“Historian and founding figure” of the bear community [Peter Hennen]
“I was a student of yours in the 1990s. You had a profound impact on me. You were the first openly gay man I had met, and you taught me so much about so much. Never doubt you had positive impacts on your students!” [former student]
Les K. Wright is an author, photographer, literary scholar, gay historian, gay activist, long-term (pre-HAART) AIDS survivor, photographer, and retired professor of English and German. He is a founding member of the GLBT Historical Society of San Francisco, and the founder of the Bear History Project. He has appeared in several documentaries. His papers, including the Bear History Project, are archived in the Human Sexuality Collection at Cornell University.
He was educated at the University at Albany (Comparative Literature–German and Russian) (BA), Universität Würzburg (German and English), Universität Tübingen (German, Russian, American Studies) (MA), UC Berkeley (Comparative Literature–German, Russian, English, Dutch, and French) (MA, PhD). He received a fellowship in Netherlandic Studies at Berkeley and a Fulbright/DAAD fellowship at Cornell. He was a tenured professor of English and Humanities at Mount Ida College (Boston) and has adjuncted at several universities and colleges in New York, Massachusetts, and the San Francisco Bay Area.
Parallel to his formal academic studies, beginning in 1975 he pursued the study of gay history and literature, which at that time did not exist as a field of study in academia. Despite persistent warnings from faculty at UC Berkeley, he continued his pursuit of gay history as an independent scholar, even as queer studies took root in the English Department there.
He is currently writing a memoir.