Murray, Eldon 1930 - 2007 | Wisconsin Historical Society

Historical Essay

Murray, Eldon 1930 - 2007

Murray, Eldon 1930 - 2007 | Wisconsin Historical Society
Dictionary of Wisconsin History.

Eldon Murray, stockbroker and gay rights activist, born Vincennes, Indiana March 1, 1930, died March 5, 2007, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

After completing high school, Murray moved to Chicago, working different jobs and attending evening classes at Northwestern University for a short time. In 1951, he joined the army and served in Korea as a forward artillery officer. When he returned to Chicago, Murray started a career in finance but soon moved to Milwaukee.

His involvement in gay liberation began in 1970, when he attended meetings of the Gay Liberation Organization, a new student organization at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The organization changed its name to Gay Peoples Union (GPU) in early 1971 and soon grew from a campus organization into a resource for the entire Milwaukee gay community. The GPU strove to work towards social change through education and legal reform. Murray edited the nationally distributed newsletter of the organization, GPU News, from 1971 to 1981. He also participated in the production of the gay radio show "Gay Perspective," broadcast locally from 1971 to 1972, and helped fund a health clinic for sexually transmitted diseases that primarily served gay men in 1974. When the first AIDS cases were reported in Wisconsin in 1983, he raised funds for the Milwaukee AIDS Project, which later changed into the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin. In 1993, he founded SAGE/Milwaukee, the first organization in Wisconsin dedicated to serving the needs of older gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals.

The Eldon Murray papers are preserved at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. All issues of the GPU News are available in digital form at the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections.


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[Source: Eldon Murray Papers, UW Digital Collections; Brady East STD Clinic Records, 1972-2004, UW Digital Collections.]