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Messages on the Occasion of the Washington March, October 14, 1979
(Optimist Outlook; see also Pessimistic View, below.)
On this very special day we celebrate not merely that great social movement which has worked continuously for 10 years from its origin in rage at Stonewall, but more: we celebrate ourselves and our sexuality. Without losing sight of what remains to be done, we should stop a moment and realize, gratefully, how much good has come to us in a really short time.
Who would have believed, ten years ago, that the arch-conservative READER'S DIGEST would print, uncensored, an article from NEWSWEEK on discos that mentions "gays" casually, right there among "blacks, Hispanics, . . . and insomniacs", as disco's first enthusiasts? Who would have believed that the Civil Service Commission would outlaw antihomosexual discrimination in most types of Federal employment? Who would have believed that episodes concerning homosexuality would appear in major television series on all three networks, and one hit series would even have a homosexual character as a series regular? Who would have believed that voters of our largest state would reject a proposition to fire homosexual teachers? or that voters of the largest city of the Northwest would choose to retain an antidiscrimination law protecting homosexuals? or that a homosexual would be appointed to a Board of Supervisors seat as a matter of right to replace a murdered homosexual Supervisor? or that the mayor of the Capital of the World would appoint a homosexual to the City Commission on Human Rights? And who EVER would have believed that courts in our two largest states would grant adoption of a boy child to gay-male couples?! Yet all these things have happened only 10 years after Stonewall.
Stonewall didn't just happen but grew out of a change in society and a change in us which brave men worked two decades to achieve. Gay Liberation rose at Stonewall from a launch pad created 20 years earlier by men of inspiring courage who dared, in the Fifties, to speak the unspeakable: homosexuality deserves respect. These few achieved slow but significant progress in court cases, education, and, most importantly, in reaching and motivating a core of younger, more aggressive men who could leap into the fray and turn a Riot into a Movement. Altho the accomplishments of the "homophile" movement seem piddling today, the great strides of 10 years of Gay Liberation could not have been made without the 20 years of "homophile" activism that preceded them. And there's more to celebrate in 30 years of homosexual self-assertion than just the 10 years we are most aware of, for 30 years of unceasing devotion is a more impressive achievement of the homosexual spirit.
Still, in terms of human history, we've come a long way in a short time, in large part because the individualistic society in which we've worked teaches that everyone has fundamental human rights, among them "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". While our rapid progress derives in part from that tolerance for diversity which a pluralistic society must encourage, the achievements are still ours. Because only we, by "coming out" and speaking out could make people see that for homosexual men, happiness is homosexual. Only we could and did make people see that they had been wronging us and that our nation's traditions demand that wrongs be righted. The good fight to right those wrongs has now been taken up by noble straights themselves, and an ever-widening tolerance is making it easier for yet other homosexuals to "come out" which will in turn make it more necessary for heterosexual society to come to terms with homosexuality. What we, uniquely, achieved is legitimization of homosexuality as a cause, so that fair-minded straights could speak out with us. And that is quite an accomplishment.
Now it's time for us to turn attention to internal goals internal to our minds, internal to gay society: to help people confused about gender sort themselves out; to help homosexuals feel good about themselves and their sexuality; to create greater opportunities for men to find loving relationships with men; and to reform our institutions so they reinforce us, not subvert us.
We'll get there. But we'll need organizations to do so. Join one. Support one. Take one to heart. Organizations need you but you need them too.
(Pessimistic View; see also Optimist Outlook, above.)
Today "women and men" always in that order march together, supposedly in defiant assertion of the right not to be pushed at the opposite sex. Kafka would be proud.
The homosexual-rights movement has been stolen by women, leaving men without a champion of their very special rights. There is no homosexuality where men are forced to associate with women and even treated as second-class citizens, forced to march at the back of the parade and pay over their funds and energies to the support of the anti-male Radical Feminist movement.
The Stonewall Riots were men's riots against imposition of straight values upon gay men including most fundamentally the idea that men and women "belong together". Ten years later, the mythology is that "women and men" fought side by side against the common foe, "male sexism" and that gay liberation's fundamental purpose is to liberate gay men from their own sexism toward women! Homosexual men have been stripped of the right to privacy with men. Lesbians and faghags invade all our bars even sex bars and call any attempt to exclude them "sick", "inhibited", and "sexist". Lesbians have manipulated the enormous yet unearned guilts homosexuals feel about not living up to their "responsibilities" to women, to twist us around their little finger and divert our resources to their causes, including that most immoral of lesbian-feminist causes, abortion.
