Sunday, August 30, 2009
Hugh Hefner, Gay Rights Pioneer
An upcoming documentary about Playboy founder Hugh Hefner reveals information about his earlier years, including his early advocacy for gay inclusiveness.
When Esquire rejected a science-fiction short story by Charles Beaumont that depicted a world where heterosexuals were in the minority, Hefner accepted the piece and published it in a 1955 edition of Playboy, then still a relatively new publication.
After letters of outrage at Beaumont's "The Crooked Man" poured in, Hefner addressed readers. "If it was wrong to persecute heterosexuals in a homosexual society," he wrote in response, "then the reverse was wrong, too."
Even now, the twice-divorced 83-year-old entrepreneur, famous for his numerous romantic exploits over the years, tells The Daily Beast that gay marriage isn't hurting anyone.
"Without question, love in its various permutations is what we need more of in this world," he said. "The idea that the concept of marriage will be sullied by same-sex marriage is ridiculous. Heterosexuals haven't been doing that well at it on their own."
The documentary, Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel, will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.