The root of today's 2,600 American gay and lesbian publications is a newsletter created in 1947 by a secretary and circulated in carbon copies. In 1952 came "ONE", the first widely distributed gay periodical (in which, by the way, the love-hate relationship between gay publishing and advertisers began), and in 1953, "The Ladder" (the first public forum for lesbians), the "Mattachine Review", and an FBI investigation of gay-lesbian publishing. Since then, Americans have seen the gay-lesbian press attempt to define gay ideology, champion "appropriate" lesbian dress and appearance codes, promote the founding of a separate gay nation as part of the 1960s gay liberation movement, and, above all, grow. The "Advocate", the nation's first gay newspaper, came to dominate the field; definitions of gay and lesbian culture and, with them, "herstory," continued to change; the gay press responded to AIDS; various sexual activities became politicized; and gay publishing endured "mainstreaming." With this introductory survey of an understudied category of journalism, Streitmatter provides the basis for further exploration.