David Thorstad

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David Thorstad
Born (1941-06-06) 6 June 1941 (age 73)
United States
Occupation Activist, historian

David Thorstad (born June 6, 1941),[1] an American political activist and historian of the gay rights movement since the 1970s, was a founding member of the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) and former president of New York’s Gay Activists Alliance.[2] He was also active in Trotskyist politics for some years.

For more than six years, Thorstad was a member of the Upper West Side branch of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), and a staff writer for its newspaper, The Militant. He left the SWP in December 1973, citing the organization's lack of enthusiasm for the gay liberation movement and failure to develop a "Marxist materialist analysis" of it. In 1976 he self-published a collection of internal party documents relating to its discussion of the gay liberation movement, under the title Gay Liberation and Socialism : Documents from the Discussions on Gay Liberation Inside the Socialist Workers Party (1970-1973).[3] In the early 1970s Thorstad was president of the Gay Activists Alliance, a leading gay liberation group in New York.[4]

In June 1973 Thorstad and John Lauritsen published The Early Homosexual Rights Movement (1864-1935), a fourteen-page historical survey in the SWP internal Discussion Bulletin which attempted to prove that the gay liberation movement had a long and substantial history, particularly in Germany.[5] This was expanded the next year into a 92-page book of the same name published by Times Change Press, a New York publishing house specializing in feminist and politically progressive books.[6] The book was translated into Spanish[7] and German.[8]

In 1978 Thorstad was a founding member of NAMBLA, "served as a member of the Steering Committee from some undetermined time until September 1996" and was one of a group of NAMBLA members who were sued in 2000 for the wrongful death of a ten-year-old boy in a long-running court case Curley v. NAMBLA in Boston.[9]

Thorstad describes the modern gay rights movement as "politically correct zombies," and the "radicalism of such groups as Queer Nation" as "bizarre and offensive."

Summaries of Thorstad's views appear in his articles "Man/Boy Love and the American Gay Movement" in Male Intergenerational Intimacy: Historical, Socio-Psychological and Legal Perspectives (Theo Sandfort, Edward Brongersma, and Alex van Naerssen, editors, Routledge, 1990), and "Homosexuality and the American Left: The Impact of Stonewall," in Gay Men and the Sexual History of the Political Left (Gert Hekma, Harry Oosterhuis, and James Steakley, editors, Haworth Press, 1995).



  1. ^ Guy Hocquenghem (1980). Le Gay voyage: Guide et regard homosexuels sur les grandes métropoles. Albin Michel. ISBN 978-2-226-01040-7. 
  2. ^ Kennedy, Hubert (1991). "Sexual Hysteria—Then and Now". OurStories (Gay and Lesbian Historical Society of Northern California). pp. 17–18. A former president of New York’s Gay Activists Alliance and a founding member of the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA), Thorstad is uniquely qualified to write on this topic. 
  3. ^ Gay Liberation and Socialism : Documents from the Discussions on Gay Liberation Inside the Socialist Workers Party (1970-1973) p.1, 11
  4. ^ "Historical Note". Gay Activists Alliance Records, 1970-1983. New York Public Library Digital Library Collections. Retrieved October 7, 2013. 
  5. ^ John Lauritsen; David Thorstad (1973). The Homosexual Rights Movement (1864-1935). J. Lauritsen and D. Thorstad. 
  6. ^ John Lauritsen; David Thorstad (1995). The Early Homosexual Rights Movement: (1864-1935). Times Change Press. pp. 94–96. ISBN 978-0-87810-041-5. 
  7. ^ John Lauritsen; David Thorstad (1977). Los Primeros movimientos en favor de los derechos homosexuales: 1864-1935 (in Spanish). Tusquets Editor. ISBN 978-84-7223-578-6. 
  8. ^ John Lauritsen; David Thorstad (1984). Die frühe Homosexuellenbewegung: 1864-1935 (in German). Frühlings-Erwachen. ISBN 978-3-925393-06-8. 
  9. ^ Barbara Curley, et al., Plaintiffs v. North American Man Boy Love Association, et. al., Defendents, O'Toole, D.J. Memorandum and Order on Motions to Dismiss, Civil Action No. 00-10956-GAO (United States District Court of Massachusetts March 31, 2003).

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