“…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 the 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.
Slavery 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.
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 scientifically 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 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 the 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 challenge 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.”
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.
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.”
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 with 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 demonstrations—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, 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).
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…