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Randy Wicker

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Randy Wicker

Randy Wicker
Born (1938-02-03) 3 February 1938
Baltimore, Maryland
Nationality American
Occupation Activist, author, blogger
Known for Gay activism

Randolfe Hayden "Randy" Wicker (b. Charles Gervin Hayden, Jr. 3 February 1938) is an American author, activist and blogger. After involvement in the early homophile and gay liberation movements, Wicker became active around the issue of human cloning.

Early life and LGBT activism

Wicker was born Charles Gervin Hayden, Jr. in Craig Rodwell in an effort to make the group more radical.[4] "He was, let's say, a disturbing acquisition for the movement", recalled then-MSNY president Arthur Maule.[5] After convincing MSNY that it should begin publicizing its events, Wicker printed up flyers for an upcoming lecture, leading to a standing-room-only crowd. It also led police to persuade MSNY's landlord to evict the group from its recently occupied headquarters.[6]

As he became more active in the movement, Wicker apprised his family of his activities. Hayden, Sr., while skeptical that his activities would amount to anything, asked him not to use "Charles Hayden" for his activism. He adopted the pseudonym "Randolfe Hayden Wicker", retaining his family name as his new middle name to maintain the family connection. He legally changed his name in 1967.[7]

Returning to Austin in the fall of 1958, Wicker tried to start a homophile organization called Wicker Research Studies. WRS adopted the philosophy of the San Francisco-based lesbian group [8] He also became active in the civil rights movement. Wicker ran for student body president but during the campaign the dean received notification that Wicker and his roommate Edward Lacey were gay.[9] This helped convince him that homosexuals needed to engage in militant action.[1]

Upon graduating from UTA, Wicker relocated permanently to New York City and renewed his ties with MSNY. Stifled from radical actions under the purview of MSNY, Wicker created the "Homosexual League of New York" in 1962, a WBAI radio broadcast a panel of psychiatrists who espoused the sickness theory of homosexuality, Wicker persuaded the station manager to put him and several other openly gay people on the air to "rap" about their lives. The 90-minute program, believed to be the first in the United States, aired in July, 1962.[10] Several mainstream media outlets covered the broadcast favorably, including The New York Times, The Realist, Newsweek, the New York Herald Tribune and Variety.[11]

As a result of the publicity, from 1962 through 1964 Wicker was one of the most visible homosexuals in New York. He spoke to countless church groups and college classes and, in 1964, became the first openly gay person to appear on East Coast television with a January 31 appearance on [13] He supported himself by operating, with his lover Peter Ogren, Underground Uplift Unlimited, a slogan-button and head shop. The couple ran the shop from 1967 to 1971,[7] and used the proceeds to open an antique and lighting store. Wicker ran his store for 29 years.[14]

Wicker was a witness to the [16][note 1] He temporarily distanced himself from the gay movement, but returned in 1972 to co-author The Gay Crusaders, a compilation of profiles of early movement leaders, with Kay Lahusen (writing under the name "Kay Tobin").

Wicker joined the Gay Activists Alliance (GAA), a more structured activist group that formed in response to what was seen as the excesses of the Gay Liberation Front. GLF tended to split its focus amongst many different left-oriented political activities, including opposition to the Vietnam War and support for the Black Panthers. GAA members wanted to concentrate their energies exclusively on gay rights issues. As a member of GAA, Wicker participated in a series of zaps, occupation-style actions. Wicker sometimes covered these events for gay media outlets like Gay and The Advocate.[17]

Since 2009, he has been documenting and participating in the Radical Faerie communities in Tennessee and New York.[18]

