Edward Sagarin helped prepare a generation of homosexuals to become the first gay liberationists when he published, under the pseudonym Donald Webster Cory, "The Homosexual in America: A Subjective Approach" in 1951.
Although Sagarin, who was married with children at the time, published under a pseudonym, the book nonetheless was the first in the United States to discuss homosexual politics and present an early vision of gay liberation.
"One great gap separates the homosexual minority from all others," Sagarin wrote, "and that is its lack of respectability in the eyes of the public, and even in the most advanced circles."
In the 1960s and 1970s, Sagarin, who was a respected professor of sociology and criminology, openly identified as homosexual and was active in the Mattachine Society, though he was known for holding extremely conservative views.
For example, he vehemently opposed the rejection of the view of homosexuality as a sickness and continued to urge gays to seek therapy long after the APA officially removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.
For nearly twenty-five years, most gay activists were unaware of the fact that Edward Sagarin (who many considered an enemy to the cause) led a double-life as Donald Webster Cory (who many considered "the father of the homophile movement").
During a heated exchange at a 1974 conference, however, after Sagarin decried the rise of gay liberation, Laud Humphreys, a liberationist academic, ended a retort by calling him "Mr. Cory." After that, Sagarin largely removed himself from gay politics.
Edward Sagarin died of a heart attack; he was seventy-two.