SF Bay Reporter
Bill Brent, a prolific author of sex-positive literature and a member of San Francisco's alternative sexuality communities, died during the weekend of August 18-19. He ended his life by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge after a long struggle with depression and chronic pain. He was 52.
Mr. Brent was involved in the Bay Area bisexual, BDSM, Black Leather Wings radical faerie, and pro-sex literary communities in the 1990s. He published The Black Book – one of the first queer and alternative sexuality directories – and edited or contributed to more than 30 erotic anthologies.
"Bill was a leader in the fin de siecle San Francisco erotic and sex radical renaissance in countless ways," said author Susie Bright, former editor of On Our Backs. "He published so many great people, he was endlessly generous, and a devoted literature person in every way."
Mr. Brent was born July 17, 1960, and grew up mainly in the East Bay. Recalling his less than happy childhood he once wrote, "[San Francisco] was my home away from home, that suburban hell where I'd spent most of the 1970s in a deep depression knowing that I was a freak, a rebel, an outcast every time I boarded the bus for the lunatic asylum called high school."
Mr. Brent attended San Francisco State University in the late 1970s, where he studied theater arts. He got involved in the punk rock scene and began to frequent gay sex venues in the city. After college he performed with Bay Area drama groups, tap danced, and helped start a theater company.
In the late 1980s Mr. Brent began volunteering with San Francisco Sex Information. Noting the lack of a comprehensive compilation of sex-positive resources, he produced the first of six editions of The Black Book in 1992, which he described as "a resource for everyone sexual in the 'other' category – everyone who wasn't married and having children, basically."
"Bill lived his whole life never apologizing for two important things: who he was and what he was into," said longtime friend and colleague Thomas Roche. "He didn't hide his bisexuality from the gay community. Now many people prefer the less restrictive, more inclusive, and for many more descriptive term 'queer.' But Bill is one of the people who helped invent that queer identity, well before it was fashionable. He helped show a bunch of people just how much their own rights to their own identities could matter." ...
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