Archive for the ‘Our Stories’ Category

From LGBTQ Nation and other sources –Report from New York City

The NYPD may have apologized last year for raiding the Stonewall Inn, spawning days of riots and police brutality, but they apparently haven’t decided to stop the behavior. As Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted about honoring Stonewall, the cops were unleashing pepper spray on LGBTQ people dancing in celebration.

Yesterday, as the Queer Liberation March wound down and participants celebrated in nearby Washington Square Park, police charged into the crowd, swinging batons, shoving people to the ground, and arresting a handful of participants. The officers kept their badge numbers covered.

“Using pepper spray against the Black and queer community, beating LGBTQIA+ protestors with batons and bicycles, and intimidating our right to peacefully assemble, reflects the wanton disregard that the mayor, along with the NYPD, have for the lives and safety all Black and queer New Yorkers,” organizers told BuzzFeed News.

“It was very peaceful, very chill. I didn’t see much police presence. Then I saw 20 cops on bikes and a few cop cars speed up right away, so I walked a little quicker,” Eliel Cruz told the outlet. “I walked by five or six people on the ground who were pepper sprayed and were washing their eyes.”

NPYD says they were trying to arrest two people for graffiti when a crowd gathered and started chanting, “Let them go!”

“The man who was arrested was crying and saying he was hurting and the cops were dragging him by his hands so his weight was against his shoulders pulling [on] the sockets,” volunteer Pippa Bianco told Gothamist, saying erupted when two officers in white shirts “sprinted into the crowd and started shoving us.” Another group of cops on motorcycles started pushing their vehicles through the crowd, striking protesters.

“I was leaving Washington square — there was a beautiful rally centering around Black trans women. As we were leaving, we noticed a commotion directly in front of us and realized it was the police,” out city council candidate Marti Gould Cummings said.

“People were chanting ‘don’t shoot’ and many took a knee,” the drag queen candidate added. “The police escalated and used pepper spray and batons.”

“I wish that I could say what I saw today was shocking, but how could I reasonably expect anything else from the NYPD?” said Jake Tolan, one of the March organizers, told LGBTQ Nation in an emailed statement.

“51 years after the Stonewall Rebellion, the NYPD is still responding to peaceful, powerful, righteous queer joy with pepper spray, batons, and handcuffs. Thank you, Commissioner Shea and the entire NYPD, for continuing to show us why you should be abolished.”

For the story and video’s go to HERE. 

https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2020/06/stonewall-anniversary-nypd-launched-brutal-unprovoked-attack-lgbtq-people/?utm_source=LGBTQ+Nation+Subscribers&utm_campaign=c3f736fbdc-20200629_LGBTQ_Nation_Daily_Brief&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c4eab596bd-c3f736fbdc-430445869

To see the NYPD in action, the pigs that they are check it out at: https://nowthisnews.com/news/nypd-shoved-people-used-pepper-spray-during-queer-liberation-march. Eiel Cruz has a good view video of the cops. (note to the younger generation, this is why we call them pigs.)  https://twitter.com/i/status/1277346244952817669

And this video by Matthew Chayes: https://twitter.com/i/status/1277336251239145473 (cop gets pepper sprayed and one falls off his motorcycle.)

To our friends from all over the world. This is what is happening to LGBTQI+ folks 51 years after Stonewall, in the city where it began. Same old shit different year. FIGHT BACK!!!

NOTE from Furbirdsqueerly:

We can only say what we have been saying for years, FUCK THE POLICE. They are not a friend of the LGBTQI+ communities never have been and never will be. Some in the LGBT community think all is okay. We have made it. We can only say No we have not.

A new video by Jerimarie Liesegang and Richard Nelson.

How in the world do I introduce such a fine work as this video? How do I introduce such a radical document, a revolutionary video that says what needs to be said? A video that is not afraid to question the LGBT mainstream and in doing so it brings to light some dirty little secrets of the early days of the gay movement. Those days when a handful of people walked out of the Gay Liberation Front because of support for the Black Panthers This group declared themselves to be a one issue movement, only interested in working on issues that concerned gays. Founding what many of us considered to be a wrong road movement by and for an elite who hijacked the very soul of our struggle for liberation. Our struggle for liberation that was entwined with others who were oppressed. A wrong road taken and a road that our movement has been on ever since.

