Allan Spear at the New Riverside Cafe, Minneapolis, 1972 (photo by Bruce Goldstein)
In an article that appeared on the front page of the December 9, 1974, edition of the Minneapolis Star, State Senator Allan Spear revealed that he was gay. Never before had an American male legislator at any level—or in any state—come out publicly. (A Massachusetts state representative had recently announced that she was a lesbian.) Spear’s revelation created a sensation, both locally and nationally. He was inundated by phone calls and letters. Many of them were gratifyingly supportive, but some were disturbingly spiteful. Despite the occasional backlash, he insisted he was “comfortable” with his decision to go public. “[I] felt better about myself than I ever had in my life,” he later wrote. “I would never again have to be ambivalent about who I was. I was now proudly and affirmatively gay.”
Photo via Minnesota Historical Society High-res

Allan Spear at the New Riverside Cafe, Minneapolis, 1972 (photo by Bruce Goldstein)

In an article that appeared on the front page of the December 9, 1974, edition of the Minneapolis Star, State Senator Allan Spear revealed that he was gay. Never before had an American male legislator at any level—or in any state—come out publicly. (A Massachusetts state representative had recently announced that she was a lesbian.) Spear’s revelation created a sensation, both locally and nationally. He was inundated by phone calls and letters. Many of them were gratifyingly supportive, but some were disturbingly spiteful. Despite the occasional backlash, he insisted he was “comfortable” with his decision to go public. “[I] felt better about myself than I ever had in my life,” he later wrote. “I would never again have to be ambivalent about who I was. I was now proudly and affirmatively gay.”

Photo via Minnesota Historical Society