Doug's done an amazing job in giving the history of Stonewall. His posts on art are extraordinarily good, too. I've learned so much from him.
Indeed. But this Stonewall series is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand recent history.I wonder how the movement for GLBT rights would have been different without the decimation of HIV/AIDS. It is like herding cats.
How things would have been different? Hard to say.I came out in the late 80s (87/88) and at that time the GLBT movement was seeing its first real leadership from lesbians. I remember lesbians showing up in the bars to take a mike and talk about fundraisers. It was still shocking for many at the time. Up until that time the boys had kept the stage and the focus on the G part of GLBT. Lesbians were shamefully pushed to the side and had to find their voice through other venues. HIV/AIDS was and is an unmitigated disaster. I lost friends back then. I continue to worry about friends now.But one result emerged. With so many gay leaders cut down by it the community had no choice but to look to the lesbians for some leadership. And that changed everything. The real shame is that it took a horrible disease to open up the podium. Thankfully there were women willing and able to step up and lead. I don't think that our progress would be possible without lesbian leadership at every level of the movement.
What I remember from San Francisco and the Bay Area, early 60´s is that Gay and Lesbians didn´t mix it up much...yes, there were Lesbian bars but far more Gay bars...I remember there was a Lesbian named Jackie who drank with us all the time...she was very into discussing sports, quite attractive, masculine and wore lipstick...one I saw her crack a beer bottle over the head of some straight guy that had come in to harrass a Gay man. I think it wasn´t so much that Gay men and Lesbians were not friends as much as Lesbians always seemed to be more discreet (except when cracking beer bottles over peoples heads)...really, I think that was the key and often still seems that way to me...in this culture they certainly are low, low profile...I sponsor a prominent Lesbian in a 12Step Program and she is so careful...really, it´s not a healthy situation when there is a great deal of lawlessness a lot of public drunkeness and machismo is still a devise that entitles men to do almost anything they want (and do). Truly, I´ve always found Lesbians more ¨careful¨ than Gay men...not a bad thing, sometimes simply a matter of being quite wise. I have had medium to close friendships with Lesbians my entire adult life (including now).
I forgot a interesting tid-bit...I went to High School with a Lesbian and her father was the most famous anti-Gay-famous Chief of Police (for a huge city) that the city had ever known (there were almost NO GAY BARS in this huge/famous city)...nobody ever knew (except us) and we would ¨double date¨ and switch ¨dates¨ after we got to where we were going which was usually a coffee house (they were popular late night spots and usually had lots of people like us)...we always spoke on the telephone using ¨code¨ exchanging he and she as needed (also nicknames using the opposite sex replacements). We lived in a whole different world of our own shaping, making and dating. The Chief of Police would have had a stroke...I still smurk when I hear his name (and I do) even though he is deader than a doornail.
Interesting website:http://outhistory.org/wiki/Stonewall_Riot_Police_Reports%2C_June_28%2C_1969Jonathan Katz is looking for people named in the reports recently released by NY FOIA.
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