1938 - 2005

John Richard "Jack" Nichols was a writer and gay rights champion at a time when identifying publicly as LGBT posed serious risk of being jailed or institutionalized. In 1961, he founded the Mattachine Society of Washington - a gay advocacy group - with Frank Kameny. Nichols chaired that group's Committee on Religious Concerns, which evolved into the Washington Area Council on Religion and the Homosexual, to help initiate dialogues between gay activists and clergy. In 1965 Nichols helped establish the Mattachine Society of Florida, then went on to organize some of the nation's first gay and lesbian civil rights demonstrations. In April 1965 he led the first gay rights march before the White House. Then, on July 4th, he picketed for gay rights at Independence Hall in Philadelphia - the first of a series of annual demonstrations which continued on Independence Day through 1969. In 1967 Nichols became one of the first Americans to openly discuss his gay identity on national television. At the request of his father, an F.B.I. agent, he appeared under the pseudonym "Warren Adkins" on the news documentary, 'CBS Reports: The Homosexuals'. In 1968 Nichols began his column 'The Homosexual Citizen' for the straight publication 'Screw.' The following year he founded 'Gay' - the first weekly newspaper for gay people in the U.S. - with his partner Lige Clarke. In 1973, Nichols was among those who successfully lobbied the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. Following Clarke's brutal murder in 1975, Nichols became editor of 'Sexology' and, in 1981, was hired as news editor of The San Francisco Sentinel. In 1997 Nichols became Senior Editor at online news magazine GayToday.com. His books include two titles with Clarke as well as four of his own including Men's Liberation: A New Definition of Masculinity (1975) and The Gay Agenda: Talking Back to the Fundamentalists (1996), Nichols died in 2005 from cancer of the salivary gland at the age of 67.


Gender Male

Sexual Orientation Gay

Gender Identity Cisgender

Ethnicity Caucasian/White

Nations Affiliated United States

Era/Epoch Homophile Movement (1945-1969) Information Age (1970-present) Post-Stonewall Era (1974-1980)

Field(s) of Contribution



Social Justice

Commemorations & Honors

Mattachine Society of Washington Co-Founder (1961)

Mattachine Society of Florida Founder (1965)


Original Biography Author
Victor Salvo
Biography Edited By
Owen Keehnen
Resources Coordination
Carrie Maxwell