|Born||23 June 1941|
|Known for||Gay activism|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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). He was active in ACT UP, serving on the media committee with Michael Signorile and Jay Blotcher.
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. In 2016, Fouratt ran for State Assembly but lost to Deborah Glick. He is a member of the Village Independent Democrats club.
Music & Nightlife
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. He also worked at the New Peppermint Lounge, Pop Front, and Studio 54.
In the early 90’ he served as director of national publicity at Rhino Records and from 1995-1999 Fouratt was the vice president of A&R at Mercury Records. 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.
Fouratt has been pop culture critic for Billboard and Rolling Stone magazines and a contributing editor at Spin. Additionally, he has written for The Village Voice, The Advocate, Bay Area Reporter, and Gay City News among others. He is currently the Film, Music and Media editor of Westview News.
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. He worked with the National Shakespeare Theatre in Cambridge.
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." He believes that transgender identity reinforces gender stereotypes and that trans discourse is marginalizing the experiences of cis gays and lesbians. 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."
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."
Fouratt previously lived with Carl Miller, Allen Young, and Giles Kotcher in the Seventeenth Street commune. He is currently being evicted from a 6th floor walkup apartment on Waverly Place, where he has lived since 1969.
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