CUNY Graduate School in 1986, the first university­based research center in the US dedicated to LGBT studies.
Martin was also a member of the founding boards of the National Lesbian and Gay Task Force, Lambda Legal Defense Fund, and Queers for Economic Justice.
Martin has written or edited over 25 books, including definitive biographies of Paul Robeson, Lincoln Kirstein, and Howard Zinn. In 1993, Martin wrote Stonewall, close up portraits of six participants of the event that gave birth to the modern LGBTQ movement.
Martin was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for his book The Worlds of Lincoln Kirstein. He won 3 Lambda Awards, one for Hold Tight Gently: Michael Callen, Essex Hemphill, and the Battlefield of AIDS & 2 for Hidden from History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past, which he co-edited.
In 2014, Martin published The Rest of It, a memoir detailing 12 years after his mother’s death, a downward spiral into depression, drugs & self destruction culminating in rehab and recovery. It also details the onslaught of the AIDS crisis. For Martin, the personal was political.
Todays LGBTQ rights were born out of radicalism and speaking truth to privilege.
“Americans have a very low tolerance for differentness, whether it’s racial, ethnic, or sexual. Despite our rhetoric about individualism, we are a desperately conforming people.”
-Martin Duberman
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