Arthur Evans



           

Arthur Evans (12 October 1942, York, Pennsylvania – 11 September 2011, San Francisco, California) was a gay rights advocate and author, most well known for his book Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture (1978) When Evans graduated from public high school in 1960, he received a four-year scholarship from the Glatfelter Paper Company in York to study chemistry at Brown University. While at Brown, Evans and several friends founded the Brown Freethinkers Society, describing themselves as 'militant atheists'.

As a result, the paper company informed Evans that his scholarship was cancelled. Evans contacted Joseph Lewis, the elderly millionaire who headed the national Freethinkers Society. Lewis threatened the paper company with a highly publicized lawsuit if the scholarship were revoked. The company relented, the scholarship continued, and Evans changed his major from chemistry to political science. Evans withdrew from Brown and moved to Greenwich Village, which he later described it as the best move he ever made in his life. In 1963, Evans discovered gay life in Greenwich Village, and in 1964 became lovers with Arthur Bell who later became a columnist for The Village Voice. In 1967, after graduating with a BA degree from City College, Evans was admitted into the doctoral program in philosophy at Columbia University, specializing in ancient Greek philosophy. Evans participated in many anti-war protests during these years, including the celebrated upheaval at Columbia in the spring of 1968. He also participated in the protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

On December 21, 1969, Evans, Marty Robinson, and several others met to found the early gay rights group Gay Activists Alliance. In November 1970, Robinson and Evans, along with Dick Leitsch of the Mattachine Society, appeared on The Dick Cavett Show, making them among the first openly gay activists to be prominently featured on a national TV program. In 1974, Evans and Schraeter moved into an apartment at the corner of Haight and Ashbury Streets in San Francisco, in which Evans remained until he died. Schraeter returned to New York in 1981 and died from AIDS in 1989.In early 1976, he gave a series of public lectures at 32 Page Street, an early San Francisco gay community center, entitled 'Faeries', on his research on the historical origins of the gay counterculture.

In 1978 he published this material in his ground-breaking book Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture Evans also was active in Bay Area Gay Liberation (BAGL) and the San Francisco Gay Democratic Club, which later became the vehicle through which Harvey Milk rose to political prominence. In the late 1970s, Evans became upset at the pattern of butch conformity that was then overtaking gay men in the Castro. Adopting the nom de plume 'The Red Queen', he distributed a series of controversial satirical leaflets on the subject. In a leaflet entitled Afraid You’re Not Butch Enough? (1978) he facetiously referred to the new, butch-conforming men of the Castro as clones, initiating use of the now widely used term, Castro clone. In 1984, Evans directed a production at the Valencia Rose Cabaret in San Francisco of his own new translation, from ancient Greek, of the Euripides play The Bacchae. In recent years, Evans devoted much time to improving neighborhood safety in the Haight-Ashbury district.  He died of a Heart Attack in his apt in San Francisco on September 11, 2011.