Archive for the ‘*Celebration*’ Category

We have said many times before that Archives and Footnotes are wonderful things as one finds many truths in the archives and in the footnotes a chance to further ones interests and education. A case in point here is found in one of our footnotes, first found as a one liner in the book Stonewall and then researched in the Hartford area by Richard Nelson. One person who many of us in Connecticut do not know about is Ivan Valentin, performer, artist, and freedom fighter. Ivan was an early trailblazer and was a forceful catalyst for change here in Connecticut in 1975, a change that was needed and a change that we all can thank him for every time we see one of our drag sisters performing in a Ct. bar, (see footnote) and each time let us remember to shout out Ivan Valentin Presente’

This new piece, While Paris Was Burning, Hartford Sizzled, would not have been possible without the archives of Jerimarie Liesegang, the mother of the Ct. Trans movement. As Jeri was going through her archives preparing her collection for presentation to Central Ct. State University Equity and Diversity Collection she came upon an article written by Rebecca Boyden about the House of Pleasure. The House of Pleasure was one of the Houses that operated for a time in Hartford along with The House of Everlasting Empire, The House of Nations, The House of Freedom, the House of Flava, and The House of Ebony. In 1993 Hartford’s first drag ball, “Hartford Sizzles” spearheaded in part by the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective, and was held at the Project 100 Community Center. Other balls hosted by Houses were held from 1993-1997. The balls were not only a heck of a lot of fun but raised thousands of dollars over the years for HIV/AIDS organizations and other community groups.

Connecticut has a rich and long history in LGBTQ Advocacy and Activism. Yet we unfortunately do very little to document this amazing history, especially given the accessibility of the Internet and its archiving tools.  To this point, I (jerimarie) recall back in late 2003, I was chatting with Mucha at Tisane’s and he was relaying to me the Hartford Balls that were held in Hartford following a screening of When Paris Was Burning.  Having been a newcomer to the Greater Hartford area, I was not privy to this information and found his descriptions of the Balls utterly amazing.  I asked him if any of this was documented in detail and he said not really though he had VHS tapes of all the Balls.  So I said, let’s do a documentary on the balls so it can be preserved and be a historical archive for the community and allies.  So in late 2003 a project was born; and Jerimarie, her partner Anja, Mucha Mucha Placer the mother of the House of Pleasure and Kevin Smith produced a video of segments from the balls and interviews with the key participants to explain the balls and the categories created that were an important part of these events. The video was first shown at the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in 2004. We dedicate this piece on furbirdsqueerly to Anja who left us all too soon and to all the folks who continued our communities stories.

Below are select images of some of the first ball participants:

Greta in her sunflower outfit. (more…)

From Fight Back News

45,000 Demand Queer Liberation in NYC
By Michela Martinazzi | June 30, 2019
Read more articles in LGBTQ

Members of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression in alternative Pride march. (FightBack!News/Staff)

New York, NY – On Sunday, June 30, 45,000 marched in the alternative Pride in protest of the corporatized World Pride event happening at the same time. The rally and march were organized by the Reclaim Pride Coalition, which formed as a response to last year’s Manhattan Pride celebration.

Every year, the city of Manhattan hosts one of the largest Pride parades in the world. As Manhattan is the birthplace of Pride, it’s fitting that the city should celebrate the monumental event of the Stonewall riots. However, as decades pass, Pride has turned from a militant march to a corporate parade. Last year was exceptionally glaring, as all the activists and organizers were placed at the end of the parade to let the cops, banks, electoral candidates, etc. lead the parade. A few groups attempted to resist and protest at the Pride parade last year, but it was clear that what was once a space for queer people to fight back had been taken over by corporate interests.

Organizers stated, “The 2019 Queer Liberation March is a people’s political march – no corporate floats, and no police in our march. This is a truly grassroots action that will mobilize the community to address the many social and political battles that continue to be fought locally, nationally and globally. We recognize the powerful legacy of the Stonewall Rebellion by highlighting the most marginalized members of our community.”

The march kicked off at Sheridan Square, opposite the Stonewall Inn, and thousands marched uptown to Bryant Park, where they picked up several thousands more. The route followed the original route marched by the Gay Liberation Front on the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Riot.
Throughout the whole march, people chanted about everything from Palestine, Black Lives Matter, immigration, to anti-war and anti-cop. Whenever the marchers passed an anti-people establishment, such as Chik-Fil-A or a Trump building, they would rowdily chant at it.