I have been in and out of the movement for many years. After the split from the GLF I found I had more in common with straight leftists then I did with my own people. While watching, working on and viewing Jerimarie’s work in putting this video together I can only say, I am glad that I am not alone. I am happy that throughout the years many people began to question what the mainstream told us was important. We saw through the lies and knew that their hopes and desires were not ours. We knew there was life out from under the straight oppressors thumb and that we had to with all our might break his f-ing measuring stick and smash his measuring scale. Could we do this just by giving a tweak and a tuck here and there? Or did we need to topple and transform the very society we live in? I chose the latter and still do.

We have made gains, or what we can consider gains in the past years, but I stop and ask, What alliances have we made with others who are oppressed? Who do we stand with and who will stand with us? What have we brought to the table of the new day? Many of us know where we have come from, we know where we are now, but where we are going is a real slippery slope.

We dedicate this video to all those who continue to fight for that new day. The new day that includes everyone. To those who are in the streets today over the continuing murder of Black women and men by the cops we stand in solidarity. We dedicate this video as a renewal of our strength to remember just what is important and what is possible. We dedicate this video to the memory of Huey P. Newton whose letter to the Women’s and Gay Liberation movement back in 1970 inspired many of us young gay leftists. We were a part of a revolution sweeping across amerikkka. We then knew, with the issuing of Huey’s letter, that the vote to support the Black Panthers was the correct vote and that we were one in the revolution.

So how do I introduce this video. I say just listen. Listen to the voices outside of the mainstream. Listen to the truth outside of the elite, outside of the white middle-class comfort zone. Listen to those who are surrounded and engulfed by towers of oppression. Listen outside of the want to be included in a system of oppression. There you will find the answer.

 

Uniting together for a common goal. A union of folks on a mission to topple that which opposed our very lives.

One lesson that many of us learned back in the day of our youthful rebellion was the idea if we supported others and their fight for liberation that they in turn would support us and the more support that we had and they had the better off we would all be. Maybe, just maybe we would fight together and we would win. A union of different folks together in a common goal, united to fight for a common purpose our liberation against the state. To topple and transform the institutions what a wonderful idea!

In the early days of the L and G movement that idea was lost when a wrong road was taken by members of the Gay Liberation Front who walked out of a meeting at a very crucial time. This time as many of us know who studied or lived our history was the meeting to vote on support for the Black Panther Party. Those who walked out of the multi-issue GLF founded that December the Gay Activist Alliance. Now the GAA was a lot like some of the conservative groups that Harry Hay warned us about, those who only wanted to work on their issues, that is what has been described as the white comfortable gay male issues and fuck everyone else and their issues. We going to get ours and the heck with you. Wrong road boys and girls wrong road.

One thing we learned in union organizing is that we must stick together, and as the old song goes, “What force on earth is weaker than the feeble force of one?” Solidarity across all lines that is how a revolution is made and is won. But the boys and girls back then didn’t see that as the boys and girls operating from their elite non-profit mainstream LGBT organizations don’t see it now. Their little lobbying groups who will only go so far so not to upset the man and his yardstick. The straight man that is. You know that old saying, “we are not different from you, except for what we do in bed.” You have heard about it, we all must look a certain way, to fit in. Men in suits, women in dresses. No butches, fems, no drag queens, no far out types. Look normal! Ding dong hear the wedding bells, go drop some bombs on the little brown girl at her sewing machine. Conform! Fit in! Oh what we do for the love of mommy and daddy! One has to wonder did anyone of these folks even stop to question the very system that they clamored to be a part of? Did they even understand that perhaps not all inclusion was good inclusion? That what they had fled from was no place to return to?

