The Gay Peoples Union (GPU) was founded in 1971 as a social service agency dedicated to the needs of the gay community, and concurrently dedicated to educating the community at large about gays and lesbians. Its genesis was actually the Homosexual Freedom League at UWM, which become a non-university organization called the Gay Peoples Union.
The GPU published both a newsletter (the Milwaukee Update) and a monthly periodical (GPU News). The Newsletter was an update for the membership of activities and events, while the GPU News attracted a wider circulation with its collection of news, stories, advertisements for local and regional businesses, etc.
(See the Organization section for more information on the Milwaukee Update.)
At first, GPU News was primarily Milwaukee based and focused, and published without copyright. However, within a few years the publication became nationally known and widely recognized as containing superior editorial and fictional content in a broad range of interests to the gay and lesbian community. In its heyday (the mid-late 1970's), the magazine received wide acclaim, every issue featuring complimentary "letters to the editor" from people around the country. It began to publish with a copyright, held by Liberation Publications in Milwaukee.
Unfortunately, late in 1980 the magazine's volunteer base to compile and lay out the publication was severely compromised; and with regret the publisher, Eldon Murray, announced that the January, 1981 issue (volume 10 number 4) would be the last. Open subscriptions were picked up by another publication, Gay Community News of Boston; and GPU News ceased to exist.
Select pages, and all cover images, of the GPU News magazine issues are available online here via the "Cover Galleries" links above.
Due to the historical significance of this publication, the entire collection has also been digitized by the University of Wisconsin system. Find out more at the UW Digital Collections, Gay People Union Collection info page. Click the "Browse textual materials" link, then the "Browse journal/series" link for a full list of all issues available to view online.
Disclaimer-- Early issues of GPU News were published without copyright; full acknowledgement and gratitude to the publishers and authors for this foresight. Later issues were copyrighted by Liberation Publications. Reproduction of these publications is intended to document and honor those who made such early contributions to the community and with full desire to include proper credit.
Credits: Early edition courtesy of Jerry Johnson;
Special thanks to the UWM Special Collections Department for assistance
in compiling the Cover Galleries and extracts of contents.
Page design and arrangement by Don Schwamb.
Last updated: March-2011.