The march was completely unpermitted with very few cops present. The march ended in Central Park on the Great Lawn. Everyone gathered to listen to speeches, music, and celebrate being queer and militant. The rally opened with living members of the Gay Liberation Front, many who had been at Stonewall on that fateful evening. Speeches talked about needing queer liberation alongside the liberation of Palestine, fighting for climate change, acknowledging that they were speaking on stolen land, and needing a revolution to fully be free. The messaging of the day was that we will not be free until all of us are.

Check out photo’s and more at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/reclaimpridenyc/

 

Well I do. I was a bum then and I will be a bum until the day I die. But you know what the Capitalist, the cop, the corporations are bigger and meaner and the most nasty parasites on the face of the earth. So for this weekend enjoy being a bum, outside this dirty rotten system. For our weekend music enjoyment series let’s listen to Barbara Dane sing a reworked old IWW song, “Hallelujah, I’m a Bum.”

Kent State songs: https://rateyourmusic.com/list/JBrumm… A collection of Vietnam War songs by Barbara Dane and GI’s, called “FTA! Songs of the GI Resistance” (1970). It included the song “Hallelujah, I’m a Bum” – this was a response to Nixon’s comment on 30 April 1970 (just before the Kent State shooting) when he spoke at the Pentagon, saying “you see these bums, you know, blowing up the campuses”. The Washington Post ran the headline “Nixon denounces campus ‘bums’ who burn books”, while the New York Times declared that “Nixon puts ‘bums’ label on some college radicals”. A father of one of those killed at Kent State later told a reporter that “My child was not a bum”. “Oh bums of the earth, you’ve got nothing to loose But the chains and the tear gas, the Dick Nixon blues Hallelujah, I’m a Bum, hallelujah, who are you?… When he first called us bums, didn’t know what he meant But the guards defined it on the campus at Kent… Well power corrupts, we know that by heart But you got to admit Nixon had a head start… Well, some say his name Is slippery Dick Well I guess he is no bum, be he sure is some (dick)”

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The gate keeper is on the run or that is what we thought. Chasing the keeper down the street, yelling our loud fuck you, throwing what we could get our hands on as our comrades poured through the gate and went where we were not supposed to go. Punching screaming, kicking our way to liberation, no matter what. Ripping down what was and throwing away the lock. The gate keeper and all of keeper’s merry men who thought that their manpower would last forever, who thought that they could keep us outside of the real deal promise or a promise that many thought was real were put on the run. So many of us came to find out that the promises were on shaky ground and there is more fight on the other side of the gate. Again, as in anything new, gate keepers took their place among our very own people. For a short time that followed we worked hard to be free. That “No, that Keep Out, No Trespassing, nothing here for you was going to keep us fighting for a taste of that other side. What sweetness was over there waiting for us? Beckoning us, Come, Come.

I dream of the gate, every night. A big bold gate with a chain lock. My father gave me a pair of bolt cutter many years ago when he was giving away his tools. You made need these sometime in the future he told me. Bolt cutters are good for cutting padlocks or chains. Put a little muscle into it and snip open “sez a me.” Muscle is and was always needed when one is confronted at the gate unless one has a bulldozer or bazooka handy. Real deal gates present all sorts of problems when one is trying to get to the other side of somewhere you know that old, from here to there. Do you want enlightenment then smash the gate but be prepared as the gatekeepers and their helpers are some mighty dogs armed with teeth and they bite. I would gather then the simple solution is learn to bite but be sure to sharpen your teeth.”

Well a lot of folks back in the day said, we are not going to take any crap from the cops, from the straight man and he isn’t going to tell us what to do. Nobody is going to keep us locked up. Smash that fucking gate, break his heavy hand if need be. But you know a few months later in December something happened, something happened on the road to liberation and a wrong road was taken. A wrong turn that plagues our people to this very day. A road that set up many more gate keepers. Gate keepers who once again say no. Gatekeepers that kept the gates locked. But you know one thing is certain Madame Defarge is still busy knitting. (more…)

Pride
film-Screening and video-conference discussion with Mike Jackson, co-founder of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners

Sunday, June 23
1:30pm
Carriage House Theater
360 Farmington Avenue
Hartford, CT 06105

In 1984 the Thatcher government sought to close coal pits as part of an offensive on trade-unions in the UK. Mine-workers responded with what turned out to be one of the largest and most intense strikes in British history. After a spontaneous fundraising effort for miners at the London Gay Pride Parade, two gay activists (Mark Ashton and Mike Jackson) formed Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners. The group grew to 11 chapters and raised over 20,000 pounds for the families of strikers (about 80,000 American dollars in 2018).