Yes the movement took a wrong road back then, the GAA didn’t see that our liberation was tied into the liberation of the Panthers, the Young Lords, the grape pickers, women, those who fought for civil rights of Black amerikkka and anyone who was or is the outcast. They didn’t see that everyone who called out against the oppressor was leading us towards freedom. A new freedom. No they only could see to the end of their own nose. Their desires and wants should be everybody’s wants and desires.  But that is where everyone was and wanted to be. By 1970 the multi-issue Gay Liberation Front had all but disappeared from the New York political scene and with it the idea that none of us are free unless all of us are. I remember it well and I remember how hard it was to share a revolutionary vision with those not willing to share with all others. I found that I had more in common with those on the left than my own people. This article is just another attempt to free us from the BS of the “We must fit in movement.” We can only say that those who want the man so bad, those who want the ruler, the measuring stick of the straight world, then how can you be our friends and comrades. How can you believe in a one issue movement and fight in a one issue struggle when we know damn well the old slogan, “We are here, there and everywhere,” is the truth?

We are going in this essay to hear about some folks who rejected that type of organizing. Those who can today be called our true revolutionaries who looked beyond their self and fought back.

This work, a collage is gleaned from many sources in the service of the people.

We decided to start each of these articles with The International. Here is the updated version as written and sung by Billy Bragg after a challenge from Pete Seeger.

The Patterson Silk Strike

(more…)

Years ago the Imperialist Uncle Scam, the U.S led by George Bush invaded Iraq and destroyed a civilization based on a pack of lies. A group of us Queers were at a antiwar demonstration, passing out leaflets denouncing the war, waving the rainbow flag and chanting along with the best of them. This was nothing new for some of us since we had been demonstrating against war since the invasion of Vietnam by the U.S. A leftist who for the life of me I can’t remember her name came up to us and said, “I thought you gays were only interested in marriage.” This was said to us almost as a put down by one of the organizers of the rally where speaker after speaker never once mentioned the LGBTQ community. A couple of times of course in the apporiate place I had to yell out, something like, “that affects the Queer Community also,” or “you’re forgetting the LGBT community”, or “Queers too!” I think many in the audience listening to the speakers were a bit taken back as you know that those who are chosen to speak, know their subject that is why they are standing up there, telling all of us what is and what isn’t. ( a topic for a whole other article) “Leaders”, as May Riley says, “Oh what do we do with those who call themselves Leader?”) Whenever Queers Without Borders held an event, Frank would bring along his speaker system, Timmy or Richard would decorate their pull along shopping cart, and a open speak out would be held. We wanted to hear what everyone had to say, not just the chosen few. You know that one idea pushes another idea? Well a lot of ideas push a lot of ideas and we always thought we ended up in a much better place.

Below is one of the antiwar leaflets that Queers Without Borders passed out a demo’s in Hartford.

I got to thinking about this again over the past few months when Jerimarie Liesegang, the mother of the Ct. Transgender movement, and I have been doing a lot of research on the LGBTQI+ communities using a timeline that I did for the exhibition Challenging and Changing America The Struggle for LGBT Civil Rights 1900-1999 among other items of research. We now are on the 3rd video in our collaboration a look at the LGBT movement, The Radicals vrs. the Reformists. (soon to be released) I got to thinking again about unions, the work place, and the struggle for basic civil rights. I got to thinking again that most of us, yes I would say a good percentage of us are working class queers and what did the struggle for human rights in the workplace mean for us, how do we approach unions and how do unions approach the LGBTQI+ communties. I remembered a few sections of the timeline that I wanted to explore more fully so began this posting for Furbirdsqueerly.

This work is gleaned from many sources and put together as a collage in the service of the people.

The cause of labor should be the cause of every LGBT person. Our shared struggle is one of the most critical movements in America today. In this the age of trump and the rise of the right-wing gun toting fascists’, the right to work, get paid a living wage, and share in the fruits of your labor is being eroded week by week. Collective bargaining is one of the only tools in our tool belt that allows us to push back against this tide of income inequality and demand our fair share of the economic pie. Not crumbs mind you, never crumbs shaken from the rich man’s table, and even not a piece of the pie, but honest pay and then some. I think of the line from Solidarity Forever, Without Us Not A Single Wheel Would Turn. Pay that every worker can live on. Honest pay that is ours not the bosses, not the owners, and not the wealthy. Not $15 per hour as some unions say, (in Part 2 we will tell you why and do the math.) Nope we are not bowing and scraping and enjoying those table cloth crumbs. We do not live for pie in the sky.  But in this struggle we must be aware from union-busting corporations, to state legislative all out efforts to dismantle workers’ rights, America’s unions have never faced attacks from so many angles at once. As we know and Jerimarie and I have proven in our research, far too often, the LGBT community of today turns a blind eye to these struggles. The elite leadership of the LGBT movement is drunk with their own wins of marriage and “gays” in the military, yeah folks go kill brown people all over the world in the name of equality, and their one issue agenda of and for the elite among our community. (more on that later) But first we demand unity with the workers of the world and the workers of the world demand the same from us.

