Archive for the ‘Our Stories’ Category

When I was very politically active in the LGBTQ rights movement and any legislation or action was being promoted by the group I would always ask “how does this impact the poorest among us?” What if anything will this new way do for them? Its fine and dandy that the middle class or the upper class will make out well but if all of the others (probably the majority) are not lifted then I want nothing to do with whatever is being promoted. I took that stand when the Lesbian and Gay community were fighting for “their” rights leaving the Trans and Bi community behind. I never believed them when they said, we will be back for you and knew that was BS. “No,” I said, “I will sit this out, I do not want my rights if all of our people can’t share with us what is common and decent for all.” Generally most of the folks were too tired after the fight against the conservative bigots to come back for others. (not excusing anyone) I can not pretend that I was anything other than working poor and found more in common with others in my class than with the upper classes.

I came across this quote by the great Black Gay Revolutionary James Baldwin today and wanted to share it.

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The New Haven Pride Center Presents:

FEMME IN PUBLIC: a performance by Alok Vaid-Menon

What feminine part of yourself did you have to destroy in order to survive in this world? At what point does femininity become synonymous with apology? Who hurt the people who hurt you? Alok is trying to figure it out.

Join for an evening of poetry, comedy, and performance art.

Monday, November 13, 2017
Performances at 7:00p and 9:00p
Doors open 30 minutes before performances.
General Admission $25 / Center Members $20 / Students $15

Lyric Hall Theater
827 Whalley Ave, New Haven

About the Artist
Alok Vaid-Menon (they/them/their) is a gender non-conforming performance artist, writer, educator, and entertainer. Their eclectic sense of style, political comedy, and poetic challenge to the gender binary have been internationally renowned. Alok was recently the youngest recipient of the prestigious Live Works Performance Act Award granted to ten performance artists across the world. They have been featured on HBO, MTV, The Guardian, National Geographic, The New York Times, and The New Yorker and have presented their work at 300 venues in more than 30 countries.

See facebook page for more details HERE.

If you can and if you haven’t or if you have ever or never yet seen a performance by Alok get your tickets and go. High Queer Art, some of the best.

The murder of Candace Towns in Macon Georgia marks the 25th reported murder of a trans person in the U.S. in 2017, making it the deadliest year on record for transgender Americans. So far, almost every victim, including Towns, has been a woman of color. Rest in Power Candace we fight on.

The Kalos Society and Gay Liberation Front of Hartford were at the march.

 

My then boyfriend Miguel and I had returned to NYC from the West Coast that spring. We got a place on the Lower East Side. When it came time for this march I said to him, “We missed Stonewall I am not going to miss this march. We went with a group of our friends dressed in our fine “gay” hippie style.

In 1999 a small group of LGBTQ folks met at the University of Connecticut with the purpose to go through boxes of archives from Foster Gunnison. Mr. Gunnison was a early gay civil rights pioneer and involved with many of the Homophile movements of the early 1960’s.  In going through these archives, ourstories, stories of before Stonewall and after Stonewall began to emerge. This was the first time that anyone had gone through box after box containing leaflets, minutes of meetings, early planning for actions, newspapers and photograph after photograph. A treasure chest of our people. In 1966 Gunnison was appointed chairman of the Credentials Committee with the job of deciding who should or should not be invited to attend conferences. In 1967 he founded the Institute of Cocial ethics in Hartford Ct. which would maintain the records and archives of the American Homophile Movements, facilitate communications among homophile organizations and handle business for NACHO, ECO and the Christopher Liberation Day Committee. In August 1969, 2 months after Stonewall, radicals within NACHO and ERCHO attacked the respectable approach taken by the homophile organizations and issued the following 12 point program to the movement. This was the beginning of the end of the conservative homophile movement. The Eastern Regional Conference of Homophile Organizations, (ERCHO) voted at this time to disband to prevent further take over by what liberals and conservatives saw as a radical element.

The following A Radical Manifesto was among the Gunnison papers.

