The Orlando’s wherever we are Pt. 5: A “fuzzy” gay state-of-affairs.

“…gay leadership’s ‘over indulgence’ in its community’s blind recreational revelry (and failure to address the dangers of harboring stagnant lives) now…apprentices enter…disillusioned about 9781481707282_COVER_FQA.inddthe fight at hand.”

Trouble In Black Paradise Chapter 16: “Sexual Power” Honed As A Tour De Force In The New World, page 367.


Greetings heart filled readers!

Trouble in Black Paradise follows a long trail of “lost jewels”— where some finally dared stand up!

“Radicalized” Christian leaders are the most damaging forces derailing humanity—churned out of U.S. “cookers.”

Here, something is certain:

Afro-Americans & LGBTQ folk still have monstrous intimidators staring down dedicated defenders when they dare to step forward.  Each camp though, had a strikingly different state-of-affairs awaiting allies (who initially emerged) to take those terrifying risks.

Fannie Lou Hamer Civil Rights Lioness1Slavery did put Black advocacy (or “suffrage” movements) on international stages, so its national definition came almost right out of the gate!  From slavery, to Reconstruction, to the 1960’s, vocal campaign priority pointedly stressed this:

Setting Afro-Americans on a path to unified growth—social/political & spiritual (non Black abolitionist networks often aggressively taking the lead).

Black resisters led the national unity platform—primed to face the vengeance of “radicalized” suppressers.

They were David Walker, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Pinckney Pinchback, Dr. W.E.B. DuBois, Mary McLeod Bethune, Paul Robeson, Shirley Chisholm, Malcolm X, Rev. Leon Sullivan, Fannie Lou Hamer (above, left), Dr. King, & a list of unsung warriors.

Dr. Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950) is considered the “Father of Black History.”  Dr. Charles Thomas (1926-1990) is considered the “Father of Black Psychology.”IMG_20160401_0017b

But gays until quite recently would not even dare to “surface”—above ground.

No gay national outline (on par with the “visions” of Black liberators) pushes to achieve collective social/political & spiritual growth.  No LGBTQ spokesperson or persons (designated by consensus) exist.  There have been no national leaders, only a smattering of national organizations with varied focus—it’s a fuzzy situation indeed!

Unlike with Blacks the almost complete gay “invisibility factor” makes it so fuzzy.  Add two major items (that otherwise for Blacks are totally similar):

The total pulverizing of homosexuals—psychologically & physically—by “radicalized” America kept it impossible for gays to see themselves as “legitimate beings” (worthy of the battle).

And daylight stomping for gay rights (the “homophile movement”) was mostly by whites—already imbued with a certain sense of “fit in” privilege.

Groundbreaker Magnus Hirschfield (1868-1935) set the modern “gay consciousness” stage, but from Europe, making a major impact on the global scene.

Hirschfield was a famous sexologist based mostly in Germany.  Traveling the world boldly hoping to revolutionize attitudes on homosexuality (also touring the U.S.) he campaigned to Harry Hay the Lavender Lion1scientifically legitimize gay reality—and rigorously pushed for women’s rights.

It would be in 1950’s & 60’s America that individuals (like Harry Hay–at left, Barbara Gittings, Frank Kameny, Jack Nichols, etc…) smashed their own closet doors & organized “gatherings”—the extreme rarity of their having a much easier “coming out” helped them take those dangerous leadership positions.

The “call” from U.S. homophiles, where Hay’s Mattachine Society & Lyon & Martin’s Daughters of Bilitis had national chapters (some international) determined a shocker: indeed there was a sea of suffocating folks trapped & hiding under the ice—desperately waiting for self-liberation direction.

So these “Boomer time” leaders became fledgling gay society’s stand-up voices—perched on the cusp of 1969 Stonewall.

