This past fall 2013 semester, I taught a freshman seminar course in literature and history, as part of the First Year Experience Program at New Jersey...
I'll never forget one liberating moment when I saw a "Freedom for Homosexuals" button in a button shop. Although I was thrilled to see such a thing, I couldn't imagine a soul on earth brave enough to wear it.
At the insistence of terminally ill friends, we begged, borrowed, or stole opiates and sedatives, hoarding them until we had accumulated enough for a lethal dose. Sometimes it worked. When it didn't, we picked up the pillow on the bed. We allowed ourselves to become on-call murderers.
Focusing on the gay community's exceptional gifts -- our transformational gifts to the whole world -- must form the basis our new cultural paradigm, shaping the self-identities of forever-unfolding new generations of our tribe.
LGBT History Month is over (in the U.S., at least; much of Europe celebrates it in February), but why must we wait another 11 months for our history to be shared again? What about Nov. 1's "on this day in LGBT history" events? Aren't they just as important as Oct. 31's? Of course they are.
It's another fabulous October to celebrate LGBTQ history; coming out of those dark, homophobic, and heterosexist closets; and anti-bullying! I am ending our big gay celebration with these two poems, whic were published in Gay City: Volume 2.
As a historian and straight educator who sees the struggles of his gay students on a daily basis, I know that there are individuals who performed acts that may not seem historic or monumental but have indirectly improved the lives of so many.
Homoerotic pulp fiction has been entertaining the underground gay masses since the '50s. Titles like Skid Row Sweetie, Unnatural Wife, The Third Sex, Mr. Queen, and Chamber of Homos were covertly positioned on the shelves of train stations, drugstores and newsstands for those who knew.
Marriage litigation played an important political role in gay liberation's heady early years. Between 1970 and 1972, among the dozen or so American same-sex couples who sought civil marriage licenses, three pursued lawsuits to the bitter end.
For over a decade after Stonewall, a gay man could have sex in New York almost anywhere, anytime, 24/7. Today, in part because of AIDS, very few of those cruising sites still exist. In our desire to acquire civil rights equal to the straight community, we have chosen to assimilate.
In Boston in 1969, homosexuals were everywhere, but the trouble was finding them. I did a lot of walking around Boston on weekend nights trying to do just that. I was in the city as a 19-year-old conscientious objector fulfilling my alternate service work contract in lieu of military service.
I knew the Supreme Court rulings were to be made that day, but nonetheless, I found myself utterly awestruck, which is not easy to come by for this queen! Before calling family, posting to Facebook or tweeting to my fans, I found myself recalling the very first time I went to a gay bar.
They say if you stay in the same place long enough, you get to see everything. So by staying on the same block in Greenwich Village longer than I ever expected, I've seen history being made in front of the Stonewall Inn, not once but twice.
Before the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973, aversion therapy was used routinely in hopes that it would prevent or eliminate homosexual behavior.
Pride parades, or "gay liberation protests," as they were first called, have been critical to bringing about LGBT rights all over the world. But we've abandoned their initial purpose as a call for equality. We owe it to ourselves, and to our history, to call upon our rich activist traditions.
In honor of LGBT Pride Month, we wanted to take a little walk down LGBT history lane to explore the origins of Pride, and take a closer look at those electrifying evenings in June when the LGBT community decided to stop hiding and start fighting.