A RADICAL MANIFESTO
THE HOMOPHILE MOVEMENT MUST BE RADICALIZED!
(August 28, 1969)
l) We see the persecution of homosexuality as part of a general attempt to oppress all minorities and keep them powerless. Our fate is linked with these minorities; if the detention camps are filled tomorrow with blacks, hippies and other radicals, we will not escape that fate, all our attempts to dissociate our- selves from them notwithstanding. A common struggle, however, will bring common triumph.
2) Therefore we declare our support as homosexuals or bisexuals for the struggles of the black, the feminist, the Spanish-American, the Indian, the Hippie, the Young, the Student, and other victims of oppression and prejudice.
3) We call upon these groups to lend us their support and encourage their presence with NACHO and the homophile movement at large.
4) Our enemies, an implacable, repressive governmental system; much of organized religion, business and medicine, will not be moved by appeasement or appeals to reason and justice, but only by power and force.
5) We regard established heterosexual standards of morality as immoral and refuse to condone them by demanding an equality which is merely the common yoke of sexual repression.
6) We declare that homosexuals, as individuals and members of the greater community, must develop homosexual ethics and esthetics independent of, and without reference to, the mores imposed upon heterosexuality.
7) We demand the removal of all restriction on sex between consenting persons of any sex, of any orientation, of any age, anywhere, whether for money or not, and for the removal of all censorship.
8) We call upon the churches to sanction homosexual liaisons when called upon to do so by the parties concerned.
9) We call upon the homophile movement to be more honestly concerned with youth rather than trying to promote a mythical, non-existent “good public image.”
10) The homophile movement must totally reject the insane war in Viet Nam and refuse to encourage complicity in the war and support of the war machine, which may well be turned against us. We oppose any attempts by the movement to obtain security clearances for homosexuals, since these contribute to the war machine.
11) The homophile movement must engage in continuous political struggle on all fronts.
12) We must open the eyes of homosexuals on this continent to the increasingly repressive nature of our society and to the realizations that Chicago may await us tomorrow.

These 12 points when voted on did not pass the convention. Losing to the conservative members the split began to widen between the two groups.

Note: The exhibition Challenging and Changing America: The Struggle for LGBT Civil Rights opened in October 1969 at the Hartford Public Library. This exhibition traveled around the state of Ct. Not only were the archives of Foster Gunison used in this exhibition but archives from Central Connecticut State University in the Equity and Diversity Collection. Most LGBT scholars had thought prior to this exhibition that the Foster Gunison archives were tossed out by his family after his death but our little group sent out the notice via the New York Public Library that the archives were alive and well.

Note: From the papers of Gunnison: Foster Gunnison Jr. declares he is ipposed to the notion that heterosexuality is somehow the “norm” by which all other relationships must be judged. He urges homosexuals to expose themselves for who they are and to aim for “free and open expressions of homosexual affection.” In the name of these goals he calls for radical-militant tactics, including confrontations, street demostrations, blatant and hard-hitting assaults on social institutions, and even welcome, where called for, riots and violence.

This quote rings true today. The more things change.

Word went out in the early days, “All of the oppressed have to unite. The system keeps us all weak by keeping us separate.”… Jim Fouratt, one of the organizers of the Gay Liberation Front.

Well, well, well. We got a call the other day from dear old punkpink you remember pink now don’t you? That rabble rouser, tell it like it is, no holding back or holes barred, (now that would be fun to work with that statement) type of person. Yeah dear old punkpink gone off to the wilds of Vermont studying twigs and berries and forging for food, chopping wood, living the good life among goats, chickens, and other barnyard animals. Yes, dear old revolutionary punkpink. Well pink called us the other day and said, “Now I may be out of sight but I will always be in your readers minds and yours too for a matter of fact. So you’re doing essays I see on LGBTQ Ourstory month, how about publishing one that I wrote?” Well how could we refuse but which one should we publish? May Day suggested the essay that ended Part 2 of ourstories We applaud our Revolutionary Sisters and Brothers. A lesson in Ourstories. Okay sounds good, sort of puts it where its at, rings true still and needs to be said. So punkpink here it is your contribution to our LGBTQ Ourstory stories for the month of October 2017. (ha ha ha, yes baby we are all all ready as the straights say history)

Mr. and Mrs. Jones be Dammed. I never liked those fuckers and would rather kill them than be like them.
or, Why Do They Hate Their “gay” So Much That They Want To Be Straight?
by punkpink

I asked typist to do my essay all in pink so no one in their right mind would think that I was a straight person. I’m as  queer as queer can be. I like pink and pink likes me is a slogan that I have above my writing desk. I have taken from articles that I wrote and that have been published on furbirdsqueerly to form this essay.

