John Lyon Burnside the third born in Seattle on November 2, 1916. Gay, Activist, Pioneer, one of the founding father’s of the Radical Faeries, Inventor of the Darkfield Kaleidoscope and the Symmetricon lived a very active life.
Being poor and raised as an only child his mother would have no choice but to place him in orphanages through-out Seattle. By his teenage years he enrolls himself into the Navy and served until he decides to call Los Angeles home.
For many, many years John L. Burnside was paid royalties from any company that sold a optically correct Darkfield Kaleidoscope in the United States (since he was the one that re-discovered the math behind the Teleidoscope).
In the early 1960′s he meets Harry Hay and they form a gay rights group named the Circle Of Loving Companions that promoted love and equal rights. During 1966 they were in the front line of one of the first protest/march against the military recognizing (way before DADT) of homosexuals.
They continue to push equality for all and in 1967 they both appear as a couple on Joe Pyne TV show (if anyone has the video, would love to see the interview). In 1977 John and Harry Hay were both in a gay lifestyle documentary called “Word Is Out” Directed by Nancy Adair, Andrew Brown and Rob Epstein.
On September third 1979 Labor Day weekend John L. Burnside, Harry Hay, Don Kilhefner & Mitch Walker form and held the first Radical Faerie gathering in Arizona. For the next 24 years they continue to be positive gay role models as a couple and militant activist until the passing of Harry Hay in 2002.
Before the passing of Harry Hay they were both in a documentary about Harry named “Hope Along the Wind” directed by Eric Slade. In early 2008 John L. Burnside was diagnosed with Glioblastoma brain cancer and passed away on September 14th, 2008.
Donations in John’s honor may be made to the Harry Hay Fund, to continue the activist work of John Burnside and Harry Hay. Donations may be sent to:
The Harry Hay Fund
c/o Chas Nol
174 ½ Hartford Street
San Francisco, CA 94114