Saturday, June 25, 2016

Gay Day 2016

Maybe it's time to dust this off and bring it out of retirement.

Those we lost in Orlando:

A somber Pride Weekend this year preceded by a shocking mass murder that cost the lives of 49 gay men and women out for nothing worse than a good time on a Saturday night at a popular night spot in Orlando.  This was probably the worst slaughter of gay men in a bar, but it is hardly the first violence that LGBTQs have suffered.

Kurt Brüssow, an actor from Stettin; arrested for homosexuality and sent to Auschwitz in 1941 and presumably died there.  His fate is unknown.  He was 29 when this picture was taken.

Shock treatment in the 1950s; one of many such "treatments" inflicted on gays and lesbians in state institutions under court order.  Other treatments included hormonal therapies and chemical castration. This happened a lot more often than people think.

The Upstairs Lounge Fire in New Orleans in 1973; an arson attack that killed 32 people and remains unsolved.  Until the Orlando massacre, this was the worst massacre of gay men in the USA.  The city, especially its churches, closed its doors to the survivors and to the bereaved families and friends of the dead.  A very different public reaction to what we see now in the wake of the Orlando massacre.

The AIDS plague that decimated an entire generation.

Two Iraqis murdered for alleged homosexuality; among the thousands of people murdered all over the world -- including the USA -- for nothing more than being themselves.

Despite accusations that we are perversions of the natural order, that we are "intrinsically disordered," or possessed by demons; despite all the predictions that we would all die off eventually in sexual sterility; despite so many efforts to kill us off, God and Nature appear to have no problem replenishing our numbers in every generation.  Even after a devastating epidemic, we are still here.  Our numbers can still fill Fifth Avenue in New York City in a parade that takes 10 hours to pass.
And so we will crowd the streets again in the wake of this latest massacre.

As Mother Jones said, Mourn the Dead and Fight Like Hell for the Living.

And a great way to do that is to go up into the faces of all who want to destroy us and party like there's no tomorrow.

I have survived -- by dumb luck mostly, but here I am.

Yours truly at Gay Pride in Saint Louis, 1991

Gay Pride in New York, 1994, the ACT-UP march

with Michael in 2005

Pride Day in New York, 2014


And now, the USA's newest National Monument, the historic Stonewall Inn:

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