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July 19 @ 3:00 pm 4:30 pm

Eleven-year-old Dale Mitchell asked his father, “Why don’t you just get it over with and tell me you hate me?” His father’s response? “I hate you.” Said so matter-of-factly, it seemed hardly worth mentioning.

Growing up in strait-laced, lily-white suburbs of the 1950s and early 60s America, Dale Michell was an outsider from the start. He learned at an early age the price one paid for being different. Bullied, harassed, and ostracized, Dale started seeking an escape even before puberty revealed just how dangerous his predicament was. By fifteen, taunts had turned into blows, and Dale lived under a near-constant threat of assault.

But there was hope. The whiff of revolution was everywhere. Black Power, Mao, free love, androgyny, LSD, and Haight Ashbury were all the rage. Freaks like Andy Warhol, Timothy Leary, Little Richard, and Janis Joplin were in; stuffed shirts like Billy Graham, Liberace, LBJ, and Lawrence Welk were out. It was the perfect time to come out.

Taking it all in, Mitchell embraced Sixties-style rebelliousness with a vengeful vigor. No outrage was too petty or extreme. From bullied teenager to gay barfly to hippie faggot freak to drug-addicted speed junkie, he kept at it, trying to secure an escape from his past. Not until he participated in the Stonewall riots did he finally glimpse something previously unimaginable—a rebellion by and for gay people.

Hippie Faggot Freak: The Making of a Gay Liberationist is the frank, raw, and sometimes harrowing account of a young man’s struggle against seemingly insurmountable odds. New was the idea of living as an out, proud, in-your-face gay man. Dale’s story is the story of one who was among the first.

Thoroughly engaging, the account is also sometimes shocking. Dale’s journey was improvised—traveling a path without blueprints or roadmaps, where there was only a thicket of hatred, lies, and repression. As often as not, it led to dead ends. Yet he emerged as something never before seen: a “gay liberationist.” Ultimately, Hippie Faggot Freak is a story of transcendence—of bravery, perseverance, resilience, and, most importantly of all, an unquenchable thirst for freedom.

Izzy Ostrowski


Bangor Public Library

145 Harlow Street
Bangor, Maine United States
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