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A Story of Gay Rights & Wrongs

Morris Kight: Humanist, Liberationist, Fantabulist

A Story of Gay Rights and Wrongs

by Maryann Cherry

A Review by Jon Platania PhD

Founding Board Member, the

Los Angeles LBGT Center

Maryann Cherry has written a seminal biography of the late and great Morris Kight. Considered by many the Dean of Gay Activists, Morris was my friend. We marched, disrupted and created together a revolution. We were on the same political turf that was Los Angeles in the late 60's and early 70's. We, along with a few other misfit radical crazies, were part of a small band of GLF leftists. With Mother Morris orchestrating the grand and decidedly Hollywood production, the Gay Liberation Front would, both because of him and in spite of him, change the world.

Maryann Cherry speaks honestly about Morris. I'm delighted to report that my own history and reflections are fairly and accurately chronicled in this scholarly, compelling biography. She documents the bravery, sacrifice and significant contributions made by me, Morris Kight, Donald Kilhefner and many others in the formation of Los Angeles Gay Community Services Center. She acknowledges well the cast of principal actors and walk-by characters who would strut their hour across the stage of what is skillfully presented as something of a five-part drama spanning the 83 years of the grand old actor's full, and as often as not, unnecessarily tragic life.

The reader is transported back in time to briefly recount the roots of the Kight name and

legacy. We come to know Morris as a boy, an under-privileged teenager, a handsome young

man, a husband and a father. Morris - the son of an altogether mad mother. He's a gay blade at a time when such a moniker could just as likely as not have seen him killed. And very nearly did more than a time or two. He's something of a scholar, he's a man-about-town, he's a small time real estate developer, a flimflam man, a transcendentalist, he's a Gay Gandhi of sorts. One man, many characters, all of whom are part of the transformative tapestry that Morris Kight wove together to make himself who he was and now how he will be remembered.

Thank you Maryann Cherry. You came to this solid work only as a humble biographer worth her salt. Clearly you came neither to praise nor to bury the man. You have, in laying bare the forces and people who shaped our complicated friend Morris Kight, done well to separate fact from fiction all along the way. You have brought this giant of a man back to life. Your artfully chosen words allow us to travel with him through the hard scrabble clay dust days of the flat lands of his Texas cowboys. You escorted us through it all. At the end we were there in Los Angeles with everybody who was anybody. We were there when the not entirely Venerable Morris Kight was finally memorialized at Mother House of the Metropolitan Community Church by the Reverend Troy Perry, Founder.

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