Steven F. Dansky papers
Clippings, writings, periodicals, correspondence, exhibit records, marriage records, photographs, and promotional materials of Steven F. Dansky, 1968-2015. The materials primarily document Dansky's writings, exhibits, and publications. The collection also includes photographs and video interviews from Dansky's project, "Outspoken: Oral History from LGBTQ Pioneers."
- Dansky, Steven (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open to researchers. The digital video interviews from Dansky's Outspoken project are available for viewing in the Archives' reading room.
Conditions Governing Use
All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the ONE Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives at USC Libraries as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.
Biographical / Historical
For more than a half-century from the 1960s through the early 21st century, Steven F. Dansky has been a political activist, writer, and photographer. He has been referenced as such, particularly as a figure within the modern LGBT movement, continuously from the formative era to the present—from The Gay Militants (1971); Homosexual: Oppression and Liberation (1971); to Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution (2012); Radical Relations: Lesbian Mothers, Gay Fathers, and Their Children in the United States since World War II (2013); and Historical Dictionary of the Lesbian and Gay Liberation Movements (2013).
During the early 1960s while still a teenager, he was a member of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) on the campus of the City College of New York (CCNY), and he was an activist against the War in Vietnam with several organizations. During the late 1960s on New York City’s Lower Eastside, he published two mimeographed, bilingual newsletters (Peace/La Paz and Basta), which he hawked on the street for a penny. With others, he established the I-Kon Bookstore on East 4th Street that published I-Kon, an avant-garde, art and political magazine; sold radical books, magazines, and posters; and hosted monthly poetry readings. He was a reporter for the New York Free Press, writing articles on such topics as the Black Panther Party and community control of public schools.
After the Stonewall Rebellion in 1969, he joined the legendary Gay Liberation Front (GLF) and was active in various groups affiliated with GLF including, Femmes Against Sexism and the Flaming Faggots. He worked in the collective that published Come Out! newspaper, and he was the publisher/editor of a journal with essays and poetry titled, Faggotry. When his articles, “Hey Man” (Gay Flames, Come Out!, and RAT) and “God, Freud, Daddy and Us Faggots” (Faggotry) appeared, he became recognized pro-feminist. Jill Johnston wrote about his writing in The Village Voice and in her collection of essays, Admission Accomplished: The Lesbian Nation Years, 1970-75 (1998), designating him “an early gay polemicist.”
During the 1970s, he was a founder of the Effeminist movement that published Double-F: A Magazine of Effeminism, and he co-authored, “The Effeminist Manifesto,” with John Knoebel and Kenneth Pitchford, considered “one of the most enduring documents to emerge from the modern gay liberation movement” (The Gay Rights Movement, 2003) and “unique in the history of lesbian and gay politics” (We Are Everywhere: A Historical Sourcebook of Gay and Lesbian Politics, 1997).
Dansky went to the University of New York, Hunter College, earning a BA in English Literature and Art History. From 1983 to 1991, he was a volunteer with Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), served as a consultant to Body Positive, and was a group therapist for AIDS Center of Queens County (ACQC). His chronicle of caregiving, “Carry me When You Go Forth,” was published in the GMHC Training Manual. He returned to graduate school at Hunter College School of Social Work, getting a Master’s degree in social work (MSW) and received post-graduate training at the Institute for Human Identity.
From 1990 to 2001, he had a psychotherapy practice, specializing in those with HIV infection and those affected by it. He was a community based and hospital administrator overseeing HIV/AIDS programs in the underserved communities of New York—East New York; Harlem; Jamaica; and the South Bronx. He wrote two books: Now Dare Everything: Tales of HIV-Related Psychotherapy (1994) and Nobody’s Children: Orphans of the HIV Epidemic (1997).
From 2002-2004 in Albany, New York, he joined Choices, a psychotherapy practice in Albany, New York, that provides counseling to an exclusively transgender population; and he was a psychotherapist in pediatric oncology at the Children’s Hospital, Albany Medical Center; Instructor of Pediatrics, Albany Medical College; Guest Lecturer, State University of New York, Albany.
From 2009 to the present, he pursued a life-long interest in photography, and his work has been exhibited at juried exhibitions and galleries in Massachusetts, New York, and Las Vegas. His work is in the permanent collection of The Smith Center for Performing Arts, Las Vegas. A curatorial project, “Gay Liberation Front (1969-1971): A 40th Anniversary Retrospective,” was shown at the LGBT Center, New York (2009). A monograph, “18b: The Aerosol Paintings of Las Vegas” was published in LensWork (2013), it and was a touring exhibition at three branches of the Clark County Library District (2013-2014). His graphic plate, “Effeminate,” was published in Art & Queer Culture (2013).
He started Christopher Street Press, an independent publishing company in 2010 with a list that includes The Come Out! Reader (2013); Hot August Night/1970: The Forgotten LGBT Riot (2012); On Bearing Witness: Images & Reflections of the LGBT Movement (1969-1971) (2010).