WORKERS OF THE WORLD UNITE, YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE BUT YOUR CHAINS!     (1)

Let us start this essay using a few dates and information from the original timeline of 1999 and other postings from this site. Here are some of the LGBT people who were activists in support of workers and show that the LGBTQ common struggle is with the labor movement.

From Challenging and Changing America: The Struggle for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Civil Rights 1900-1999.

Emma Goldman

Emma Goldman a Russian born Feminist, and Anarchist, though not a Lesbian or Bisexual according to most historians was a strong supporter of our people. When asked in 1900 when living in the U.S how could she dare to come out in support of Oscar Wilde she replied, “Nonsense no daring is needed to protest great injustice.”  ( 2 ) Goldman spoke out in support of freedom of expression, women’s equality, birth control, sexual freedom, workers rights and was a champion of the rights of homosexuals’ and those who were bisexual or transgender. (more…)

The Nation published an excellent article that all of us in the LGBTQI+ movement should and must read.

The First Drag Queen Was a Former Slave
Who fought for queer freedom a century before Stonewall.
By Channing Gerard Joseph

The article begins this way:

“His name was William Dorsey Swann, but to his friends he was known as “the Queen.” Both of those names had been forgotten for nearly a century before I rediscovered them while researching at Columbia University. Born in Maryland around 1858, Swann endured slavery, the Civil War, racism, police surveillance, torture behind bars, and many other injustices. But beginning in the 1880s, he not only became the first American activist to lead a queer resistance group; he also became, in the same decade, the first known person to dub himself a “queen of drag”—or, more familiarly, a drag queen. In 1896, after being convicted and sentenced to 10 months in jail on the false charge of “keeping a disorderly house”—a euphemism for running a brothel—Swann demanded (and was denied) a pardon from President Grover Cleveland for holding a drag ball. This, too, was a historic act: It made Swann the earliest recorded American to take specific legal and political steps to defend the queer community’s right to gather without the threat of criminalization, suppression, or police violence.”

The article goes on to say: “My research on Swann began 15 years ago, when I stumbled upon a Washington Post article from April 13, 1888. The headline leaped off the page: “Negro Dive Raided. Thirteen Black Men Dressed as Women Surprised at Supper and Arrested.” According to another news account, more than a dozen escaped as the officers barged in and Swann tried to stop them, boldly telling the police lieutenant in charge, “You is no gentleman.” In the ensuing brawl, the Queen’s “gorgeous dress of cream-colored satin” was torn to shreds. (The fight was also one of the first known instances of violent resistance in the name of LGBTQ rights.)”

And ends this way: “Though the Stonewall uprising of 1969 is often touted as the beginning of the fight for gay liberation, Swann’s courageous example forces us to rethink the history of the movement: when it began, where it came from, and who its leaders were. Coming of age at a time when an entirely new form of freedom and self-​determination was developing for African Americans, Swann and his house of butlers, coachmen, and cooks—the first Americans to regularly hold cross-dressing balls and the first to fight for the right to do so—arguably laid the foundations of contemporary queer celebration and protest.”

The article can be read HERE.

This wonderful documentary on the life of our liberation warrior Sylvia Rivera was put together by Jerimarie Liesegang the mother of the Ct. Transgender movement. Enjoy and remember we are still in a fight for our very lives. We need more Sylvia’s in the world today.