Lesbians have not only deprived homosexual men of the right to pursue their own purposes in their own organizations but have even transformed homosexual-rights organizations into lesbian-supremacist organizations. Superfeminist dykes who would be offended at a man's opening a door for them, have no compunctions about insisting upon "ladies first" privileges in marches, titles, publications, press releases everywhere in the "gay" world. Homosexual men, who constitute the vast majority of all members and supporters of the gay-rights movement, have been reduced to slaves to feminism, required to pay tributary treasure over to our female "leaders", and to array our vast numbers to promote lesbian interests. And all because (a) homosexual men suffer from an asinine gender confusion which inclines them to think of themselves as just another form of woman so why not let women control the Movement?; (b) homosexual men have accepted the preposterous notion that homosexuality and lesbianism, which are exact opposites having nothing intrinsically in common, are the same thing, just because straights, viewing the world in Them-vs.-Us terms, lump all nonheterosexuals together (in the same way, racist whites equate rain-forest pygmies with Tokyo Japanese because they are all "nonwhite" as tho that means anything); and (c) homosexual men feel that they must repent for not wanting women by handing over to women everything they ask for. Lesbians know how guilt-ridden and guilt-gluttonous faggots are, yet they deliberately, viciously, and grossly immorally add to and manipulate those guilts to their own advantage. There is more than a little heterosexual sado-masochism here.
The time has come for a homosexual Declaration of Independence from women all women. Kick them the hell out of our marches, organizations, bars lives. We must refuse the suggestion that we have any obligations, any responsibilities to women. We must take back our treasuries, officerships organizations and turn ALL our attention, ALL our resources to our own interests. We are not so rich, nor so powerful, as to be able to support all alien causes without starving and subverting our own.
* * * The first right of homosexual men is to identify as men to feel like men in the presence of men and seek ties to heterosexual men's organizations for social, recreational, and cultural purposes.
* * * The second right of homosexual men is to privacy with men the right to have men's bars and men's baths and men's stores and men's publications, off-limits to ALL women, regardless of their ostensible sexual orientation. It's time to get women off our backs and learn how to appreciate men and relate to them in all ways, nonsexually as well as sexually, with confidence and ease.
* * * The third right of homosexual men is to homosexual institutions that serve the interests of homosexual men and plow their profits back into the homosexual community. We must put all straight-owned businesses which exploit the gay community, OUT of business, and find ways to help gay entrepreneurs set up and maintain profitable ventures which employ gay men in secure jobs where they can be free.
* * * The fourth right of homosexual men is to a homosexual culture: music, dance, theater; film and television; books, magazines, newspapers and radio that speak to our needs in an adult, nonprurient way.
* * * The fifth right of homosexual men is to homosexual love to expect love out of life, to require it of ourselves and our partners and not settle for less; to evaluate potential sex partners in emotional terms, and think of each man who enters our life as part of our life; to open ourselves to the possibility of finding a lifelong partner to whom we can be faithful in all things. We have the right to realize that our needs are fundamentally emotional, and to express our emotional needs constructively. We must make the point in our day-to-day (or nite-to-nite) contacts that sex alone is not acceptable, and that we can do without sex without love. We must never be ashamed to admit that sex for the sake of sex leaves us feeling empty, alone, and unhappy. We must be willing to expose that vulnerability to hurt which all love involves knowing that there will be those who choose to hurt, but knowing too that each other person has the self-same needs and self-same vulnerability.
* * * The sixth right of homosexual men is to homosexual fatherhood. Childlessness is for many of us a great and very real tragedy. We who feel deep paternal feeing must assert our right to be adoptive fathers. We must organize ourselves to seek out homosexual children who need the guidance only we can give them (as fathers, not as pedophiles), so they can grow up free, and proud, and willing and able to love as homosexuals. We must explore artificial insemination as a means of becoming biological fathers without compromising away our homosexuality, as for instance organizing reproductive alliances to bring together lesbian or other women who wish to be mothers with homosexual men who wish to be fathers, to provide amicable reproductive unions (via artificial insemination) without complications: girl children to the women, boy children to the men. And we must recognize that a desire to be father to a girl child is the desire to be straight to escape homosexuality, to negate homosexuality by identifying with a girl and intruding a female into one's deepest emotional recesses. No, our imperative to fatherhood must seek sons.