Finally someone beat the drum in modern times for national “gay suffrage” recognition (previously unparalleled); out of them came the few white visionaries actually touting a gay social/spiritual “substance” (rather than just sneaky dens for trysts)—recognition ingeniously Ode To The Golden Dame (a)spotted LGBTQ communities that soon “might be”.

Hay’s vision in particular (at right with me in SF) forged ahead: he cofounded the Radical Faeries.  Faeries merged “gay culture” back with spirituality—but from the East; rejecting hetero conformity & gay commercialization (for a “queer naturalist” identity).

Hay (who had spent time among Native Americans with “Two Spirit” priests—absorbing the culture) particularly stressed getting homophiles into the Civil Rights movement; about the time I first met him he was an L.A. founder of 9780451527530the Lavender Caucus—part of the Rainbow Coalition in Jessie Jackson’s 1980’s bid for U.S. President.

Today SF’s Harvey Milk (a local hero) may be most familiar of all—as a martyred icon.  And openly gay politicians could come closest to national (& even local) reps—but bring well known setbacks.

Upwardly mobile “tunnel vision” (as it does for Blacks) often distracts politicos from aggressively pushing gay community platforms: many are status-quo politicians, thus advice often is to “wait” (for an easier “climate”) to craft equality legislation—contradicting Dr. King’s steadfast guidance.

Unlike “grassroots” folks (like Calif.’s Tom Nolan, John Laird, Christine Kehoe, Tom Ammiano, Bevan Dufty & the late Neil Goode) politicians pushing gay spiritual growth, social substance & gay history seem nonexistent.  Not wanting to “rock the boat” (or challengeIMG_1587 their own unfinished business) most politicians settle amid recreation & revelry—pandering to celebrity praise.

Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) is one who has “rocked the boat,” not “settled” & did not wait.  Leno (at right with me) caused a conventional uproar, introducing a bill titled The Fair Education Act (SB 48);  Governor Brown signed it into law on July 14, 2011.  It adds LGBTQ historical contributions to the public school curriculum on all levels—but only in Calif.

For gays we’re back to the same dilemma: none out on the broader U.S. tapestry—who’ve finally gained key political status—“envisions” a national unified platform.  Gay politicians have no inner call to coalesce, employing their own chosen career’s major tool: “legislative machinery.”

thRBEXTMPTAfro-Americans though, have The Congressional Black Caucus.

On March 13, 1971, Rep. Shirley Chisholm & 12 colleague cofounders followed their inner call, issuing a “statement” to President Nixon.  In it were “more than sixty recommendations for executive action on issues facing black America.”  Declared to be “bipartisan” the caucus professed to form a political advocacy force on behalf of the entire African-American community.

Black political leadership made a clear, “spiritually based” action—legitimizing the plight of beings who represent them; therefore legitimizing the use of a valid “tool” (to the fullest) for their constituent’s advancement —the “glue” of allegiance (notably propped) as a necessary focus.

There is no parallel Congressional Lavender (LGBTQ) Caucus, or any hint of forming a unified national political “gay muscle”—that I’ve heard of.51UrWKWwj4L__SX303_BO1,204,203,200_

In terms of gay pioneer “achievement titles” Hirschfield (above left) is called the “Father of Transgenderism” & the “Einstein of Sex”—internationally.

Hay in the U.S. is the modern “Father of Gay Social/Political Activism”; his drawing constant attention to homophobic “pop culture’s” systematic damage to gay psyches (& our critical need to “reverse” it) could make him this: the “Father of Gay Psychology” & “Gay Spiritual Recognition.

Jonathan Ned Katz co organized the acclaimed, landmark 1976 book, Gay American History.  Katz could be deemed the “Father thCJZBOLSNof Gay & Lesbian History”—but it’s an honor I’ve never seen.

And across the gay “tracks” yet another part of the equation:

Pioneer Black Lesbians & gays had their own insider gathering places—along with backers publicly stepping-up.  Unlike with whites though, socializing was often right among hetero society (in dens, or public “hang-out spaces”)—gays infusing themselves at a certain hour.

