The overall pattern is one of disdain for the conventions of bourgeois normalcy; voluntary poverty; and a tendency to burn one’s bridges so that return to everyday respectability becomes impossible. This pattern recurred with many of the early leaders, including preeminently Harry Hay, but also Don Slater, Dorr Legg, and Morris Kight in Los Angeles. In Boston there were Prescott Townsend and Charley Shively; in DC, Frank Kameny and Jack Nichols. The pattern is less common with lesbian leaders, though Barbara Gittings and Karla Jay (two very different figures) come to mind.
It seems that, paradoxically enough, a "happy medium" of craziness is needed. Too little produces timidity and clinging to the closet; too much and one flirts with genuine insanity. I would say that Donnie (mentioned above) was a borderline instance of the latter extreme. Another is Marsha P. Johnson, the New York trans activist who died in 1992 and is currently being honored in the documentary film "Don't Pay No Mind."