* * * The seventh right of homosexual men is to respect as homosexuals. We must assert our right to serve in all institutions as homosexuals, without the need to cover up, change the conversation, evade the unspoken question on the job, in volunteer work, in relations with governmental entities. We must push schools, libraries and every other institution across society to recognize that homosexuals exist in large numbers and that homosexuality must be openly acknowledged and respected. Where we think ourselves unable to make these points face to face, we can assert ourselves communally thru organizations.
This list of The Rights of Men is, of course, far from complete. But you will note from its order that our relationships with straight society should be our last concern, not first. Straight society cannot hurt us nearly as much as we can and do hurt each other. So our first obligation is to make ourselves kinder to one another, and make the institutions which serve us in the Gay World, serve us better.
The Stonewall Riots were not waged to make Christopher Street or Polk Street (or any other street for that matter) safe for lesbians, nor to reduce homosexual men to pawns of feminism. Yet this has happened, as the "gay" movement lost sight of what it should be doing. The "gay" organizations have become part of the oppression homosexuals flee, and the organizations consequently have lost, except for occasional mass marches, the support of their ostensible constituency. Homosexual men who refuse to be pushed at women of whatever ostensible orientation have had to retreat to "leather-and-Western" S&M bars, where they've been gradually seduced into sado-masochism: stylized, institutionalized, antihomosexual self-hatred which destroys men's capacity to love one another and find that full relationship between men, in their gentle as well as strong aspects, which is true homosexuality. Thus it is a matter of some urgency that women be thrown out of gay organizations if there is to be any chance of the Movement's recapturing the dedication of the homosexual-male constituency and saving myriad gay men from distortion of their sexuality by sado-masochism.
The gay movement's priorities are all wrong. The most destructive force in our lives is not straight intolerance but the monstrous ugliness of the Gay World. What should be a place of wholesome camaraderie is instead an underworld of steamy degeneracy in which self-respect and respect for other homosexuals is worn away. We are living like infants see it, grab it, play with it, throw it away. The Gay World is an infant's playpen, and each of us merely a toy in the chest. There is no love in the Gay World, and never will be until we find ways of organizing ourselves so that a man, a complete person, can meet a man, not just a body. There can be no pride in a sexuality which seems incapable of achieving loving ties.
So let us turn our attention away from unenforceable "gay-rights" laws, instead to reform the Gay World. "Gay rights" laws are more than just unenforceable they are actually dangerous, for they can lead people to think themselves safe when they are not, and lead them naively to admit to job or college interviewers an orientation which, no matter what any law says, will cost them the job or admission they seek. The Law affords no safety. Only power accords safety, and only honesty and decency will win us power.
Homosexual society should affirm our orientation, celebrate our sexuality, lead us to love. Instead, it undercuts us. The Gay World is our home but is unfit for human habitation. Not all the brave speeches to all the straight legislators in the world will alter one bit the destructiveness of the Gay World. And there is a stinging hollowness to the propaganda that "homosexuality is a form of love" when we know THERE IS NO LOVE in the Gay World. We can only earn respect and fair treatment, not force it. In order to be respected, we must be respectable. And we are not. Who knows that better than we, who don't even respect ourselves, much less each other? So the Gay Movement has the cart before the horse: if we respect ourselves and each other, if we act respectfully toward homosexuals and live honorable, loving lives as homosexuals, we will win the respect that alone will make a difference in straight society. And then the changes we seek by legislation which legislation CANNOT achieve the change it purports to require will JUST HAPPEN.
This most important reform, reform of the Gay World, is one we can achieve ourselves, without having to beg scraps of charity from straights. WE hold the power of life and death over bars, baths, bookstores and other gay-dependent businesses, and WE can put every abusive, straight-owned, straight-mentality such business OUT of business merely by shifting our patronage to a less abusive place and thus sending a message to entrepreneurs waiting in the wings that the time is ripe for an even less abusive place.
