What’s Left

Has The Gay Movement Failed? by Martin Duberman, University of California Press, 2018 evaluates the status of Gay Liberation Front radical politics today.

what'sleft

Duberman is an academic with a prodigious body of work but this book begins with three dubious assertions. He says that Gay Liberation Front spread to a half dozen cities and college campuses, that the Gay Revolution Party began in London, and Gay Activists Alliance broke from GLF in November 1970.

Out Of The Closets edited by Karla Jay and Allen Young, Douglas Books, 1972 lists over 75 Gay Liberation Front groups. I was one of the founding members of Gay Revolution Party in New York. And Wikipedia marks 21 December 1969 as the founding date of Gay Activists Alliance.

Fortunately none of these errors are necessary for the main thesis of Has The Gay Movement Failed? Duberman correctly cites Gay Liberation Front that began in New York following the Stonewall Riots of June 1969 as a touchstone of gay left politics.

Marriage equality is certainly the antithesis of the ideals espoused by GLF because it involves acceptance of and inclusion into a flawed institution rather than demanding its dismantling and replacement by a more just and equitable social arrangement.

The book concludes with examples of current straight left attitudes relating to LGBTQ issues that seem not to have changed much over nearly half a century. Ignored, trivialized, denigrated. And at the end the question in the title remains unanswered.

Has The Gay Movement Failed? Is an interesting read but not the definitive work about an important subject that merits more comprehensive study.

I’d like to see a closer look at Gay Liberation Front politics and strategies, including both its successes and failures. Also a more detailed analysis of other radical and progressive LGBTQ groups and individuals outsides the mainstream.

It’s obvious to me that within weeks of its founding, there were individuals in GLF eager to abandon the ideals of transformative personal and societal liberation for the comforts of mere rights and acceptance of the status quo.

Our current challenge remains how to achieve the benefits of a better world for everyone instead of continuing to privilege just a few.

copyright © 2018 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

www.nikosdiaman.com

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