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Mikeharvey

Gay Writing

A rummage through my cupboard revealed a forgotten pile of leaflets and pamphlets and books from, and about, the early days of Gay Liberation from the 1970s. Some I bought in the USA. So nostalgic. Reminded me of the days when I was involved in that movement in a small way.  A booklet entitled ‘With Downcast Gays’ (1973) about homosexual self-opression was especially poignant. How some gay people at that time unconsciously believed the stereotypes foisted upon them by the world and actually lived them.  I’d like to think that booklet would be unnecessary these days, but I can think of at least three friends who are still, in this day and age, uncomfortable talking about their sexuality, even to other gay people. I started to re-read a book published in 1971 called ‘Dancing the Gay Lib Blues’ by Arthur Bell, a founder of Gay Activists Alliance in New York, in the days following the famous Stonewall riots of 1969.  I can still re-live the excitement of those early Gay Lib days when changes in public attitudes started to happen.  ‘Dancing the Gay Lib Blues’, although about the American experience, reminded me of the huge debt of gratitude gay people owe to those early, brave activists.  I sometimes went to meetings of Gay Activists Alliance when I lived in New York. I didn’t do much though except hand out a few leaflets. But I did take part in Gay Pride march down 5th Avenue which ended up at a big outdoor rally in Central Park.  Was that really me?  It was a different me I think.  I was certainly a lot younger…….
Threre is quite a lot of gay stuff on my bookshelves.  Representing sixty years.  Not looked at some of it for years.  Young gay people have no idea how rare such books were 60 years or so ago.
TheRejectAmidHair

Re: Gay Writing

Mikeharvey wrote:

A booklet entitled ‘With Downcast Gays’ (1973) about homosexual self-opression was especially poignant. How some gay people at that time unconsciously believed the stereotypes foisted upon them by the world and actually lived them.  I’d like to think that booklet would be unnecessary these days, but I can think of at least three friends who are still, in this day and age, uncomfortable talking about their sexuality, even to other gay people.


It's interesting you say that. It is, indeed, no more than I'd expect: if you constantly get the message that what you are and what you do is shameful, then it is only to be expected that many people will feel shame. Which is, o course, a terrible thing. But this is something I am not getting from the novel I'm reading now - In One Person. I accept this is intended as a joyous celebration of our different sexualities, but for people to grow up in the 50s who are gay or bi or trans-sexual, and not feel any sense of guilt or shame at all, just isn't ringing true.

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