Leading the Parade – Conversations with America's Most Influential Lesbians and Gay Men

Lesbians and gay men undeniably occupy a very different place in American society today than they did in the mid-1940s. Leading the Parade traces the evolution of the gay and lesbian movement through the personal profiles and stories of nearly forty individuals whose daring efforts changed gay and straight America and society's attitudes toward homosexuality in the 20th Century. Paul D. Cain traveled the country interviewing these artists, activists, and pioneers to shed light on the courage and intellect that has resulted n a more accepting worldview of homosexuality.

Paul D. Cain

About Paul D. Cain (Palm Springs, California Author)

Paul D. Cain

Many special books along the way assisted me in my journey to accept my sexual orientation. As I began to accept my sexuality, I found myself especially interested in lesbian/gay history, and more specifically, the people who created and influenced it. After several years of serving the Phoenix LGBT community, I found myself "burned out" on direct activism, and I wanted to find a way to serve the community I love while developing talents that lay dormant within me.

In the early 1990s, I realized that as a result of two factors -- age and AIDS -- we would forever lose the stories of many pioneers and others who influenced the movement if someone didn't document their oral histories. And some we did lose. Without so much as a single contact, I believed I could be the person to capture those stories.

Given all of this, I decided to compile a comprehensive (but by no means all-inclusive) book of biographical profiles presenting the lives of lesbians and gay men who I believe influenced "the gay movement" in the United States between 1945 and 1995. After a full year of initial research, I began contacting total strangers, asking them to permit me to interview them. All interviews were conducted in 1994 and 1995, and after many years, Leading the Parade was published in 2002 (and in paperback in 2007).