Charles Gervin Hayden Jr., who in 1967 legally changed his name to his then-pseudonym Randolfe Hayden Wicker, was born February 3, 1938, in Plainfield, New Jersey. He discovered the homophile movement as a University of Texas at Austin undergraduate, and he spent the summer of 1958 working for the Mattachine Society’s New York City chapter. Wicker convinced the Society to start publicizing its events, making Wicker the U.S. LGBT movement’s first public relations practitioner. At UTA, he briefly also directed Wicker Research Studies, modeled after Daughters of Bilitis, to lead homophile movements in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. After graduation, Wicker returned to New York City, starting the Homosexual League of New York to distance himself from the Mattachine Society, and participating in a groundbreaking 90-minute broadcast about gay people on WBAI radio in July 1962. It also is believed that on January 31, 1964, Wicker was the first openly gay person on East Coast television through his appearance on “The Les Crane Show.” Also that year, he and others picketed New York’s Whitehall Street Induction Center because gay men’s draft records were not being kept confidential; it is believed to be the first U.S. gay rights demonstration. In 1972, he and Kay Lahusen (under the name Kay Tobin) co-authored The Gay Crusaders. Wicker joined the Gay Activists Alliance, which focused only on gay issues (unlike the larger Gay Liberation Front), and he covered GAA events for The Advocate and other gay magazines. Since 2009, he has been active in the Radical Faerie communities in Tennessee and New York.
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