Sasha Alyson is an American writer and businessman who started Alyson Publications in 1979. He later founded the Boston gay and lesbian newspaper Bay Windows, the travel company Alyson Adventures and Big Brother Mouse, a literacy project in Laos.
Alyson grew up in Berea, Ohio. His recalls being discouraged from reading because the books were dull. "I wasn't making much progress until my parents got me a copy of The Cat in the Hat. That caught my imagination, and I soon became an avid reader." His earliest publishing experience came at the age of 16, when he and friends produced an underground newspaper at their high school, taking up issues of the Vietnam War, racism, and students' rights.
Alyson Publications was based in Boston, Massachusetts, where Alyson lived at the time. At first, the company published books on a variety of subjects. One early book, Health Care for the People: Studies from Vietnam, reflected Alyson's ongoing interest in Asia. Soon it became clear that as a small press, it would be better to specialize. The company concentrated on subjects important to gay men and lesbians, particularly subjects that were under-represented in gay literature, including gay youth, black gay men, and older gay people. A number of anthologies focused on issues of concern within certain segments of the lesbian and gay community, such as deaf people, bisexuals, and teachers.