Arthur Evans, a leader in the gay
rights movement, died Sunday in his San Francisco home. He was 68,
gay weekly Bay
Area Reporter announced.
Evans died from a heart attack. He
suffered from an aortic aneurysm, which was diagnosed last year. He
is survived by this brother Joe Evans and best friend Hal Offen.
Evans led the gay rights movement that
came together after police raided a gay bar in Greenwich Village in
1969. Patrons of the Stonewall Inn – many of whom were drag queens
– fought back against police, refusing to be hauled away in paddy
wagons. The three-day riots have been called the gay community's
“Rosa Parks moment.”
The riots inspired Evans to join the
Gay Liberation Front. But he was disillusioned by the group's
non-confrontational style. Within months the group splintered on the
issue; Evans and other militants formed the Gay Activists Alliance.
Their “zaps” were face-to-face
non-violent confrontations with people or institutions which they
said harmed gay people. Subjects included New York Mayor John V.
Lindsay and Harper's Magazine Editor Midge Decter, who
is considered an early driver of the neoconservative movement.
He moved to San Francisco in the late
70's after withdrawing from a doctoral program in philosophy at
Columbia and homesteading a patch of forest land in Washington State
with a lover.
He is the author of numerous books on
the subject of gay rights, including Witchcraft and the Gay
Counterculture and Critique of Patriarchal Reason.
Evans appeared on The Dick Cavett
Show with other gay leaders in 1970 to discuss his gay activism.
The show was his coming out to his parents, their neighbors and
friends. He later said he regretted the episode.