We, in short, can control our future if only we dare. We have the obligation, not merely the right, to be homosexual MEN: complete, adult, masculine persons who need complete, adult, masculine persons. We have the obligation, not merely the right, to demand music, media, and literature which explore respectfully and nonpruriently the nature of male relationships, and expand our capacity to care for ourselves and love one another. We have the obligation, not merely the right, to turn away from women and toward men, for only by isolating ourselves from women and the heterosexual behaviors they bring with them can we learn who and what we are.
We must reform the Gay World to help homosexuals grow to be themselves, not push them further out of shape. We have the obligation, yes, not merely the right, to be master in our own house. That house is the Gay World. And it is still, 10 years after Stonewall, unfit for human habitation.
We've got to do some serious thinking about where we want to be 10 years from now, and set specific goals lest we drift aimlessly and see our energies misdirected into areas we never intended to go into. By setting specific goals and a general timetable, we will also be able to measure our success or failure. Here are some of the things we of Homosexuals Intransigent! would like to see accomplished in the next 10 years.
Expulsion of lesbians and straights from all organizations and media.
Takeover by homosexuals of all business directed to homosexuals.
Establishment of a homosexual recording industry to create music for bars and private listening.
Establishment of a nonpornographic homosexual film and broadcasting industry.
Purchase or startup of radio and television stations by homosexuals.
Establishment of a Gay News and Feature Service to upgrade local publications serving the homosexual community.
Eradication of sado-masochism, at least to the extent of ending proselytization and clearing all S&M images and costumes out of men's bars.
Establishment of better bars since bars are likely to remain our prime social centers and creation of alternative social centers which tie into the bar scene rather than try to buck it.
Evacuation of homosexuals from hostile areas a sort of Gay Underground Railroad, ending in San Francisco and New York, as the means to achieve homosexual majorities in those cities over time.
Homosexualization of publications and electronic media presentations, to eliminate residual heterosexual messages and focus on homosexuals not straight celebrities, movies, theater, and similar garbage.
Creation of a mindset whereby men come to admit without embarrassment their desire no, need for permanent relationships and strive to find ways to make permanent relationships more generally possible.
"Missionary" work in suburbs, rural areas, foreign countries across the earth, to establish gay-rights and gay-consciousness organizations in all countries across the earth.
Alliance of homosexual men's organizations with separate lesbian, black, Hispanic, and other minority civil-rights groups for common purposes but only when common purposes exist.
A homosexual majority in San Francisco, and at least 25% minority in New York.
Repeal of all laws against homosexual sex, everywhere in the United States.
Repeal of the legal exclusion of homosexuals from immigration to the United States.
Establishment of units in all major police forces (city and state) to investigate crimes against homosexuals, such units to be staffed by homosexual cops.
Election of open homosexuals to high national and state offices.
Legalization of homosexual marriage, both in civil and canon law.
Establishment of "Gay News" segments in network and local TV and radio news programs, and columns directed to the homosexual male population in major newspapers and consumer magazines of all types.
Establishment of gay public-affairs programs in at least The Gay Three (New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles), on at least public TV and radio outlets and preferably even on commercial stations.
Revision of textbooks and other educational materials in use at every educational level to reflect the existence of homosexuality as a viable and valid life choice.
These are some of the things we might focus on in the next 10 years. If you have other suggestions forward them to us or to your local gay organizations.
This national gathering should impel national organizing. There are some things which no regional organization can accomplish, and we ought to band together to achieve such goals as:
* * * *
An Open Letter to Pope John Paul II
In Chicago this month you condemned homosexuality as contrary to the teaching of the Church. We suggest that you are in grave theological error and that you have the obligation to correct this error.
Christian morality rests upon three bedrock criteria:
Consider, Holy Father, that
The only condemnation of homosexuality to be found in Scripture is in the Old Testament book of Leviticus and in the revisionist rantings of "Saint" "Paul".
But Leviticus is a guide to behavior for Orthodox Jews. It sets up rules of conduct and ritual for Judaism, and is more than casually violated by Christianity it is overthrown.
And "Saint" "Paul" is not Christ. Indeed, "Paul" started his contact with Christianity as a zealous persecutor of Christians he killed Christians! He was Saul of Tarsus, a man who never met Christ, never heard a word He spoke on Earth, but who dared, after a supposed "religious experience" which he did not at first understand, to set himself up as a theological and moral authority for Christians. Saul of Tarsus, in short, intruded his own, Jewish values into a Christian morality which renounced them. "Paul" is not Christ. "Paul" never met Christ. "Paul" does not have the authority of Christ, and when he contradicts Christ, it is he, not Jesus, who is wrong. To heed Paul over Jesus is heresy Saulist Heresy.