The 1920’s Harlem Renaissance found radical & subtle voices putting the plight of Black LGBTQ folks on the map. Entertainers like Bessie Smith & Ma Rainey had “hot lyrics” (& steamy same-sex reputations); Gladys Bentley’s signature was to “cross dress”—flirting shamelessly thwith women from her stage.  Richard Bruce Nugent cofounded “Fire,” the 1st Black magazine with openly gay themes; & known homosexual Alain Locke (the Father of the Harlem Renaissance) hosted literary “open house” soirees for promising writers of all persuasions—Richard Wright & Langston Hughes were regulars.

Openly gay Bayard Rustin was also a “regular” at Locke’s soirees & did so much more: he could be the “Father of the modern Civil Rights Movement.”

Rustin (1912-1987) was the strategic & intellectual advisor for every major Civil Rights leader of his time; he brought Gandhi’s “non violent” tactics to 1950’s Southern Rustin With King In Watts after the 1965 riots1demonstrations—co organizing the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Rustin was attacked & denounced by most major Black leaders, but Dr. King (with him in Watts, 1965) retained his critical advisory position—always standing by him.

1950’s & 60’s saw (for starters) openly gay James Baldwin & Lorraine Hansberry (below at right) being major forces in the Civil Rights drive.  Championing Black gay reality as well (exposing white gay hostility & exclusion) they set the stage for 1970’s activists—the time when I did finally emerge.

Myself, Ron Grayson (below with Dr. Lenora Fulani of NY in the clip), Cleo Manago, Christine Tripp, Eric Shepard, Joe Beam, Essex Hemphill, Barbara Smith,Lorraine Hansberry, social activist and first successful Black female Broadway playwright.jpg1 Audra Lourde, Marlon Riggs, Blackberri & many others, grabbed the baton.  Hence we pioneered bringing LGBTQ Blacks proudly out of the repressive shadows—into legitimate “daylight” breathing spaces.

We pushed for our national social/political & spiritual unity growth—thru cross-country networking.  We saw the sea of Black gays trapped under the ice—astutely recognizing our own communities (lost in the broader scheme) that soon might be.

Openly gay elected Blacks slowly emerge, but also seem lost in the broader scheme.  Unlike with whites I’ve yet to find Black gay politicians listed categorically in a search (only a news article).  When I attended the 1988 Gay Elected & Appointed Officials Conference in San Diego not one Black rep. was present (a glaring absence—until I bravely stood to point this out).

Today more Blacks appear to be involved in what is now an LGBT International Leadership Conference, but workshops seem focused more on gains out in the public governing scheme.  I see none targeting gay internal unfinished business: racism, sexism, extreme “emotional” calamities, rudeness, vicious bantering, stagnant development, lost allegiance, etc… (All tied to “radicalized” monster’s external attacks).

IMG_20160401_0016bOrlando’s incident slammed onto the chaos map.

A colossal “safety & awareness” campaign—to shore up our defenses against outsider monsters—is more critical than ever.  Only internal strength (clarity expanding growth & unity) thwarts such unforeseen doom—let alone what’s predictable.

Leadership “vision” undeniably can make—or break!

But for gays—just like our LGBTQ state-of-affairs—it’s a fuzzy thing indeed!

To be continued…


2 thoughts on “The Orlando’s wherever we are Pt. 5: A “fuzzy” gay state-of-affairs.

  1. Jim Glines

    Part 5

    First, let me say how wonderful it is that you mention some of the most important leaders in my lifetime that affected me, either in early or later years, and brought me sense in a world full of senselessness. Shirley Chisholm was one of the most influential leaders to spur me toward political thinking. Martin Luther King was pivotal in my eventual understanding that non-violent methods of protest are an answer and a goal to emulate. And of course Harry Hay, one of the most thoughtful, graceful and outspoken elders I have had the pleasure to meet in my life. And there is one that you didn’t happen to mention, Barbara Jordan, who, with a demeanor that absolutely, positively meant business and whom I greatly admired, would be among the trailblazers. Along with Shirley Chisholm, Barbara led the way for black women to move toward politics and therefore made great strides for everyone in our country. Thank you and I hope people look up and learn just why all of the people that you mention are so important and how, collectively and as individuals, they embody the very things that we need most in our society: voices of reason, voices of outrage and voices of support.

    Secondly, there are so many voices that I miss since I left San Francisco (Tom Ammiano! Mark Leno!) I miss being among the folk that speak out, can speak for and speak to our gay brethren. In Connecticut there are few who would come up against the established political structures without their primary concern being for their own skin. I am chagrined that we have so few among us here to believe.

    I quote you:

    “Unlike “grassroots” folks (like Calif.’s Tom Nolan, John Laird, Christine Kehoe, Tom Ammiano, Bevan Dufty & the late Neil Goode) politicians pushing gay spiritual growth, social substance & gay history seem nonexistent. Not wanting to “rock the boat” (or challenge their own unfinished business) most politicians settle amid recreation & revelry—pandering to celebrity praise.”

    Politics in my opinion used to be about change, growth, progress. Now it is scandal, ridicule and our elections the outcome of a perverse ‘beauty pageant’. The hope of unity, a theme on which I unendingly seem to be making comment, and most especially the idea of a Unified Gay Platform, looks to be so far distant in this current political climate that I fear it will never come to be.

    Who is responsible for this lack of action by our elected officials to protect and cherish the gay community? Everyone! Who will stand for what we believe – the concepts of truth and reason, the equity in fairness, the treatment of citizens with a view to humanistic ideals, the instillation of hope for a future and care for each other? I have no answers but I have ideas, and I even to some degree have faith that eventually reason and love will win the day.

    If we continue to elect ‘representatives’ that do not represent all of us, who with a wave of their hand dismiss our agenda as worthy of ridicule, who do not listen to genuine need and pay only lip service to our concerns, is it not our responsibility to continue to shout until their self-centered positions are seen as legitimately under fire and endangered?

    It is the legacy of these incredible, notable and noble people in our former (and current) history that we never be silent or accepting. SILENCE = DEATH: the death of ideals comes with complacency, the death of our bodies seen as useless and disregarded by our politicians, the death of a movement caused by the combined result of an uncaring, racist group of ‘rulers’ and the constituency that, having been lied to and mollified, turns belly-up for the coup de grace and lets them aim the knife at their heart.

    My friend, you are to be commended for bringing the previously mentioned people and their attempt to illuminate what needs to be seen and I certainly include you to be among those teachers.

    I quote:

    “A colossal “safety & awareness” campaign—to shore up our defenses against outsider monsters—is more critical than ever. Only internal strength (clarity expanding growth & unity) thwarts such unforeseen doom—let alone what’s predictable.”

    Well said! The call must go out to truly shore up our defenses, to examine and speak to each other and to the world in a unified voice. You are completely correct in stating that only internal strength thwarts doom, predictable or unforeseen.

    Lastly, to address the Orlando monster and his effect on us:

    The collective entities of the press (and our own voices) did not address the education issue and opportunity that this tragedy offered us in that the short-term memory and tiny attention span so evident in our modern world is believed and worse, encouraged as a reason to prevent exposure to critical, logical thinking. This is in fact a deflection; the press and other sources seem to believe that we, as Americans, as World Citizens, cannot have useful, formative and meaningful dialog when it comes to terror and its effects on our communities. I believe the ‘dumbing down’ of the electorate and the 10-minute sensationalism espoused by the press in general (and television press in particular) is in full swing and we’ve got to educate, educate and educate!