The solidarity forged in the strike and support campaign led to major turning points in the movement for gay rights. After the end of the strike, the miners’ union joined the Gay Pride March in 1985 and in the same year campaigned for the first resolution in the history of the labour party to support gay rights – and it passed.

Join us for a viewing of the widely acclaimed film, Pride which tells the story of this remarkable struggle. The film will be accompanied by remarks and discussion with Mike Jackson by video conference, co-founder of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners, and a major consultant for the film.

For more information:
Contact 860-662-6278
On Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1971561662971325/

In from them.

This Pride Flag Redesign Represents the Diversity of the LGBTQ+ Community

by Eva Reign

Representation matters — especially for the most marginalized communities. The six-color rainbow pride flag we know well has served to symbolize the queer community since its emergence in 1971, but the queer community has evolved over the past few decades, leading many to question whether the pride flag still caters to those most marginalized in the community, including queer people of color and trans people.
It’s a dilemma Portland-based designer Daniel Quasar (who uses xe/xem pronouns) has sought to resolve with a vividly-modified redesign of the iconic flag, one that has gone viral over the past week with a Kickstarter campaign intended to fund the flag’s initial production costs. Quasar’s proposed flag includes the colors of the trans flag, as well as black and brown stripes harkening back to last year’s Pride flag redesign from Philadelphia, which sought to further represent the queer and trans identities of black and brown people. Those two stripes also represent those living with HIV/AIDS, people who have passed from the virus and the overall stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS that remains today.
The new stripes appear as a “hoist” to the right of the original Pride flag colors, and on Facebook, Quasar wrote that the traditional six stripes “should be separated from the newer stripes because of their difference in meaning, as well as to shift focus and emphasis to what is important in our current community climate.” Last year’s Philadelphia flag reboot sparked an array of reactions; many queer and trans groups swiftly voiced support of the new design, while others within the LGBTQ+ community rejected the idea, saying that the original flag’s colors were not chosen for skin color and that the stripes discriminates against white people. Thus far, Quasar’s design has received mostly positive reactions, and has already surpassed xis initial Kickstarter goal of $14,000 by over $3,000.

Of course, the inaugural pride flag sought to be inclusive as well. Gilbert Baker’s original pride flag was adorned with eight colors, including hot pink for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, turquoise for magic and art, indigo for serenity and violet for spirit. Each was intended to call attention to the totality of queer culture, and the multifaceted nature of what it means to be LGBTQ+. A shortage of hot pink fabric forced Baker to drop that color, and after combining indigo and turquoise to become royal blue, the flag’s colors were honed to the six-color array we know today.
Monica Helms, a trans woman and veteran, created the first and still best-known Transgender Pride Flag in 1999. Her blue and pink colors were intended to represent the gender binary, with the white accounting for nonbinary and gender-nonconforming people. Similar to Baker’s rainbow flag, Helms’ flag has had several redesigns over the years to better serve people of varying intersections.
Quasar’s design attempts to integrate the full scope of all queer and trans folk, and account for multifaceted histories within the community. Will this successful Kickstarter campaign launch be enough? Will this design win over even the most the reluctant of our community? Only time will tell as progress continues to move forward.

Why Stonewall is Important a Half Century Later

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What is the relevance of the 1969 LGBT Stonewall Rebellion to today’s world?

At a time of unchecked bigotry in official politics and endless US-supported wars and drone bombings abroad, explore how the early LGBT liberation movement successfully confronted generations of institutionalized anti-gay hate.

The 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion will no doubt bring forth corporate LGBTs and their hangers-on attempting to purge it of its profoundly radical content.

But as a riot it was quintessentially radical, and vehemently opposed to established authority. A long oppressed minority, stereotyped as weak and hopelessly marginal – successfully fought back against the brutality dished out by New York cops used to getting their own way. In so doing, they established a movement to which every out person today owes a huge debt for allowing us to more freely enjoy our lives.

Rather than get a superficial analysis of Stonewall from “moderates,” come to a panel of proudly radical LGBTQs to discuss why Stonewall was important, and what clues it gives to how we can defeat the Right today.

7 PM, Friday, May 17

Berger Park Cultural Center

6205 N. Sheridan Road, Chicago
corner of Granville Avenue & Sheridan Road
3 blocks east of the “Granville” Red Line el stop
Wheelchair accessible – please use the south entrance