John Mitzel

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John Mitzel (born 1948, died 2013) was a writer and gay-rights activist. He was born in a town near Cincinnati. As a teenager, he was institutionalized for his homosexuality. After being released from a psychiatric hospital, he ran away from home. Later he enrolled at Boston University. He became involved in Boston's gay liberation movement. With Charley Shively, he co-founded the radical newspaper Fag Rag in 1971.

He was the long-time manager of Glad Day bookstore, then later went on (in 2000) to found Calamus Bookstore in Boston's South End, after Glad Day bookstore was forced to close when the the store’s lease came up and the new owner of the building wanted to turn it into luxury condominiums.

He helped organize the first Gay Pride March in Boston. Mitzel was known for his knowledge of the history of the Boston gay rights movement and for his wit.

Quote from his book, The Boston Sex Scandal:

Mitzel was born in Ohio in 1948. In 1967, he attended the organizational meeting of the Cincinnati Mattachine. His activism, over the years, has included work with the Boston Student Homophile League, Gay Male Liberation, Fag Rag and the the Gay Community News, for which he writes regularly. Mitzel wrote a monthly column for the Philadelphia Gay News for 3 years. His work has also appeared in many gay periodicals as well as in anthologies. Other titles by him include: Sports & The Macho Male; Myra & Gore; John Home Burns: An Appreciative Biography; Skylines; A Short History of Modern Capitalism Through Its Ladies; and a collection of fictions, Some Short Stories About Nasty People I Don't Like. Under the name Bunny LaRue, he has published two curious chapbooks. Mitzel resides in Boston. As he is committed to the eradication of dullness, he can't imagine life without gay liberation.

He died at his home in Arlington, Massachusetts on October 4, 2013 of complications from treatment for cancer.


Mitzel wrote a number of books, including fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Among them are appreciations of John Horne Burns and Gore Vidal, as well as an account of the Boston Sex Scandal of the 1970s. He wrote The Boston Sex Scandal, Doubly Crost, Inferno Heights, and a collection of poetry, Some Poems, which were published by his store’s Calamus Publications

Shortly before his death, he published Last Gleanings, a collection of short stories set in gay Boston from the late 1970s to the late 1990s, about friends lost to AIDS, which was released through the store’s Calamus Publications imprint.

Importance to the BoyLove Movement

His book, THE BOSTON SEX SCANDAL (1980, Glad Day Books, 22 Bromfield Street, Boston, MA 02108) [NOTE: Now in preparation as a .PDF file, and soon to be made available for on-line access -- watch this space! :-)] describes in detail the persecution in Boston of a number of BoyLovers which led to the foundation of the Boston/Boise Committee (B/BC), and, shortly afterward, to NAMBLA.

It is an excellent read. It describes in detail the political persecution of BLs, and demonstrates police tactics used to out, persecute, and destroy BLs -- just as the Azov prosecutions are doing now.

Reviews of the book:

"In his irreverent, hilarious and hard-hitting prose, Mitzel reveals the hypocrisy and cynicism that underlie the current crusade against intergenerational love. This book is a detailed look at the often banal, always ambiguous truth that the sex scandal headlines have masked. I predict that children's liberation will be the next great social movement in North America. This book will serve as a major document in what will turn out to be the most violent and radical debate on human rights we shall witness."
"Mitzel's book is a brilliant and disturbing piece of investigative journalism. Brilliant because it meticulously documents and spotlights a witchhunt that might otherwise have appeared little more than isolated and accidental incidents. Disturbing because it reveals the ease with which many people — thirty years after McCarthyism — still allow themselves to be seduced by yellow journalism, government inspired hysteria, and antisexual foolishness into turning the victim into the criminal, and the criminal into the victim. This book is a welcome addition to the arsenal not only of men and boys who love each other, but of all those who wish to put an end to the tyranny of fear, stupidity, and the arrogance of the state. Mitzel touches a raw nerve."

External links

For a more comprehensive review of Boston Sex Scandal (and several other important BL publications) see:

A video is available of John Mitzel telling the story of Charley Shively burning the Bible at Boston Pride 1977 (from Fag Rag)

About Mitzel The Savoir Flair Article Titled The Talented Mr.Mitzel by Judy Van Handle (as pdf)

About the Boston-Boise affair at Newgon wiki: