Jack Nichols


Jack was a good friend and my mentor. I wrote for him occasionally for Gay Today from 1997 to 2003 when Gay Today...Read More

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Jack Nichols co-founded The Mattachine Society of Washington (1961) and The Mattachine Society of Florida (1965). Starting in 1963, he chaired the Washington Society's Committee on Religious Concerns and initiated the first organized dialogues on America's East Coast between LGBT activists and clergy representing various denominations. The Committee later developed into the Washington Area Council on Religion and the Homosexual which met in the mid-1960s at the American University. In January, 1966, Nichols attended the first meeting in New York City between LGBT activists and religious representatives at the National Council of Churches. Nichols himself is not a member of any church, but instead calls himself a "philosophical child" of Walt Whitman's.

In 1981, Nichols delivered a speech about the movement strategies he has long espoused, a tradition based on the 19th century works of Edward Carpenter and Walt Whitman (  Biographical accounts of Nichols' life can be found in a variety of histories, including Before Stonewall: Activists for Gay and Lesbian Rights in Historical Context, edited by Vern Bullough, Ph.D., R.N., Harrington-Park Press, 2002.

With his long-time comrade, the late Lige Clarke, Nichols co-edited America's first gay weekly newspaper, GAY (published in Manhattan, 1969-1973). Also with Clarke, he co-wrote the very first non-fiction memoir by a male couple: I Have More Fun with You Than Anybody, St. Martin's Press, 1972 (, and the first non-fiction collection of letters from gay men seeking advice from the two GAY editors: Roommates Can't Always Be Lovers, St. Martin's Press, 1974, with an introduction by Dr. George Weinberg. 

Following Clarke's 1975 murder (he was gunned down at a mysterious roadblock), Nichols' major philosophical work, Men's Liberation: A New Definition of Masculinity, dedicated to Clarke, was published in 1975 by Penguin Books ( Nichols also wrote Welcome to Fire Island , St. Martin's Press, 1976. In 1996, Prometheus Books published his polemic, The Gay Agenda: Talking Back to the Fundamentalists ( ). On May 25, 2004, Harrington-Park Press (Haworth) is publishing Nichols' uninhibited memoir The Tomcat Chronicles detailing his erotic adventures while hitchhiking across America in the early 1960s (
Since February, 1997, Nichols has been Senior Editor at, a popular online newsmagazine. He lives directly on the ocean in Cocoa Beach, Florida.

Nichols died of complications from cancer on May 2, 2005.

(This biographical statement provided by Jack Nichols with death notice added later.)

Additional Resources

Collection:  Nichols, Jack

Biography: May, 2004