From 2009 to 2015, he has been a frequent contributor to the Gay and Lesbian Review, writing essays on everything from Oscar Wilde to Robert Mapplethorpe, from Mahatma Gandhi to Malcolm X, from the persistence of camp and beefcake to art and queer culture. His anthologized essays include “The Effeminist Moment,” in Smash the Church, Smash the State!: The Early Years of Gay Liberation (2009) and “On Anger: The Months After the Stonewall Rebellion,” in After Homosexual: The Legacies of Gay Liberation (2013). “Broken Gender,” a short story was published in Gertrude: A Journal of Voice and Vision (2007).
In 2013, he started OUTSpoken: Oral History from LGBTQ Pioneers (initially co-founded with John Knoebel), a nonprofit venture to preserve the narratives of our forbearers. The project resides on a dedicated website http://www.outspoken-lgbtq.org that provides access to the entire collection of videotaped interviews from coast-to-coast from rural communities to urban epicenters, from a hospice bed to a senior retirement community, and globally via Skype to Bangkok, Buenos Aires, and Melbourne.
Dansky has spoken across the country on the LGBT movement, a partial list includes, “Telling Our Stories,” Diversionary Theater, San Diego (2015); “Revisiting ‘The Effeminist Manifesto,’” Maryland Institute of Art (2013); “Hot August Night: The Forgotten LGBT Riot,” The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, New York (2012), and the Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center, Kingston, NY, (2012); “On Bearing Witness,” Sahara Library, Las Vegas (2009); “The Gay Liberation Front Alive!,” New York Public Library (2009); “Smash the Church, Smash the State,” San Francisco Main Public Library (2009).
In 2004 as a marriage equality activist, he and Barry Safran were married in Williamstown, Massachusetts, on the first day, in the first state, of marriage equality in the United States.
Source: [Box 1, Folder 19] Steven F. Dansky Papers, Coll2015-014.
0.8 Linear Feet (2 boxes.)
Language of Materials
Clippings, writings, periodicals, correspondence, exhibit records, marriage records, photographs, and promotional materials of Steven F. Dansky, 1968-2016. Dansky is a writer, photographer, videographer, and activist, and was an initial member of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) in New York City. The collection also includes photographs and video interviews from Dansky's project, "Outspoken: Oral History from LGBTQ Pioneers."
The collection is divided into two series: (Series 1) Personal papers and (Series 2) Outspoken: Oral History from LGBTQ Pioneers. Both series are arranged alphabetically.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Transferred from the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives at the University of Albany Libraries. Deed of gift by Steven F. Dansky, 2015. The Tom Ashe New York gay pride photographs were donated by Allen Young, 2016.
DVDs separated to the ONE audiovisual collection
"18b: Aerosol Paintings of Las Vegas," KNPR interview with Steven Dansky. 2013.
Branson, M.L. interview by Steven Dansky regarding the Gay Liberation Front. February 13, 2008.
"Christopher Street Press Catalog 2013," reading and video by Steven F. Dansky, 2013.
"Faces – Portraits by Steven F. Dansky." Dansky curator and photographer of this Gay Liberation Front photograph exhibit.
"Gay Liberation Front Alive!" at the New York Public Library, video by Steven F. Dansky, 2013.
"Gay Liberation Front (1969-1971): 40th Anniversary Retrospective" at the Campbell Soudy Gallery, LGBT Community Center, New York. Video by Steven F. Dansky, 2012.
"In Public – Studies from the Street." Video by Steven F. Dansky (with video footage by Kenneth Kit Lamug), 2013.
"LensWork Extended 101." Extended portfolios with audio interviews of Bret Culp, Steven Dansky, Rafael Goldchain, Robert Hecht, Michael Jackson, Brian Killigrew, Chris Rauschenberg, and George Tice. LensWork Publishing, 2012.
"On Bearing Witness: Images & Reflections of the LGBT Movement (1969-1971)" lecture at Sahara West Branch, Clark County Library District, Las Vegas, Nevada on June 7, 2010. Video by Steven F. Dansky (with video footage by Kenneth Kit Lamug), 2012.
Separated to the ONE periodical collection
Come Out!, 1969-1972 (photocopies of original).
Community, the monthly news journal of the Capital District Gay and Lesbian Community Council, Inc., September 2004.
The Flaming Faggots, 1972.
Gay, v.2, no.40, December 21, 1970.
The Gay & Lesbian Review, 9 issues, 2009-2013.
Notes on Gay Males in Consciousness Raising, Summer 1971.
Out Week, no.1, June 26, 1989.
Q Vegas, June 2010.
Separated to the ONE pamphlets collection
On our Own: Gay Men in Consciousness-Raising Groups, 1970.
Separated to the ONE library
Pitchford, Kenneth. The Contraband Poems. New York: Templar Press, 1976.
Collection processed by Kyle Morgan, 2015.
- The Soho Weekly News, v.2, no.38, 40, 49, 1975.
- Finding aid to the Steven F. Dansky papers, 1968-2016
- Kyle Morgan
- © 2015
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