Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Comments in recent Seattle Gay News issues

I want to say, again, how much I enjoy reading not only he paper but the columns in it. I can recall recent ones, for instance, by Leslie Robinson, such as telling that MA law student who failed the bar exam how he could have handled it (Raising the Bar, 9/14).
And Beau Burriola’s columns of 9-21 on his cat that was killed while at his sister’s and how he came to like the cat and missed it, even though he is a dog man. And even more did I personally find his thoughts in the 9/28 issue of interest about how he would feel when he is old. I thought like that when I was young too, as I walked the LSU campus for the last time, knowing I was going into (drafted) the army right away and not knowing the future or what I would do in life or where.  And now I am looking back at that 20-something person from that person at 75 and find it all very interesting.  I know know the answers. I got kicked out of the army, went to L. A. and after 2 “regular” jobs, started working in the movement/cause at ONE (after spending some time with Mattachine in San Francisco) and later co-founded the Homosexual Information Center.  I obviously had no idea this is what I would do in life.
I could do this, as I had the financial and emotional support of my family and friends in LA and could not suffer loss of jobs or friends in L. A. That made a difference in how much in those ’60s and ’70s people could be “out” supporting the civil rights of homosexuals.  How good it is now to have homosexual professional groups supporting our community-medical doctors, lawyers, educators, psychologists, politicians, etc. And we have good newspapers, like yours, magazines, and lots of books as well as courses on most major university campuses helping everyone understand as much as we know about homosexuality.
I just hope that the young homosexual men and women of today don’t lose what we have given them.
(I have mixed emotions about the Chris Crain and Lisa Keen columns. I, for instance, liked what he said about gay sex police, but I think he is guilty of trying to force us to use only such terms as gay, that he thinks is best. Same with Lisa. But they at least keep us readers thinking.)

1 comment:

Aristide Laurent said...

  AMEN!!!  I rail about this topic every once in a while (usually when my hormones are raging). I realize that, as Rod McKuen once sang “People change. Life goes on. Every midnight brings a new dawn” .... but I also realize that the older I get, the more I fear change.
    As a long-time activist who campaigned for and fought for the right to be gay, I guess I thought at the time that “gay” would always be just a freer version of what I knew as “gay.” But, for good or bad alas, that was not to be. Gay bars as meeting places, bath houses as fast-food versions of sex for the newly sexually-liberated gay male, parks & public tearooms as cruising/hook-up places, classified ads in gay magazines, all gave way to the simplistic & seductive wiles of the modern internet -- Kind of a Home Shopping Network for Gay Males.
    When I was linking arms with fellow gays & lesbians and blocking public roads to protest against Gov. Wilson and his AB101 veto nonsense back in the 1980s, adopting children and going broke putting them through college was far off my agenda and purpose for protesting.  I just wanted the right to be free to choose who to love and how to love them (even though I was never drawn to marrying them and having sex with the same person for the rest of my life ... shudder). Now I find that the choices have become more and more limited. Pretty much gone are once familiar, specialized niches such as Leather; Drag shows; Gay bars; Anonymous sex ... All the things which were a large part of what constituted my early gayness were fast becoming as extinct as the dodo bird, not through crackdowns by the LAPD or governmental fiat but by the natural process of selection and generational change. The gay community's priorities and values changed. We are almost “just like them.” We are assimilating into the hetero world at the cost of losing our unique cultural identity in exchange for them accepting Will & Grace.
    As a child growing up in 1950s Alabama, I belonged to a unique, semi-isolated Creole community which “knew its place” in the scheme of things. My ancestors had settled that area in the late 1700s, bringing with them the foods and culture of France & Spain & Africa. My mother would take her children into the woods where we would gather sassafras leaves and pound them into filé powder in the hollowed out shell of an old oak tree which had been passed down for generations. Now when my sister wants to make gumbo, she either drives over to the local WalMart and buys a jar of lo-cal filé or just buys a package of frozen prepared gumbo. Voilà!  And ... WalMart doesn't serve, or not serve, according to the shade of your skin; only the approval of your credit card company.
    Things change. Life goes on. I go gently into that good night. NOT.