The Gay and Lesbian Review

In June 1993, at the Caucus’s Annual Commencement dinner, Richard Schneider, Jr., Ph.D. ‘81, the long-time editor of the Harvard Gay & Lesbian Newsletter, announced plans for the publication of a new quarterly journal to be published by the Caucus and distributed to its members-in-good-standing—and anyone else who might care to read it. The first issue, Winter 1994, of The Harvard Gay & Lesbian Review came out late the following fall and featured a 10,000-word memoir by Andrew Holleran entitled “My Harvard”—a transcript of the talk he had given in the spring of 1991 at the first annual Jon Pearson Perry lecture—a tantalizing description of what it was like to be gay at Harvard in the mid-1960’s.

The survival and success of The Review is due to an enormous extent to the support received from the Caucus and The Open Gate during those early years. The latter provided some of the seed money needed to put out the first issue, while Caucus members furnished a “captive audience” of subscribers as well as a stable of writers, contributors, and volunteers. It also furnished the group that would later become the journal’s Board of Directors, which remains the core of the current Board. That “captive audience,” which was initially comprised of well under 1,000 readers, has since grown to well over 10,000 nationwide and worldwide. At present, the journal’s roster of contributors includes most of the major lesbian and gay writers and activists at work today.

During the first year the journal was published by the Caucus itself, but by 1995 it had incorporated as a separate entity, a nonprofit educational corporation whose mission was to disseminate information and ideas about GLBT history and culture to a broad national audience.

The word “Harvard” was dropped from the name in the year 2000—in part because the connection to the University was an unofficial one, but also because the journal at this point was truly a national publication whose readers and contributors included many more non-Harvardians than alums. However, the journal retains close ties to its origins. Many or most of those involved with the journal are alumni/ae, and a large number of contributors—many of them writers of national stature—spent part of their youths in Harvard Yard (e.g. Martin Duberman, Barney Frank, Lewis Gannett, Marilyn Hacker, Michael Hattersley, Andrew Holleran, Ann Pellegrini, and Ruthann Robson.)

The Review began publishing bimonthly in 2001 after seven years as a quarterly.