Gay Taos History

Posted on June 21, 2023

Willard “Spud” Johnson:

Joseph H. Sharp triggering the art colony

Gay Jewish American writer Myron Brinig in 1939

Brinig penned two novels that included homosexual characters.68
Farrar & Rinehart published Singermann (1929), the story of Moses Singermann, his wife
Rebecca, and their six children, including two gay brothers Harry and Michael, and the erosion
of the family’s traditional Jewish values in America.

The Rabbles a group of poets including Alice Corbin, Witter Bynner, Haniel Long, Supd Johonson, and Lynn Riggs which formed in the 1920s.

Myron Brinig

“historical-hysterical” parade in Taos

Mabel Dodge Luhan’s Home: (ps. she bought it from my great great great grandfather) – Mabel being bi.

Mardsen Hartley in 1918 – landscapes – came to grieve over German cavalry officer Karl von Freyburg.

D.H. Lawrence and Freida

1936, Count Michel de Buisseret visited Taos, New Mexico and developed an instant crush on Johnson

Historian Flannery Burke argues that the Taos Anglo art colony operated under an inequitable hierarchy and that homosexual men made up the middle rungs while powerful women such as Mabel Dodge Luhan secured a place above them.

To remind Witter Bynner of who held the power, Dodge accused Bynner of tainting New Mexico by bringing homosexuality to the state. Bynner’s biographer discounts the slur as “so marvelous in its imaginative vindictiveness as to be almost forgivable.”139 I disagree. Attitudes such as this, whether vocalized or not, kept gay men and lesbians as second-class citizens. Dodge’s own experiments with homosexuality, did not translate into acceptance.

Northern New Mexico’s reputation for art made it attractive as a queer space and I have argued that the identity category of homosexual fused with artist and fostered queer culture outside of an urban context

Activist Harry Hay – moved to NM in 1970 (who was part of the Matachine Society)

RFD (Rural Free Delivery) – Living Batch Bookstore in ABQ – Country Women (CW) for women living with women

Elaine Mikels in 1972 – first Truchas, then Taos – also Bea and Ellen who moved from San Francisco to Taos.

Lesbian Land – north of Taos – Eleven lesbians fro Oregon heeded the call. — Oquitadas Feminist Farm

Radical Faeries – hay’s ideas influenced Don Kilhefner and Mitch Walker — connection to the LA Gay Liberation Front

Lama Foundation – Based on Hay’s Radical Faerie vision Kilhefner and Walker joined the faerie circle and became Radical Faeries in 1979. Eventually settling in the Zuni Mountains of NM today.

Journey towards same-sex equality in NM – acceptance of lesbian headed ranches and farms.

Ellen Levy edited the first lesbian and gay newspaper for Taos – Common Language

New Mexico Gay and Lesbian Homesteaders Association which also published “The Bulletin”

Taos Horsefly

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