Thursday, June 09, 2011

LGBT History - "A Gay Manifesto"

In the nascent Gay Rights movement of the 1960's and 70's, Carl Wittman wrote "A Gay Manifesto".  This sprang from the emerging gay scene on the west coast and is a vital part of our history.  This list of imperatives is the conclusion of the document and it bears reading and remembering.
  1.  Fee ourselves: come out everywhere; initiate self defense and political activity; initiate counter community institutions.
  2. Turn other gay people on; talk all the time; understand, forgive, accept.
  3. Free the homosexual in everyone; we'll get a good bit of shit from threatened latents: be gentle, and keep talking and acting free.
  4. We've been playing an act for a long time, so we're consummate actors.  Now we can begin to be, and it'll be a good show!
Though the language is steeped in the 60's counterculture it still rings true. Whittman was the son of a prominent Communist organizer, so a lot of what he says has that Marxist ring to it, but I think there are some basic truths there worth trying to understand.  Think about it as we head into LGBT Pride Month.

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