The Library of Congress > Linked Data Service > LC Name Authority File (LCNAF)

Shilts, Randy


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    • Birth Date

        (edtf) 1951-08-08
    • Death Date

        (edtf) 1994-02-17
    • Birth Place

        Davenport (Iowa)
    • Death Place

        Guerneville (Calif.)
    • Occupation

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  • Sources

    • found: His The mayor of Castro Street, 1982:t.p. (Randy Shilts)
    • found: N.Y. times, 2/18/1994(Randy Shilts, author; d. 2/17/94 in Guerneville, Calif., at age 42)
    • found: English Wikipedia website, viewed Feb. 13, 2013(Randy Shilts (August 8, 1951--February 17, 1994) was a pioneering gay American journalist and author. He worked as a freelance reporter for both The Advocate and the San Francisco Chronicle, as well as for San Francisco Bay Area television stations; Born: August 8, 1951, Davenport, Iowa; Died: February 17, 1994 (aged 42), Guerneville, California; Occupation: Journalist, author)
    • found: NUCMC data from Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Hist. Soc. for Linda Alband collection of Randy Shilts materials, 1966-1999(Randy Shilts (1951-1994) was a prominent, openly gay journalist and author. A freelance television and newspaper reporter in the San Francisco Bay Area, Shilts covered issues facing local LGBTQ communities, most notably the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. Shilts published three books: The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk (1982), And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS epidemic (1989), and Conduct Unbecoming: Gays and Lesbians in the U.S. Military, Vietnam to the Persian Gulf (1993). All three books were published by St. Martin's Press. Shilts was born Aug. 8, 1951 to a working-class, politically conservative family in Davenport, Iowa. He became involved in liberal politics while attending Portland Community College in Oregon and the University of Oregon in Eugene. He was president of the Eugene Gay People's Alliance and editing manager of the Oregon Emerald, the University of Oregon student newspaper. Shilts graduated with honors, with a B.A. in English and a B.S. in Journalism, in 1975. Shilts began writing for The Advocate in the fall of 1975, covering lesbian and gay community issues; he moved to San Francisco a few months later. He resigned from The Advocate in 1979. Shilts worked as a freelance journalist for KQED, from 1977 to 1980 and KTVU from 1979 to 1980. He worked for The San Francisco Chronicle from 1981 until early 1994, when his health deteriorated. In addition to covering LGBT issues, Shilts covered local politics, crime, and music; he was, for example, the main Chronicle reporter assigned to the San Francisco earthquake of 1989. In 1982, Shilts published his first book, The Mayor of Castro Street, about Harvey Milk and LGBT political power in San Francisco. Shilts' extensive research on the development of the AIDS epidemic, a topic assigned to him by the Chronicle, led to his second book, And the Band Played On, in 1989. This book chronicled how the national political climate shaped the epidemic's growth and examined its social ramifications. Critics have commented that Shilts' final book, Conduct Unbecoming, about how military culture historically shaped a particular kind of homophobia, enabled mainstream readers to see lesbian and gay issues as matters of human rights worthy of national and international priority. In 1987, Shilts was diagnosed as HIV positive; he publicly disclosed his status in 1993. He died of fully developed AIDS on Feb. 17, 1994, in Guerneville, Calif.)
  • Change Notes

    • 1981-10-01: new
    • 2017-11-03: revised
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