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John Burnside (inventor)

Partner(s)  Harry Hay (1962–2002)
Spouse  Edith Sinclair
Role  Inventor
Name  John Burnside

John Burnside (inventor)
Full Name  John Lyon Burnside III
Born  November 2, 1916 (1916-11-02) Seattle, Washington, United States
Occupation  Gay rights activist, Inventor
Died  September 14, 2008, San Francisco, California, United States
Education  University of California, Los Angeles
Movies  Word Is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives
Similar People  Harry Hay, Rudi Gernreich, Peter Adair, Rob Epstein

Organizations founded  Radical Faeries

John Lyon Burnside III (November 2, 1916 – September 14, 2008) was the inventor of the teleidoscope, the darkfield kaleidoscope and the Symmetricon. Because he rediscovered the math behind kaleidoscope optics, for decades, every maker of optically correct kaleidoscopes sold in the United States paid him royalties. Harry Hay was his life partner from 1962 until Hay's death in 2002. He was living in San Francisco, California, at the time of his death on September 14, 2008 from complications of brain cancer.


Early life

An only child born in Seattle, he was raised by his mother after his father abandoned the family; being poor, she periodically placed her son in the care of orphanages.

He served briefly in the United States Navy, and settled in Los Angeles in the 1940s.

Gay rights activism

Burnside and Hay formed a group in the early 1960s called the Circle of Loving Companions that promoted gay rights and gay love. In 1966 they were major planners of one of the first gay parades, a protest against exclusion of homosexuals from the military, held in Los Angeles. In 1967, they appeared as a gay couple on the Joe Pyne television show.

In the late 1970s, they founded, with Don Kilhefner and Mitch Walker, the Radical Faeries.

Personal life

Burnside married Edith Sinclair in Los Angeles. The pair had no children. Burnside later met Harry Hay in 1962 at ONE Incorporated; the two fell in love and became life partners. Burnside died Sunday, September 14, 2008 at the age of 91. [1] His ashes, mingled with those of his partner Harry Hay, were scattered in Nomenus Faerie Sanctuary, Wolf Creek, Oregon.

Published obituaries

  • Los Angeles Times obituary
  • Bay Area Reporter obituary
  • White Crane Blog
  • San Francisco Bay Times obituary
  • Gay City News obit
  • Queensland News obit
  • References

    John Burnside (inventor) Wikipedia

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