Laud Humphreys: Prophet of Homosexuality and Sociology
by John F. Galliher, Wayne H. Brekhus, and David P. Keys
University of Wisconsin Press. 214 pages, $18.95
LAUD HUMPHREYS was the author of what was in 1970 a landmark research monograph, Tearoom Trade: Impersonal Sex in Public Places. Humphreys, an Anglican priest during the Vietnam War era, was arrested for activities on several fronts of political activism before publishing his controversial work. He took part in civil rights, anti-war, and gay rights protests—where he was labeled a “nigger and a Commie lover.” At one point he was jailed for leading an antiwar match into a Selective Service office and destroying a portrait of Richard Nixon. Critics describe Humphreys as a “one hit wonder,” since Tearoom Trade turned out to be his only book (though he did publish a few scholarly articles). Nevertheless, Tearoom Trade upset the world of academic sociologists at the time, even as it put Humphreys on the map as the first gay sociologist to come out of the closet.