Alistair Williamson Was with Us at the Start

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TWENTY-SIX YEARS AGO, The Harvard Business Review published a groundbreaking case review, “Is This the Right Time to Come Out?” (July-August 1993). Written by Alistair Williamson, it was the first business case review written about an openly gay individual—one in which AIDS played no part in the case—and received coast-to-coast media attention. The article went on to be cited in dozens of books and scholarly articles and brought the issue of being gay at the workplace to a whole new audience. In an effort to promote the HBR case, which was also published in an anthology, Alistair got in touch with Richard Schneider, who was then planning to publish the first issue of The Harvard Gay & Lesbian Review (the original name of this magazine).

         The first issue of The HGLR, Winter 1994, included Alistair’s review of James D. Woods’ The Corporate Closet: The Professional Lives of Gay Men in America (1993). He would go on to review at least one book in almost every issue through the ’90s, after which he contributed off and on until 2008. Commented Richard Schneider: “Alistair was a wonderful writer and an amazingly quick study when breaking into a new field or genre. His interests ranged far and wide, and he soon branched off from workplace issues to LGBT rights, popular culture, history and biography, gay erotica, and so on.”

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