As I prepared to settle into the Men’s Figure skating competition on NBC’s mediocre broadcast of the Winter Olympics, I started to think about all the young gay men prancing freely about in the open these days that know very little about their brave and truly outrageous predecessors.
Take Adam for example…
The other night we were chatting about what we should put in our blog and he told me that I should write about what happened at Stockwood as part of our LGBTUVWXYZ History Lessons. And Nooooo Adam…the gay rights movement didn’t begin and end with Harvey Milk. Not only had Queer people been fighting for equality against amazing nitwits since 1969 when, at the Stonewall Inn, Sylvia Rivera and other femme fatales kicked some NYPD ass by not backing down, but they had been organizing and advocating for years before that. The Daughters of Billitus and the Mattachine Society had been pushing back in their own way a generation or so before that.
Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon were the very definition of ovaries of steel when they started reaching out to other lesbians in the 1950’s when Joe McCarthy was destroying the lives of anyone who didn’t think being Donna Reed was all that (and little boys who did.) Del Martin lived to marry Phyllis Lyon when the California Supreme Court legalized marriage for same-sex couples and only 55 years after they met.
So when you tune in to watch men in body stockings using grace, power, strength, and a lot of glitter become national heroes, I want you (and I mean you Adam) to spend a little time thinking about the women, men, and gender defiant individuals who made it possible.
Well…that’s only LGBTUVWXYZ History: 101 (Part One) Lesson 1. Adam hopefully has learned that Stockwood is actually Stonewall and that neither is just “whatever that gay bar is in NYC.”
In Lesson 2, I will teach Adam about what the Lavender Menace is. No Adam…it is not that woman at the office who called you cocky and rude.