Cloning activist

With the announcement of the successful cloning of Dolly the sheep in 1996, Wicker became an advocate for human cloning. He formed the activist Cloning Rights United Front,[19] and argued that the right to bear one's "later-born identical twin" was not only an LGBT rights issue,[20] but a human rights issue. He sought unsuccessfully to convince Stephen Hawking to preserve genetic material for future cloning.[21] As a part of its mission statement, CRUF adopted the "Clone Bill of Rights":
  1. Every person's DNA is his or her personal property. To have that DNA cloned into another extended life is part and parcel of his or her right to control his or her own reproduction.
  2. Constitutionally, that right is assigned to neither state legislatures, nor to the federal government, nor to religious authorities. It is "reserved" to each and every citizen, to decide if, how and when to reproduce.
  3. Research, not rhetoric, and/or freedom-limiting legal restrictions, is the only way to discover the real effects of cloning. Restrictions on research into cloning of humans should not even be considered unless real social harm can be demonstrated.[22]

Footnotes

  1. ^ Wicker would later regret his words, calling them one of the biggest mistakes of his life (Clendenin and Nagourney, p. 27).

Notes

  1. ^ a b D'Emilio, p. 158
  2. ^ Hogan and Hudson, p. 574
  3. ^ Eisenbach, p. 33
  4. ^ Miller, p. 349
  5. ^ quoted in Loughery, p. 250
  6. ^ Carter, p. 23
  7. ^ a b Ayyar, Raj (2009-06-14). "Randolfe Wicker: From Pot to the Days of Wine and Cloning". Gay Today. Retrieved 2009-06-14. 
  8. ^ Howard, p. 232
  9. ^ Fraser Sutherland, Lost Passport: The Life and Words of Edward Lacey. BookLand Press, 2011. ISBN 978-1-926956-06-0.
  10. ^ Loughery, p. 268
  11. ^ Carter, p. 25
  12. ^ Campbell, p. xvii
  13. ^ Carter, p. 39
  14. ^ Mann, Lucas (2007-06-13). "Old friends find it’s a whole new world on new pier". The Villager. Retrieved 2009-06-14. 
  15. ^ Quoted in Kaiser, pp. 199–200
  16. ^ Duberman, pp. 215–16
  17. ^ Clendenin and Nagourney, p. 144
  18. ^ Randy Wicker's Flicker Page: https://secure.flickr.com/photos/randywicker/4609541357/
  19. ^ Hogan and Hudson, p. 575
  20. ^ Schilinger, Liesl (1997-03-17). "Postcard from New York: Clash of the Cloneheads". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-06-14. 
  21. ^ Alexander, p. 175
  22. ^ "Mission Statement". Cloning Rights United Front. Retrieved 2009-06-14. 

References

  • Alexander, Brian (2004). Rapture: A Raucous Tour of Cloning, Transhumanism and the New Era of Immortality. Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-00105-X.
  • Campbell, J. Louis (2007). Jack Nichols, Gay Pioneer: "Have You Heard My Message?". Haworth Press. ISBN 1-56023-653-1.
  • Carter, David (2004). Stonewall: The Riots that Sparked the Gay Revolution, St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-34269-1
  • Cleninden, Dudley and Adam Nagourney (1999). Out For Good: The Struggle to Build a Gay Rights Movement in America. New York, Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-684-81091-3.
  • D'Emilio, John (1983). Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities: The Making of a Homosexual Minority in the United States, 1940–1970. Chicago, University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-14265-5
  • Duberman, Martin (1993). Stonewall. New York, Penguin Press. ISBN 0-525-93602-5.
  • Eisenbach, David (2006). Gay Power: An American Revolution. Carroll & Graf Publishers. ISBN 0-7867-1633-9.
  • Hogan, Steve and Lee Hudson (1998). Completely Queer: The Gay and Lesbian Encyclopedia. New York, Henry Holt and Company. ISBN 0-8050-3629-6.
  • Howard, John (2001). Men Like That: A Southern Queer History. Chicago, University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-35470-9.
  • Kaiser, Charles (1997). The Gay Metropolis 1940 – 1996. New York, Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-65781-4.
  • Loughery, John (1998). The Other Side of Silence – Men's Lives and Gay Identities: A Twentieth-Century History. New York, Henry Holt and Company. ISBN 0-8050-3896-5.
  • Miller, Neil (1995). Out of the Past: Gay and Lesbian History from 1869 to the Present. New York, Vintage Books, a division of Random House. ISBN 0-09-957691-0.

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