To the best of our knowledge and the record of Scripture, Jesus never mentioned homosexuality. Like Socrates, Jesus never wrote down anything, and we must rely upon the accounts of his disciples for a second-hand version of what he said. To this fact must we attribute the choppy, uncoordinated nature of such things as the Sermon on the Mount, where all we have is a series of aphorisms and parables plunked one after another, with no tie-ins, no logical development, no thematic unity. The disciples or their disciples just wrote down, much later, what they remembered; and all they remembered were the catchy phrases. They might also have written down only those things which they remembered best for having agreed with most. And they may even have deliberately deleted any favorable reference to homosexuality, feeling that Christianity had enough trouble as a revolutionary religion as it was. Indeed, considering the strong antagonism toward homosexuality in Judaism, the utter absence of any antihomosexual injunction in the teachings of Christ is suspiciously suggestive that Christ viewed it favorably. After all, he had nothing to lose and something actually to gain, by way of mollifying the Jewish religious authorities, by condemning it.
It offends Christ to suggest he was unaware of the existence of homosexuality. If He did not, as moral teacher, preach against homosexuality, it is reasonable to conclude that he did not see it as a social evil.
Jesus gave us three commandments, which he placed above all others:
First, that we love the Lord with all our heart and soul.
Second, that we love one another as ourselves.
And third, that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us.
Theologically, if Jesus is presumed the Son of God, one with Him as part of the Godhead and therefore of equal authority with God and of superior standing to all human prophets who tried to interpret the will of God, then the teachings of Christ correct the errors of the prophets, and no one is qualified to void the teachings of Jesus, even if the would-be revisionist had known Christ which "Paul" did not. Christ said, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." (Matthew 5:17) He then clarified what he meant by "fulfilling" the law: "So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets." (Matthew 7:12) Surely homosexuals, in reaching out to other homosexuals, fulfil this fundamental law, propounded by Jesus Himself, as we fulfil His other express law that we love one another.
Neither "Paul" nor any other writer nor combination of writers can make Jesus into an antihomosexual bigot. He was not. He never condemned homosexuality, but quite the contrary propounded basic laws that set standards which homosexuals, acting as homosexuals, fulfil. There is no theological basis for antihomosexual bigotry on the part of Christians. Antihomosexualism is Saulist Heresy and should be condemned by you as vicar of Christ.
For our part, we homosexuals have an obligation to rebut the erroneous, baseless assertion that homosexuality is immoral, and compel Christians to concede our perfect morality.
They are wrong who say that homosexuality is wrong.
They must recant.
WHO WE ARE
Homosexuals Intransigent! is a small, separatist-oriented publishing organization formed April 1, 1969 three months before Stonewall at the City College of the City University of New York. We believe that men, manluv, and mansex are beautiful, and that homosexuals have an obligation to behave with honor, respect, and care vis-a-vis one another. We know that the gravest hurts and only real fulfillment for homosexuals come from other homosexuals, and we seek to help men find happiness in this great gift which is homosexuality. Publishing is unspectacular work, but worthwhile. Perhaps you'd like to help.
THE BEST OF HI!, a brief anthology of articles from our magazine published in the exciting, turbulent Stonewall Era (1969-72) is available from us by mail for $1.00 (postage included, U.S., P.R., Canada, Mexico; $2.00 elsewhere). Contact L. Craig Schoonmaker, President, at 446 West 46th Street, New York, NY 10036 ( 265-1081) or Walter J. Phillips, Vice President, 135 Christopher Street, New York, NY 10014 ( 924-5421). [TO UPDATE this 1979 piece: The anthology is no longer available, and Walter Phillips is no longer with us. He died about December 1, 1996 in Mercer Island, Washington, of a severe asthmatic attack. He was still Vice President of Homosexuals Intransigent! at the time, and we miss him. Craig Schoonmaker is very much with us, in excellent health, and is still President of HI!. The organization's mailing address has changed to 295 Smith Street, Newark, NJ 07106-2517.]
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