Hello from the woods of Vermont, where I stopped working my back woods person butt off for a few, to write these lines to you. No don’t worry I don’t claim to be a poet cause I can rhyme a few lines and get away with it. No not me. Too busy chopping wood, shoveling snow,(when it does, I thought this was winter in Vermont) taking care of the goat and chickens and doing what way out in the woods folks have been doing for years. Waiting for spring but trying hard to enjoy the winter and not eat all of the food that has been put by for weather such as this.

So Mommy and Daddy or Mr. and Mrs. Jones is what I am suppose to write about, those dear folks who represent all that was and is wrong with everything, those folks who we escaped from so many years ago, who we claim we would never be like in a million years even if they tied us up and make us squeal like a piglet. Nope not us. We were determined to burn down the old world and from the ashes a new world was to be in birth. Well something derailed the liberation train way back in December of 1969 back when all heaven was breaking loose all across americkkka and “gay” folks were acting up just like other oppressed folks. Well in that cold winter month nineteen people met and formed what was called the Gay Activist Alliance. Their goal was to be completely and solely dedicated to securing basic rights for homosexuals to the exclusion of the other movements. The Alliance wanted to win acceptance within the country’s institutions. So sad and how different from those whom I called comrade, friends, lovers for our mission was to topple and transform the country’s institutions. To set in their place justice and freedom. Institutions that cared about all of the people not just the comfortable class of war makers, the bourgeoisie, the white middle class and any one else who mindlessly waved the red, white and blue and rah rah over dead Vietnamese. The key here of course is to “win acceptance within the confines of that which was strangling so many of us all around the world, to win acceptance even today with the institutions that are still strangling folks all around the world. I don’t think that any of us reading this need a listing of the corporations that straight gays have cozied up to, to begin to understand what we are talking about.

Yes back in that December on the road to liberation a dreadful turn was made. The ugly place we had fled from, the place that looked at us and said burn fag burn became our grabbing new reality. The place we all swore up and down that we would never be a part, we began to delight in. And they said, “If only we had some rights then we could be free. Let’s march on up to the state capitol and get some of that good americkkka that the straight folks enjoy. If we just tuck and tweak and reform it a bit we will be okay. After all we are just like straights except for what we do in bed.” Those who wanted to be just like mommy and daddy were able to wrestle the movement away from those who rejected such a plastic boring selfish straight vision of what life was and what it could be. This horrible sameness this stench of war and bosses, this get what we can in this good old apple pie land. Yes boys and girls cozy up to evil and you become just that. Yes this gay elite, these white middle-class boys had their eyes set on the americkkkan prize carrying along all the movement with them for their own good and the good of those just like them. They have spent so much of their time straightening their genes that slowly but surely they became one with the enemy. (more…)

Please do not put it off, do not say I will read the article some other day. Get to it today. Read the articles listed below. Very important work by Rev. Kittredge Cherry that we must know to understand our people’s stories. Important work in helping to find our place, to throw off the straight jackets. Up from out of between the lines! Out from the darkness of someone else usually straight telling the story. We celebrate this work!

From Tony Nada

LGBTs REMEMBER 2-SPIRIT ANCESTORS
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES DAY / OCTOBER 9TH
WE-WHA OF ZUNI (1849-1896) AND OTHERS …
Read More At Qspirit / Kittredge Cherry
http://qspirit.net/indigenous-peoples-day/

Artwork By Br. Robert Lentz OFM
https://www.trinitystores.com/…/art-i…/we-wha-zuni-1849-1896