Before moving to Hartford Ct. I lived in the woods of The Maverick, nine miles outside and over the mountain from Woodstock NY. (1) I lived in what I called an elegant shack the last place going up the mountain. The only modern convenience that I had was electricity. Very rustic living to say the least. It took me one time, one winter morning to understand why the outhouse seat was not attached after what seemed like leaving have the skin on my ass behind on the cold seat. The toilet seat then took up residence behind the woodstove where I cooked, and melted snow to take a bath. Clean water for drinking and cooking was courtesy of the artist I worked for in the summer and in the winter from a woman I did odd jobs for including babysitting her two year old. She was an herbalist and from her I learned about the wild herbs and their healing powers. We collected in the summer, dried the herbs in the old studio at the back of my shack. Screens of Red Clover blossoms, Queen Anne’s Lace seeds, Plantain, tied together in bunches, Yarrow, Tansy, Peppermint, Nettles, Comfrey from the garden. Susan and I would go on nature walks up the mountain and over following old trails. An old farm was our destination long since abandoned where fields of Dandelion awaited us and many of the herbs that Susan used grew in the area. In the fall I picked apples from the abandoned orchard and made applesauce.

During my years on the Maverick I heard many stories about Hervey White and the “good old days” of the artists that gathered there, the festivals, the free love, the feeling of living freely from the powers that tried to tame the creative spirit on the other side of the mountain and in America. Hervey White intrigued me as a revolutionary Socialist, artist, free thinking creative person. Lucille Blanch an artist who came to the Maverick as a young artist and who was still going strong painting daily live in a little white house with a “host of daffodils” growing all along her stonewalls and around her yard. “Just dig up the bulb and throw it, it will come up again,” was her direction in thinning out the plants. I worked for her doing odd jobs and helping out where I could.  But in all my talks with quite a number of folks who lived on the Maverick or who had been living in Woodstock for years no one ever mentioned that Hervey White was a Bisexual man. At the time when he was alive it was a “open secret” or so some say.

Hervey White

Hervey White

“I will do what I like and go where I like without money, paying for my living as I go. Good advice has never driven it out of me.”

So begins our story of a man named Hervey White. A socialist, utopian thinker, Bisexual/Gay man, poet, writer, publisher, builder and philosopher on art and what it could be. White along with  Ralph Radcliffe Whitehead whom he had met at Jane Adams Hull House in Chicago, founded the Brydcliff Art Colony in Woodstock ( 2 ) and after awhile White grew tired of the bourgeois notions of art and life, that was dictated by Whitehead saying of him, “He would only employ people he could dictate to,” White wrote later, “and no self-respecting artist would ever stand for his dictation.”  bought a farm in West Hurley and so began the Maverick art colony. A running joke among some old timers I met in the Maverick was that Hervy White came to this side of the mountain because all the water ran down the other side and he thought that at Byrdcliff people took far too many baths. We read this about Hervey White: In 1905, White purchased a farm just outside Woodstock with Fritz van der Loo and Carl Eric Lindin, intended as a rustic haven for the three friends and their families. It quickly transformed into an intellectual meeting place and was named the Maverick; artists, writers, and musicians took up residence in minimalistic houses, usually little more than shacks, built on the property. White’s short-lived marriage to Byrdcliffe printmaker Vivian Bevans ended in 1908. According to Tom Wolff writing Hervey White”s Maverick Community and Its Artists “we learn White’s homosexual leanings, addressed overtly in his writings, are a possible cause. White would go on to build the Maverick into a thriving community with makeshift studios, a printing press, and a steady output of publications devoted to literature and the visual arts, most notably The Wild Hawk and The Plowshare. Hervey White even while espousing socialism lived as an anarchist, living according to his principles and never sold out to the bankers, the elite, the bourgeoise, to pretense, societies expectations of what a person should be. He expressed his love for men. Leaving us to wonder who these men were, these lovers of his. We look over the photo’s of the men involved with the Maverick community and wonder which ones. I suppose we could guess and our gaydar leads us to some of them. Where they only experimenting with the leader, the catch, the cool, were they true lovers or just a one-sided sexual encounter and then they ran back to their wives?

In The Land of Tomorrow Hervey wrote …”Here I sit on this lofty hill beside a ruin of which all archeologists have read, and I am thinking of Marselino, and how beautiful he is, and how he is going tomorrow and I will never look far back into those deep dark liquid love wells more. How surprised I was yesterday to see the difference in the color of our hands when clasped; his, so dark, almost as dark as a negro’s yet having nothing of the smoky greasy black, but a clear bronze.