    The Pulse killer in indiscriminate fashion killed gay and non-gay alike. The sorrow of our nation was so temporary that there was no time for all of us, gay or not, to come together in a forceful, meaningful and real way. Rather than all citizens working toward a communal method of addressing and coming toward possible solutions to the problem, the response was either ‘that’s too bad’ or ‘serves them right’ – a response that left no palpable, workable solutions to consider.

    I believe that it was merely the magnitude of this attack that made the press on it at all so ubiquitous at the time. If it were one person killed it would be barely newsworthy. But how do we impress on the world that even one soul lost to these kinds of monsters is too great a price for our community to pay? That only one person that perpetrates such horror – even against only one of member of our community – is worthy of our concern, our outrage and our consideration to come together and find solutions?

    I am proud to raise my voice and I say thank you not only to you, not only to our community’s responsible leaders for their outreach, I thank each and every person who turns away from bigotry, from violence, from hatred. While this monster showed us that even in the most basic of situations we need to be vigilant, the aforementioned people in our past, in our now, in our times to come, are all great teachers and are all vital to us as a gay community, as a democracy, as a people.

    Perhaps we hope unrealistically but I don’t think so. We need to be ever more aware that our future doesn’t exist unless we educate the young, remind our peers, and thank the elders that pointed the way to freedom.

    I love you, I thank you, I appreciate you, and I support you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. adilifufundi Post author

    How marvelous that you include Barbara Jordan. Of course with limited time & space here (& you know how that is) I hoped to get a representative sampling of warriors. I hoped also to have readers in responses add their favorite notables to the list. And here you are!

    The “lioness” Jordan, also a lesbian, had a protective bite that truly matched her avocational roar. And Shirley Chisholm, pioneer Black female candidate for U.S. President was a ferocious in-your-face guardian of the underdog. As you advance through Trouble In Black Paradise You’ll enjoy the line-up of unsung historical heroes I’ve provided & where they are placed in the book’s unfolding format. Neither of these two get full stories there, but let’s see if there are some warriors included that might surprise you.

    I offer an eye-opening quote from Edward R. Murrow as a lead to my blog on Colin Kaepernick. Fits right in line with your assessment of standard media. The insight from Murrow in his stern warning is prescient & haunting. Not surprising that it remains lost to current pundit analysts, but it is central to battling McCarthy & to the movie “Good Night & Good Luck.”

    Yes, I did expect (just as you did) that Orlando’s incident would fade quickly from sights, hearts & minds. But the worst pain of all is seeing it disappear so completely in gay social spaces & absolutely marginalized by gay media. You know me, I’m a practical child. Prone to keep up a little social poking & prodding. So I experiment: ask questions, raise scenarios, & generally point out shit. Response, blank-eyed & irritably dismissive (“didn’t come here to talk about that stuff”) shows its truly the arena of “Dude Snotties.” How ironic that U.S. civic leadership & media patriotic moralists do the exact opposite with another crime, totally impacting us on the same emotional & physical shock scale: the incident of 9-11.

    I remember us gathering at the Lone Star patio, numb, frightened at the heart stopping reality that our world had drastically changed. I had defiantly left work early (against the “company’s” wishes) & in a mental fog I met you all there. We hugged, cried (many in our patio like you had close friends caught in it, who had just died), we laughed nervously & made bold serious critical assessments (regarding U.S. culprits having their own foreign policy crimes against humanity come disastrously home) & relished the fact that we had this treasured circle of gay “us” to commiserate with.

    Orlando’s ground zero blast triggered no less level of mind numbing shock & horror! Like 9-11 I’ll always remember “where I was” & many local folks here had personal friends in Pulse (workers & patrons) who perished. Yet, gay “leadership” losing that “glue” move right on along so quickly, as if the world of the homosexual sanctuary has not drastically changed, as if there’s no link whatsoever to the same need to at least give broadcast service to vigilance.

    The attack will probably be relegated to an annual novelty memorial.

    Your added dialogue on this site is a treasure. Raising your voice fills my heart with joy!



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