August 22, 2024 – Los Angeles and the Rise and Fall of Gay Republicans


One Gallery
626 N Robertson Blvd,
West Hollywood, CA 90069


Thursday, August 22, 2024, 6-8 p.m.

An exclusive book talk and signing with Neil J. Young, author of the newly published Coming Out Republican: A History of the Gay Right

In Coming Out Republican: A History of the Gay Right, writer & political commentator Neil J. Young provides the first comprehensive history of the “gay Right,” a group of largely conservative and libertarian gay men whose origins trace back to the 1950s. For Los Angeles and the Rise and Fall of Gay Republicans, Young joins One Institute to excavate the history of the gay Republicans that birthed Los Angeles’ early homophile movement, and their relevance to today’s political moment.

While deep blue California may not seem like a stronghold for the Republican Party today, the state was the birthplace of gay Republicanism, and Los Angeles has a long history as an important organizing ground for right-of-center LGBTQ folks. In the 1950s, gay Republicans, like Dorr Legg, helped found some of the most important organizations of the homophile movement, including One Institute. In the 1970s, gay men and lesbians in Los Angeles formed one of the nation’s first gay Republican clubs in order to fight back against the anti-gay Briggs Initiative. And several of these gay Republicans would run for office in the years ahead, arguing that their form of moderate conservatism was what the GOP needed in order to succeed in Democratic-leaning Los Angeles. Yet as the gay Republican movement moved away from its California origins into a national phenomenon in the 1990s and early 2000s, the Golden State’s libertarian and even progressive tradition had lessening influence.

Given the state of LGBTQ+ politics today and the stakes of the 2024 election, this talk considers the history of gay and lesbian Republicans in Los Angeles and the lessons that their story has for the future of American politics.

This event will take place at One Gallery in West Hollywood on Thursday, August 22, 2024, from 6-8 p.m. Doors for the program open at 5:45 p.m. The book talk will begin at 6:00 p.m. and includes time for audience members to ask questions. Those in attendance will also have the opportunity to purchase a signed copy of the book, courtesy of Book Soup, following the talk.

Admission to this event is free.

About the Author

Neil J. Young is a writer and the author of We Gather Together: The Religious Right and the Problem of Interfaith Politics. His work has appeared in publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Atlantic, and Los Angeles Times, and he cohosts the history podcast Past Present. He lives in Los Angeles.


This event is presented by One Institute. Special thanks to the evening’s bookseller, Book Soup.

Image credit: Promotional image by One Institute. Book cover courtesy The University of Chicago Press. Photo of Neil J. Young by Nick Vitale.

Recent Posts