Both the ruins and the view from this mountain top are grand, but I am tired now and heartsick. Still I will remember all as long as I live. If I forget the heart sickness no matter…I went to the river with them [the other Mexican hands] and as were riding together, he told me again how often he would think of me, he and Catalina [“his intended”] together, and how he would write, and he would be very angry if I did not send him a photograph for I was his dearest friend and then slowly:

‘I care a great deal for you.’

And when I replied that I liked him better than all the others he said simply: ‘I know.’

I could look at him then, and I saw the lines around the beautiful mouth were quivering and drawing, and his throat was writhing. He turned toward me quickly and his eyes met mine. Ah, the shining of those eyes! He smiled; and I saw in every feature that he was saying, “It is hard to bear, but we are strong.”

He was gay when we parted; but the soft tender light was shining in his eyes. As he pulled his horse about and took off his hat waving a last laughing lingering good bye, he made the most beautiful picture I have ever seen.”

The Land of Tomorrow created a stir for it announced White’s homosexuality.

Hervey White as Pan Maverick Festival

The Maverick Festivals began in 1915 as a means to raise money to dig a well for the Maverick community. The festival was conceived as a bohemian carnival filled with communal spirit to be held during the afternoon and evening of the August full moon. A theatrical spectacle began after dark with performances by artists, musicians and local people followed by a costume ball. Attendance at the festival grew and grew and became more and more difficult to control and by 1929 it was reported that over 6,000 people were in attendance. In 1931 White suspended the festival. While living on the Maverick Lucille Blanch told me of the wonderful parties that were held back “when I was young.” This is a picture of Lucille from a festival in 1922. (more…)

Amber Stewart has a wonderful new article found on Th-ink Queerly. She begins her essay with a quote from our dear comrade Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore who had this to say.

“The radical potential of queer identity lies in remaining outside — in challenging and seeking to dismantle the sickening culture that surrounds us.” — Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore

Here is what Amber has to say at the start of the essay:

“Getting ready to do some research, I pull a book down off my shelf. On it’s cover, a glitter-covered mouth, smeared lipstick, teeth barred in anger, or maybe determination. I open it, and three fliers advertising protests fall out, reminding me of a different time and place. I bought this book, That’s Revolting!: Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation, when I was in college, spending my Saturday mornings escorting patients into an abortion clinic, and Saturday nights giving and attending talks on the intersection of Marxism and feminism.

This is when my identity as a queer woman was forged.

It was not forged in the banquet halls of the Human Rights Campaign, but in the streets, protesting against police brutality, discriminatory immigration practices, and rape culture. We were asking, not just for equal pay for equal work, but for work to be redefined as a collective action, something that could benefit all of us, not just companies.

I was an idealist.

I wanted to agitate for queer rights, but for me, that meant calling for the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (RIP). It meant making sure that same-sex couples could get green cards, regardless of their marriage status. It meant supporting the legalization of sex work.

What it did not mean was fighting for gay marriage.”

To read the rest of this article go to HERE.

Amber has this wonderful ending:

“So I’m lobbying for the “Q” to be removed from the acronym.

I want us to stop using “queer” as a catch-all. I do not ask this out of stubbornness or nostalgia, but because I believe it is important that the community keep space for outside the box thinking. I think it’s important that we have a term we can use when referring to something that is just ours. I think it’s important that we remember that we can still be full of radical potential.”

About Th-Ink Queerly

Th-ink Queerly is a LGBTQ+ thought leadership magazine that challenges the hegemonic status quo, disrupts prejudice, and demonstrates our vital role in society to improve humanity.
Note from the editor
Th-ink Queerly is grounded in self-examination and leadership. As LGBTQ+ people we harness our self-awareness to demonstrate our necessary role in society. We promote thoughtful dialogue that seeks to improve humanity and equal rights for all. We critique the status quo — challenging rigid doctrines, heteronormativity, patriarchy, bigotry, and radicalized ideologies — and offer solutions to create a more loving and accepting world. If you would like to contribute to Th-Ink Queerly, please review the “Submission” guidelines.