Stuart Timmons, known for chronicling the history of gay Los Angeles in “Gay L. A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, and Lipstick Lesbians,” co-authored with Lillian Faderman, died today.
Timmons, 60, had been in ill health since 2008, when he suffered a serious stroke that left him relatively unconscious for a little more than a year. He recovered somewhat a little more than a year later and was able to continue his writing.
“Gay LA” was the first deeply researched and definitive book about the LGBTQ culture in Los Angeles, a culture whose history rivaled that of New York City, which had received more attention. Timmons also was the author of “The Trouble with Harry Hay,” a biography of one of leaders of the gay rights movement in its early years. And he launched the WeHo LGBTQ History Mobile Tour in 2015, which was presented as part of the City of West Hollywood’s One City One Pride series of events during that year’s Pride month.
Simmons has written for publications as varied as Spin, Vibe, LA Weekly, Frontiers and the Advocate. He also was a former board member and executive director of the ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives.
Timmons began developing three walking tours of LGBTQ historic sites in Los Angeles in 2007. While he was able to develop tours in Silver Lake and downtown Los Angeles, his stroke interrupted work on the WeHo tour. On his website Timmons praises the City of West Hollywood’s One City One Pride program and Lavender Effect and ONE Archives for helping him complete that.
A blog by the Stuart Timmons Trust contains his own story of his early life.
“Stuart Craig Timmons was born January 14, in Cottagewood Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota, at 7:30 am. His father used to joke that he was born covered with ice cycles. He was the longest baby ever born in that hospital. While still a toddler, he moved to Santa Barbara, because his father got a job there and his mother’s sister, Aunt Martha, lived there.
“He remembers Santa Barbara as idyllic, especially the house on St. Francis Way and the pastoral landscapes and beaches. ‘We had a lot of nice neighbors. The Bennett’s lived across the street (she was a nice lady who shaved every day and wore heavy foundation makeup), the Liters lived right up from us, the Sawtelles lived across the street and had a player piano and a swimming pool, and the Cooleys and the Robinsons lived down the street. So did Aunt Martha, which was a primary reason Mama moved there. ‘
“‘Martha was the original tasteful lady, with perfect furniture, perfect art, perfect clothes, perfect everything. Her best friend was a tall lady named Marie Miller, who was sort of a premature Martha Stewart, who had fixed up an old barn so that she could rent out rooms. Santa B. was like my own private Eden.’
The Lavender Effect will recognize Simmons with a prayer tomorrow during its WeHo Rainbow Tour said Andy Sacher, its founder. Sacher complimented Simmons and his willingness to let the Lavender Effect and Out and About Tours continue his legacy. “We have been passed the baton, and we are so excited to run with it,” he said.