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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GAG Grows

Gays Against Guns began 2016 in New York within days of the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida.

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About 750 women and men joined the GAG contingent of the New York Pride March the following week.

In early July informational tables were set up in the Pines and Cherry Grove before a solemn procession through the two predominately-queer Fire Island communities.

GAG subsequently protested several politicians its members characterized as puppets of the NRA.

Since then chapters were launched in Los Angeles, New Jersey, Orlando, and San Francisco.

For more information contact www.gaysagainstguns.net

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

www.nikosdiaman.com

Backstage Boy

Opening Night directed by Isaac Rentz (USA) 2016 raises the curtain on the complex drama behind the scenes of a Broadway musical.

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The film follows the fast-paced work routine of a stage manager as he prepares performers and crew for the opening night of a show. There are both funny and poignant moments. Sex and romance are ever-present issues.

While a conventional boy-girl love affair is the prime focus, there’s a generous mix of sexual and racial variety to enjoy.

Opening Night will be available in the US as a DVD from Wolfe Video 1 August 2017.

Contact Wolfe Video for more information.

copyright © 2017 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

www.nikosdiaman.com

Party Time

I marched in New York in 1970 to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion. My friend Elliot and his partner David hosted a brunch in their apartment in the Village beforehand and a small group of us got stoned before joining that initial march. Yet despite the good feelings I was somewhat apprehensive because the previous night four members of the Gay Liberation Front were attacked on the street.

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Five thousand marchers participated that first year and we thought that with sufficient publicity we might be able to double the size the following year. Seven years later there were a quarter of a million in the San Francisco Pride Parade. I was astounded by the rapid growth of the movement over such a short period of time.

I knew people on both coasts and felt connected during those early years. I celebrated with friends, lovers, neighbors. People came and went. Political battles were won and lost. The most heartbreaking and frightening time was during the peak of the AIDS-HIV pandemic. Hundreds suffered and perished, especially in major cities such as New York, San Francisco, and Paris. Among them were men much younger than me I thought I would grow old with.

As the years passed I found myself surrounded by strangers as increasing numbers of young people came to San Francisco to celebrate their new sense of sexual freedom with rainbows and balloons. And for at least a couple of years I stayed home rather than face the crowds and noise filling the city the final Sunday in June.

I returned only when I was sure I’d be with friends again. Ignoring the main event to attend somewhat smaller gatherings such as the party in City Hall, the annual celebration in Assemblyman Tom Ammiano’s office, Freedom Faerie Village where I was sure to see a lot of people I knew, or one of the after-parties in other parts of the city.

San Francisco Pride is now the biggest party of the year drawing thousands of people of all ages, races, and sexual persuasions. On my way home I boarded the Metro with four, young, straight couples. Each clearly signaled the nature of their relationship.

How’s it going? the man closest to me said to indicate his goodwill. Perhaps, self-conscious of his blatant heterosexual behavior. Like your belt! he then remarked after noticing the rainbow pattern. A gesture of peace and solidarity. An acknowledgement that he was an appreciative guest at our huge celebration.

image & text copyright © 2016 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

www.nikosdiaman.com