Jim Fouratt

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Jim Fouratt
Born (1941-06-23) 23 June 1941 (age 78)
Known forGay activism

Jim Fouratt (born 23 June 1941) is a gay rights activist, actor, and former nightclub impresario. He is best known for his involvement with the Stonewall riots and as co-founder of the Danceteria.[1]

Early life[edit]

Fouratt was raised in a working class Catholic home in Riverside, Rhode Island. He attended the La Salle Academy in Providence. After high school he was accepted into Harvard University but could not attend for financial reasons, instead he began studies at St. Peter's Seminary in Baltimore. In 1960, he was kicked out for homosexuality and moved to New York City.[2][3]


Fouratt took up political activism more seriously in 1965, after being arrested in Times Square at America's first Anti-Vietnam War demonstration. In 1967 he was one of the organizers of the famous Central Park Be In. That same year he cofounded the Yippies, a youth-oriented countercultural movement, alongside Abbie Hoffman and Paul Krasner.[1][4]

Fouratt was at the first night of what he calls the Stonewall 'Rebellion', a term he prefers over "Stonewall Riots."[5]

I happened to be coming home from my job at Columbia Records. I saw a sole police car outside of the Stonewall Inn. I was out in the New Left movement and the anti-war movement and there was an incredible amount of homophobia—in the old and new left. Like a good '60s radical, I went to see why that car was there. There might have been 20 people around—this was 10:30 at night.[6][7]

On the third night of the rebellion, Fouratt co-founded the Gay Liberation Front, the first of many lesbian and gay liberation movements that sprouted across the country in the following months.[1][8]

Fouratt was a founding member of the Lesbian and Gay Community Service Center, the Gay Community Service Center, and Wipe Out AIDS (now known as H.E.A.L).[9] He was active in ACT UP, serving on the media committee with Michael Signorile and Jay Blotcher.[3]

In 2009, Fouratt took part in the Democratic primary against City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. He claims to have raised $20,000 in two weeks, but later withdrew.[1] In 2016, Fouratt ran for State Assembly but lost to Deborah Glick.[10] He is a member of the Village Independent Democrats club.[1]

Other Work[edit]

Music & Nightlife[edit]

In 1969 Fouratt worked as an assistant to Clive Davis.[3]

In 1978 Fourrat became the manager for the club Hurrah where he brought in DJs to create the first "rock disco," with music videos playing as well as live music acts.[11] He also worked at the New Peppermint Lounge, Pop Front, and Studio 54.[1][12]

In 1980, he opened iconic Downtown nightclub Danceteria with Rudolf Pieper. In June 1982, the two became embroiled in a legal battle and Fouratt was pushed out.[13]

In the early 90’ he served as director of national publicity at Rhino Records[9] and from 1995-1999 Fouratt was the vice president of A&R at Mercury Records.[14] In the late 1990s, Fouratt attempted to launch the sub-imprint Beauty Records, but that project was short-circuited when Mercury's parent corporation, PolyGram, was bought out by Seagram's, and Fouratt's acts were let go.[15]


Fouratt has been pop culture critic for Billboard and Rolling Stone magazines[1][16] and a contributing editor at Spin. Additionally, he has written for The Village Voice,[17] The Advocate, Bay Area Reporter, and Gay City News among others.[14] He is currently the Film, Music and Media editor of Westview News.[18]


Fouratt studied for seven years with Lee Strasberg in the early ’60s. Fouratt was a member of the Open Theater, and performed at Café Cino and La MaMa. He joined Actors Equity and made his Broadway debut in The Freaking Out Of Stephanie Blake.[12] He worked with the National Shakespeare Theatre in Cambridge.[3]

Personal life[edit]

In 1969, Fouratt asked his lover Peter Hujar to take a photograph for a Gay Liberation Front recruitment poster. The image is now one of the most iconic of the gay liberation movement.[19][20]

Hujar’s boyfriend at the time, Jim Fouratt, arrived on the scene to organize for the Gay Liberation Front (GLF), the first political group to cite homosexuality in its name. Hujar agreed to make a photograph for a GLF poster. The poster, portraying a jubilant group of GLF members under the slogan COME OUT!!, appeared in late spring 1970 in advance of the gay liberation march that marked the first anniversary of Stonewall.

