Randy Wicker

Randy Wicker (1938)- was born in Baltimore, the son of Charles Gervin and Iris (Leyh) Gervin. His given name was Charles Hayden Gervin which he changed (in 1967) to Randolfe Hayden Wicker, although in his published writings and in much of his later work as a gay activist, he adopted the more familiar version of Randy Wicker. He attended Washington and Lee University (1956-58), the University of Texas (1960) where he received the bachelor's degree, and the University of Connecticut Law School (for one semester).

Randy Wicker was a leader of the homophile movement in New York in the 1960's and a gay rights activist during the early days of the gay liberation movement. As public relations director of the Homosexual League of New York (an organizational title apparently invented for publicity purposes) he was instrumental in breaking down the taboo against the discussion of homosexuality by the mainstream media.

Working days as a "straight" in the advertising field, and evenings as "public relations director" of the Homosexual League of New York (an organizational title which he apparently invented for public relations purposes) Mr. Wicker established himself as a kind of clearinghouse of information for the gay community. He deluged editors, publishers and producers with proposals for articles and for radio and television programs on gay men and lesbians, offered by mail free of charge literature on homosexuality, and issued his own "Wicker Report" of news and information for the gay community. His greatest public relations coup occurred in 1962 with the broadcast by Pacifica Radio WBAI-FM in New York of his program "Live and Let Live" which featured a group of gays from a variety of backgrounds discussing with great dignity and seriousness of purpose their lifestyles, their moral code, and their attitudes towards one another and towards the "straight" world. The program was an instant success, received an enthusiastic response from the "straight" press, and was instrumental in leading ultimately to the breakdown of the media's code of silence regarding homosexuality.

Mr. Wicker was for a time (1963) secretary of the Mattachine Society of New York and a regular columnist ("The Wicker Report") for the Mattachine Newsletter. He has also been a regular columnist for Gay (newspaper) and for the L.C.E. News of San Francisco (the first "social variant" newspaper in America). Through the years he has contributed to (or been featured in) numerous "straight" and gay publications including the Advocate, Escapade, Nation, New York Herald Tribune, Nugget, Screw and Slim News. With Kay Tobin (pseudonym of Kay Lahusen, the name she now uses) he co-authored The Gay Crusaders (N.Y., Paperback Library, 1972). He also owned and operated his lighting business, Uplift Lighting, in New York City at 506 Hudson Street until the mid 1990’s. He presently resides in Hoboken New Jersey.