What Playboy founder Hugh Hefner thought about gay rights and AIDS

What Playboy founder Hugh Hefner thought about gay rights and AIDS

Hugh Hefner has died at the age of 91, and the Playboy founder is being heralded as a kitsch – if certainly problematic – heterosexual icon.

While any celebration of Hefner should be tempered, given allegations of manipulation from his ex-partner Holly Madison, his contribution in the fight for civil rights, including LGBT rights, should also be acknowledged.

As well as naked pictures of women, Playboy often published short stories from significant authors, including science fiction masters.

One such story published in the 1955 – The Crooked Man by Charles Beaumont – explored the idea of heterosexuals being persecuted in a society dominated by homosexuals.

The story sparked a backlash, but Hefner said in response: “If it was wrong to persecute heterosexuals in a homosexual society, then the reverse was wrong too.”

He said years later that Esquire had turned down the story before Playboy opted to publish it.

As a swinger in the 1960s, Hefner himself experimented in bisexuality and once said: “Without question, love in its various permutations is what we need more of in this world.”

For Hefner, a celebration of sexuality meant a celebration of all types of sexuality, and suppression of LGBT rights was a suppression of the sexual revolution that he fought for.

In 2012, Hefner wrote an editorial in the September issue of Playboy outlining his support for same-sex marriage.

“The fight for gay marriage is, in reality, a fight for all of our rights,” he said.

“Without it, we will turn back the sexual revolution and return to an earlier, puritanical time.

“Today, in every instance of sexual rights falling under attack, you’ll find legislation forced into place by people who practice discrimination disguised as religious freedom.Their goal is to dehumanize everyone’s sexuality and reduce us to using sex for the sole purpose of perpetuating our species. To that end, they will criminalize your entire sex life.”

The AIDS crisis had a massive impact on the sexual revolution and on Hefner.

Playboy discussed HIV/AIDS and safer sex at a time when many were dismissing the disease as the “gay plague”.

“The only thing ‘wrong’ with AIDS is the way our government responded to it. They are culpable on many, many levels,” he told The Advocate.

“I have chosen every aspect of human sexuality – and the discrimination that goes along with some of those aspects – as my major concern. Homosexuality and, later, the homophobia that surrounds the AIDS crisis are part of a much bigger picture for me.”

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  1. Yazz Soltana
    September 30, 07:05 Reply

    Uhhh, ,,first to comment.. .
    I want to use the opportunity to thank all my friends and family members and shout out to all the kdians.. ..??

  2. Foxydevil
    September 30, 08:22 Reply

    I really can’t bring myself to celebrate this man. As someone with sisters and hopefully daughters in the future, this man represents everything wrong with the society and the way women are represented and undermined.
    Considering the fact both Kendra and Holly wrote about their stay at the play boy mansion and how it was all glam on the outside but not so glamorous inside. The emotional abuse, the torturous psychology, ageism, sexism and all around mental damage ….it becomes glaring that this man was Lucifer incarnated, offering you glam and cash only to dispose of you when you’ve aged with nothing to show for your wasted youth.
    Even his recent treatment of his wife, who I heard he left with nothing would shine more light on this horrendous old creepy pervert and what he truly was.
    Anyway I won’t speak ill of the dead. ?

    • Francis
      September 30, 09:29 Reply

      *drags in 10 feet mirror* ???

      • Mandy
        September 30, 09:37 Reply

        ????? Francis, you’re so messy.

      • Foxydevil
        September 30, 12:49 Reply

        Scans ?
        (diss so subliminal, barely detectable)

  3. Delle
    September 30, 09:39 Reply

    Sexuality is eternally fluid.

    Someone should please sound this. ??

  4. Mandy
    September 30, 09:41 Reply

    There’s been so much contention following this man’s death and how much he should be celebrated. i mean, he did objectify women and then the talk about abuse from Holly.
    Then you look at how pro-gay he was, and it shows how split women and the LGBT can be when it comes to the championing of their affairs. Then again, if going by something I heard someone say, that “one cannot claim to be a LGBT activist if he isn’t a feminist” is true, then how must we remember Hugh Hefner?

  5. trystham
    September 30, 10:53 Reply

    Never thot he could be this deep. Goes to show how much u can never really know someone. Then again, with the lifestyle he lived, its just as much easy to appreciate how horribly mistakes gone wrong can cost one. It’d be bad of him not to acknowledge HIV scourge.

  6. ogb
    September 30, 18:22 Reply

    “If it was wrong to persecute heterosexuals in a homosexual society, then the reverse was wrong too.”…this!!

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