Shilts, Randy Martin
- Ralph E. Luker
Shilts, Randy Martin (08 August 1951–17 February 1994), journalist, was born in Davenport, Iowa, the son of Bud Shilts, a salesman of prefabricated housing, and Norma (maiden name unknown). Neither of his parents graduated from high school. They raised four sons in a politically conservative Methodist family. Young Randy Shilts grew up in Aurora, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, where he organized a local chapter of Young Americans for Freedom and graduated from a public high school. Shilts entered the University of Oregon in 1969. Two years later he openly acknowledged his homosexuality and became a leader in the Gay People’s Alliance in Eugene. In his senior year Shilts ran unsuccessfully for student body president on the slogan “Come Out for Shilts.” After completing requirements for graduation with honors in English literature, Shilts decided that he “didn’t know how to write.” Changing his major to journalism, he learned that he could write well, won several journalism awards, and served as managing editor of the campus newspaper. In 1975 Shilts graduated at the top of his class with a B.S. in journalism....