Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Article on new home at KU of glbt archives (The Berdache Archives) in October issue of Liberty Press

I hope your readers appreciate the good news in the article by Matt Hanne that has the news that the material Bruce McKinney has collected and saved over the years, The Berdache Archives, is now at KU, Special Collections and that the University of Kansas person who helped place it there, Tami Albin, the Women's Gender and Sexuality studies special collections librarian understands the value of the material.

I had not heard of this collection, which for some years was located in the glbt center until it closed. (McKinney had started the collection when he started the Student Homophile Alliance at WSU, the name came from an article in Blue Boy magazine, about Native Americans,something Mattachine/movement founder Harry Hay would appreciate.

This once again points to the need for the community/movement to at least support the few such archives, much less trying to get others started. Let's hope that publications, such as The Advocate, will find space among its articles on celebrities, who want to thank their gay consumers, to report this good new resource that will be available not only to students, faculty and researchers in the MidWest, but perhaps online someday to everyone seeking knowledge of this historic part of the civil rights movement in America.

There needs to be a listing of our archives/libraries,that include this one and the few others, some held privately, such as Lesbian Herstory in New York, Lavender Library in Sacramento, Stonewall Library in Fort Lauderdale, Lambda Archives in San Diego, ONE Archives at USC (Los Angeles) and Mazer Archives in West Hollywood and some in educational institutions, such as Frank Kameny's at the Library of Congress, the Homosexual Information Center's archives at Cal State, Northridge-the Don Slater Collection, with Vern and Bonnie Bullough's Human Sexuality Collection.

We need to be proud of our history, celebrate it, add to it and save it for future generations.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Can we talk—about waiting for perfection and getting what we can each day for our civil rights?

The founders of our nation were willkng to risk their all to make us free and to set a goal of equal rights for all who would become Americans. The leaders were intelligent, and did not all agree on issues but put aside their disagremetns for the good of the cause.

The same thing can be said about the founders of the civil rights rights movement for homosexuals. They wisely understood that the then radical idea that homosexual Americans had equal civil rights was going to take a while to get across to even intelligent, thinking Americans, sadly including most homosexuals.

The main problem of any cause is that some people insist on perfection in order for them to support it. And it seems to me that the companion problem is, for instance, that many people, in ignorance, support and believe in some one or some idea that has a perfect answer, a simple answer, that doesn't take any thinking or study, or explanation, and doesn't leave room for doubt. They want instant certainty. That is why, for instance, the fundamentalist churches are successful more than the main stream ones that don't tell the believers that religion has the perfect answer for every issue, including ones never thought about by early Christians, etc.

A politician who promises instant solution to any problem may win, and even after years of his or her failure to actually solve the problem, many voters still keep trusting them, election after election. A church that promises that by just doing one thing, getting the right type baptism, or giving the right portion of income to the church will get you to heaven will get suport even when common sense tells us that that is not true.

Unfortunately, homosexuals are just like heterosexuals, and in our cause/movement/community we keep getting people who push their way to the front, get control of newspapers, organizations, and, like the bigots who want to force us all to follow their beliefs, thus taking away our right to choose, these sudden experts on all things homosexual—while they fervently tell us only to use the “right” terms—usually the word gay—spend their time, energy and space in publications attacking those who disagree with their beliefs, rather than attacking the real enemy: those bigots who want to, at the least, make us second-class citizens, and at worst (think radical Islamists) kill us.

So their prerception keeps them from the big picture, and they spend their time seeking for the small things. That is why, when a big, historic event happens, they miss the important point and focus on the small irrelevant word or idea included in the event. A perfect example again is the columnist in the Washington Blade, who hears Gov. Palin, and then Senator McCain actually say they have gay friends, and seek our vote which is a notable first for Republicans. What the columist "hears" is that Palin uses the word “choice.” Horrors!

Well, friends, no one hs the final anser as to much about sexuality, and certainly about homosexuality. And so no one can say that no one can use the word choice. No one has the authority to speak for our community/movement.

But I question the “gayness” of anyone who feels the need to force their beliefs on everyone else. It seems as though they are not comfortable being gay. And the most important point is that it is irrelevant, since our civil rights—and the civil rights of all Americans—do not depend on if we chose a lifestyle, or who we choose to have sex with, or our skin color, or gender. They are guaranteed in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Now if only certain U. S. Supreme Court Justices could learn of these documents, especially the Ninth Amendment. But those who want to speak for our community/movement have a duty to learn about homosexuality first, and our history. They don't have all the answers. Unless they are as fearful of democracy as the bigots who want to kill us.

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Good and bad in current Washington Blade

The historic news that the Republican party's candidates for president and vice president have said they are gay-friendly is good, and I have suggested that people view the McCain interview in your publication, online.

You also did a good coverage of our community/movement loss of Del Martin. I have not seen coverage of the loss of John Burnside. But this is the time in our movement’s history, which essentially started in Los Angeles in 1950 with Harry Hay, Dale Jennings, et al. and early Mattachine, from which came the first public organization and publication, ONE Inc and ONE Magazine (Jan. 1953), and then a different Mattachine under Hal Call, and then Del and Phyllis and the Daughters of Bilitis, SIR, etc., when those who got us started are leaving us.

So it is good that Equality Forum and others are aware of just who did start this movement. The question is why they have not been able to cite the words of Don Slater, Jim Kepner, Stella Rush, or mention the history as recorded in the book Vern Bullough edited, Before Stonewall, or in Paul Cain's Leading the Parade, etc.

And my worry is that in your pages some of us see the major event of McCain's interview, but what your columnist seems to only see is that Palin, equally historic, says that terribly un-pc word: choice. In what world is that the most important word she said? How does an intelligent, objective person ignore the other words? And who gave your columnist the authority to decide technical issues such as what makes us homosexual or heterosexual, etc? That sure sounds just like the bigots, who come from the most ignorant part of society but, seem to personally know when life begins and want the authority to force the rest of us to let them make our choice-in other words we have no choice.

Perhaps serious homosexuals or gays should go back and read a few of the great articles in ONE Magazine and Tangents where the founders put forth their ideas, and then tell us why such ideas are wrong. That might be difficult of course, since those are the ideas that have got us to where we are today—which is a great place to most of us.