John Paul De Cecco (born 1923) is a major American gay-rights scholar and activist. After completing his studies at several East Coast institutions, John De Cecco settled into a long and successfully career at San Francisco State University. There he and Michael Shively founded the Center for Homosexual Education, Evaluation and Research (CHEER) in 1975. CHEER was designed to be an academically-based research center where scholars from a variety of disciplines, but predominantly from the social and behavioral sciences, on homosexuality. De Cecco later noted that the Center was founded in "the heady days of Gay Liberation," so it had an activist component and sensibility rather than a strictly objective academic remit. Several research projects were initiated, conducted, and completed under the auspices of CHEER, including the Civil Liberties project (CLIB) and the Sexual Assault and Violence Education Project (SAVE). Eventually, CHEER morphed into the Center for Research and Education in Sexuality (CERES).
The Journal of Homosexuality was founded by Charles Silverstein in 1974. Beginning with volume 3, no. 3 (Spring 1978), the Journal was edited by John De Cecco. According to an editorial by De Cecco in his first issue, the journal would be devoted to "research on human sexuality, sexual preference, and social sex-roles" -- meaning that from the beginning the editorial scope of the Journal expanded beyond homosexuality to cover gender roles and identity as well as sexuality writ large. De Cecco also made it clear that the Journal was to be an interdisciplinary enterprise and that it would include articles not only from academics but also from practitioners in the fields of social work, psychiatry, criminology, and so forth. Many numbers of the journal were edited and assembled by guest-editors who created "special issues" on topics such as theory, psychotherapy, homosexual couples, and alcoholism.
Even though De Cecco has handed over the editorship to others, the Journal has shown a remarkable longevity. In fact it continues to thrive, publishing more material than ever.
Alongside the Journal, John De Cecco has taken charge of a monograph series produced by Haworth Press. His dedication in pursuing these endeavors is virtually unique in the field of modern gay scholarship. The only real parallel is Magnus Hirschfeld in Wilhelmine Germany.