A new book gives context to Stonewall, letters in new Gay & Lesbian Review and Harry Hay, discussions by Billy Glover and others

From William A. Percy
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Billy Glover:

In a way it is interesting that I am just now thinking of this after having started reading Michael Bronski's new book, A Queer History of th United States. He covers lots of relevant events in the nation, including racial, religious, media etc which had a bearing on our issue.

If he, we, can get young people interested in not only knowing our history and that of our nation, but understanding why it is important to know, as is said, how we got where we are, that will be good. I don't know of any other book that tries to set our movement in the context of the rest of history/society. It is relevant to know about slavery, Elvis, Playboy etc as we try to understand how and why we have been so successful in our efforts. I think some, Don Slater especially, say that the CT decision on birth control was a good contribution to society seeing sex in a different way.

An issue that may not b e directly connected to this is that I and ohters have disagreed on how important laws are. I believe that history proves that just getting a law passed doesn't change reality/society. It took years after Brown v Board to make progress on racial issues, and no one can believe that Roe v Wade has had any effect or affect on the views on abortion. Am I just overly optimistic to think that the reason there was almost no notice of Lawrence vs TX is because our movement had educated society for accepting/understanding the issues?

Steven F. Dansky

Billy,

“Stonewall Uprising” was hugely disappointing. Too many reasons to go into in an email.

I mentioned my article in the GLR because everything creative goes out into a vast vacuum, and I can’t tell whether it’s notices. I’ve tried over the recent years to preserve our collective history through writing and photographs—it’s all uphill. And nobody seems to care.

The problem in criticizing the film is that it’ll be taken personally because many of the narrators are friends, others foes. For my part I’ll take Sean Penn, “Milk, and the Milk documentary. At least, there’s passion, history, politics, charismatic figures.

Best,

Steven

Billy Glover:

Subject: Re: Letters in new Gay & Lesbian Review/meaning of fairy/Harry Hay

I had not seen the magazine when I sent the email-Bill Percy had quoted some things as we talked on the phone, (he had his copy). (He does not use the computer, so has someone make copies of emails, so it is sometimes easier to talk with him rather than try to communicate by email. But I do both.) Yes, photos, as well as some of the articles, show how fast we forget history. And the documentary on Stonewall could have done that, but it is slow & overdone so it fails -I'm afraid-to get viewers involved, even those of us interested.

Steven F. Dansky:

Not to mention my article on HIV/AIDS iconic photographs! SFD

Billy Glover:

Subject: Re: Letters in new Gay & Lesbian Review/meaning of fairy/Harry Hay

The letters in the new issue of G&LR are interesting. I really don't see that the letter about my letter was relevant-it is a different "issue." And I am thinking more on the line of how to get young glbt people interested in their issues and history-and doubt they will find the novels of the British authors that relevant.

But as to the letters, such as Young's on Faeries or fairies, my only interest is in how to think about the issues- the letter is perfect of course-and yet find Harry Hay a very valuable person, and don't see that his work did anything but good for the cause/movement.

About Harry and his views. I think ONE covered it well-Stuart Timmons' book and Vern's (and Wayne's) book of short biographies-Before Stonewall- does too, as indirectly does Jim Sears' book on Mattachine/Hal Call. What I think needs to be considered in Harry's views is that his "spirituality" (not sure about going nude, or dressing in women's clothes, which I never dealt with him on) was practical. He from the start connected in American Indians/Native Americans, if I understand it. And for sure he dealt with them and their causes while living in San Juan Pueblo. So his was not a frivolous connection or interest. It is my belief, and I think others', that his Communist connection helped him-too bad the stupid Communists didn't learn from him. But it had to 'go' to get the movement he helped start be successful-it had to go, which was ONE, from the secret meetings into the world, and the first step was reaching out to the homosexual people still ignorant and in hiding. Then to educate the public.

That is where the different views I have with others comes in. Of course they are pointing out that the average glbt person needs to know about the issue, be able to discuss the questions, etc. My part and HIC's was to get past the study and get to changing the world. After so many hours of meetings and discussing on how we should dress or why we are "this way," and who was "that way" in history, the time came to tell the world that none of this matters-we have our civil/equal rights no matter how many of us there are, why we are homosexual, what some religion says about us, etc.

But there is diversity in our community-not just the way women think and men think, or if we are secretly the opposite sex-the silliest thought yet-and if we should be hairdressers, artists, or just "everyone." I have no interest in expensive clothes or fancy eating or going on cruises. But some of us love to go to or be in rodeos, some like to grow gardens, some like to dance naked in the desert, and some like to go to political conventions. Thank goodness some are educators, attorneys, politicians. My only problem with the lazy media is when they ONLY let the community be 'represented" by drag queens and dykes on bikes. And the only famous celebrities are nuts like Truman Capote, and that nut from England who was not a very happy queer but got rich writing and being heard in the media. I think they even made a film or something about him. It isn't a question of " the effeminate, but giving balance by covering the "healthy" young men playing soccer, etc. Why is this not common sense?

So if some of us want to be "radical faeries" that is fine, dancing and meditating in the desert, but what happened to the regular good old country boys and girls who were supposedly what RFD Magaine and Maize were aimed at?

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