Fouratt has faced criticism for his comments on transgender identities and transsexualism, which he views as a method "to make gay men and lesbians straight."[21] He believes that transgender identity reinforces gender stereotypes[22] and that trans discourse is marginalizing the experiences of cis gays and lesbians.[23] However, in a 2015 Facebook post, he wrote "I support the right of each person to control their body. Period. Fighting the conscription of socially policed gender behavior is an essential fight."[24]

On The Colbert Report in 2009, when asked by Stephen Colbert if there was a leader in the gay community on par with Martin Luther King Jr., Fouratt said, "Well, I would like to think that I'm that leader."[25]

Fouratt previously lived with Carl Miller, Allen Young, and Giles Kotcher in the Seventeenth Street commune.[26][27] He is currently being evicted from a 6th floor walkup apartment on Waverly Place, where he has lived since 1969.[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "The faces of Jim Fouratt". The Villager. 2012-07-03. Archived from the original on 2019-04-01. Retrieved 2019-04-01.
  2. ^ "NYPL Community Oral History Project | Your Village, Your Story | Jim Fouratt". oralhistory.nypl.org. Archived from the original on 2019-04-01. Retrieved 2019-04-01.
  3. ^ a b c d "ActUp Oral History Project: Jim Fouratt" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2018-08-01.
  4. ^ "Jim Fouratt | Arthur Magazine". Archived from the original on 2019-04-01. Retrieved 2019-04-01.
  5. ^ Kirby, David (June 27, 1999), "Making it work; Stonewall Veterans Recall the Outlaw Days", The New York Times, pp. Section 14, Page 3, Column 1, The City Weekly Desk, retrieved February 11, 2010
  6. ^ "Nightlife Legend Jim Fouratt Talks What Really Happened at Stonewall and Birthing Danceteria". PAPER. 2017-04-07. Archived from the original on 2019-04-01. Retrieved 2019-04-01.
  7. ^ Duberman, Martin B. Stonewall (1st ed.). New York. ISBN 0525936025. OCLC 26854943.
  8. ^ Duberman, Martin (1993). Stonewall. Dutton. ISBN 0-525-93602-5.
  9. ^ a b Chepesiuk, Ron (2007). Sixties radicals, then and now : candid conversations with those who shaped the era. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co. ISBN 0786437324. OCLC 170957857.
  10. ^ "New York State Primary Election Results: De La Rosa, Alcantara, Niou Claim Wins in Marquee Races". New York City, NY Patch. 2016-09-12. Archived from the original on 2019-04-01. Retrieved 2019-04-01.
  11. ^ Shapiro, P.: Turn the Beat Around: The Secret History of Disco, page 256. Faber & Faber, October 2006.
  12. ^ a b "who is jim fouratt | Facebook". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 2019-04-01.
  13. ^ Gooch, Brad. "Studio 54's Cast List: A Who's Who of the 1970s Nightlife Circuit". The Hive. Archived from the original on 2017-03-13. Retrieved 2019-04-01.
  14. ^ a b "Matt & Andrej Koymasky - Famous GLTB - Jim Fouratt". andrejkoymasky.com. Archived from the original on 2019-04-01. Retrieved 2019-04-01.
  15. ^ Inc, Nielsen Business Media (1998-11-07). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc.
  16. ^ Gundersen, Edna (July 27, 2000), "Eminem: What's with this guy? Rapper's hate-filled lyrics anger some, while others say it's just a clever act", USA TODAY, pp. LIFE, Pg. 1D, retrieved February 11, 2010
  17. ^ Leland, John (2017-09-10). "A Village Voice Reunion, and Nobody Got Punched". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 2019-04-01. Retrieved 2019-04-01.
  18. ^ "About Us -". Archived from the original on 2019-04-01. Retrieved 2019-04-01.
  19. ^ "The Morgan opens the first full-scale retrospective of the photography of Peter Hujar". artdaily.com. Retrieved 2019-04-01.
  20. ^ Fouratt, Jim (2016-03-29). "Jim Fouratt: CulturalInstigator: How the iconic PETER HUJAR COME OUT image is stripped of its political meaning and used without context .. by a museum with good intentions". Jim Fouratt. Archived from the original on 2019-04-01. Retrieved 2019-04-01.
  21. ^ "National Transgender Advocacy Coalition". web.archive.org. 2002-07-04. Retrieved 2019-04-01.
  22. ^ Stryker, Susan; Whittle, Stephen (2006). The Transgender Studies Reader. United Kingdom: Routledge. pp. 1–2. ISBN 0-415-94708-1. OCLC 62782200. Archived from the original on June 28, 2014. Retrieved October 12, 2012.
  23. ^ The transgender studies reader. Stryker, Susan., Whittle, Stephen, 1955-. New York: Routledge. 2006. ISBN 0415947081. OCLC 62782200.CS1 maint: others (link)
  24. ^ whoiscis (2015-08-01). "Jim Fouratt". whoiscis. Archived from the original on 2019-04-01. Retrieved 2019-04-01.
  25. ^ Stephen Colbert (June 25, 2009). "Jim Fouratt Interview". Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved July 1, 2017.
  26. ^ Jay, Karla (1999). Tales of the Lavender Menace. Basic Books.
  27. ^ Smash the church, smash the state! : the early years of gay liberation. City Lights Books. 2009. ISBN 978-0-87286-497-9.
  28. ^ Johnson, Richard (2016-05-10). "Danceteria co-founder evicted from Greenwich Village pad". Page Six. Archived from the original on 2019-04-01. Retrieved 2019-04-01.

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