Kennith H. Burns born 21 January 1926 (d. 2007)
Kennith H. Burns was a founding member of the Mattachine Society, one of the US's first gay rights organisations, which was founded in Los Angeles in 1950 by activist Harry Hay and others.
Born in Santa Ana, Burns grew up in Long Beach. He briefly attended USC before joining the Army and serving in the medical corps during World War II. After the war, he returned to USC to study international relations.
Instead of pursuing a career in diplomacy, he went to work for the Carnation Co. in Los Angeles as a safety engineer, eventually rising to the post of safety director. He retired from the company in the 1980s.
In 1953, when McCarthyism was strengthening its grip on the national consciousness, Hay and other Mattachine leaders with communist ties were ousted and Burns assumed a more prominent role in the organisation.
The society moved in a more conservative direction during Burns' tenure as Mattachine president in the mid- to late 1950s. Along with other Mattachine leaders, including Harold Call and Don Lucas, he urged members to temper their public image and assimilate into society.
After stepping down from his duties as head of the Mattachine Society in 1959, he remained active in the gay and lesbian community and was honoured for his contributions by the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
Burns died from lung failure 16 December 2007 in Burbank, California. He was 81.
Popular Themes and Searches
Academics Activists Actors Architects Aristocrats Artists Ballet Beat Generation Bisexuals Broadcasters Broadway Businessmen Choreographers Classical Music Comedians Composers Critics Dancers Death by suicide Death from HIV/Aids DJs Drag Fashion Designers Female Impersonators Film Film Directors Hollywood Illustrators Journalists Leftfield/Avant-Garde Military Men Musical Theatre Musicians Novelists Olympic Medalists Oscar Wilde Painters Photographers Playwrights Poets Politicians Popular Music Porn Stars Radio Screenwriters Singers Songwriters Sportsmen Television Theatre Theatre Directors Tony Award winners Victorians World War 2 World War I Writers