Gay History:  Peace and Gay Activist Carl Wittman Born (February 23, 1943 – January 22, 1986) 

Gay History:  Peace and Gay Activist Carl Wittman Born (February 23, 1943 – January 22, 1986) 

Carl Whitman was an American activist who dedicated his life to promoting progressive political and social change. He is best known for his leadership in the anti-war movement of the 1960s and 1970s, as well as his contributions to the development of the New Left political movement.

Wittman was also gay.

In the mid-1960s, Whitman became involved in the anti-war movement, which was gaining momentum as the United States became increasingly involved in the conflict in Vietnam. He helped organize protests and sit-ins, and he was arrested several times for his activism. He also wrote and spoke out against the war, arguing that it was a costly and unjustifiable waste of human life.

Wittman was a member of the national council of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and later an activist for LGBT rights. He co-authored “An Interracial Movement of the Poor?” (1963)  with Tom Hayden and wrote “A Gay Manifesto” (1970)

In 1971, Wittman moved to Wolf Creek, OR, with his then-partner, Stevens McClave. Two years later, he began a long-term relationship with a fellow war resister Allan Troxler. In the early 1980s, Wittman created the North Carolina Lesbian and Gay Health Project (LGHP) with David Jolly, Timmer McBride, and Aida Wakil to address the health needs of sexual minorities in that state.

Wittman declined hospital treatment for AIDS and committed suicide by drug overdose at home in North Carolina.

Although he passed away in 1981 at the young age of 38, Whitman’s legacy continues to inspire activists and social justice advocates today. His commitment to fighting for a more just and equitable society serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of standing up for what is right, even in the face of adversity.

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