Exhibit Here about Gays, Lesbians `a Real Eye-Opener,' Advocate Says
Freeman, Gregory, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
WHEN IT COMES TO civil rights, we often look only at those rights sought or achieved by women or racial minorities.
The rights gained by lesbians and gays tend to be overlooked.
Donna Red Wing wants to change all that. Red Wing is national field director for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. She'll be the keynote speaker here Saturday evening at a special benefit showing of "The Long Road to Freedom." Her organization is one of the sponsors of the exhibit, along with The Advocate, a gay-and-lesbian-oriented magazine; Joseph E. Seagram & Sons; The Center, a local organization that tries to bring together gay people and resources; and the Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Alliance of Washington University. Red Wing speaks highly of the exhibit, which chronicles the lesbian and gay rights movement from 1967-1995. The exhibit is touring 10 cities. "For me, it's a trip down memory lane," she said. As one might expect, the exhibit, 7 feet high by 136 feet long, examines the Stonewall riots in 1969 in New York, which were the first public protests of the modern gay-rights movement in the United States. The exhibit also examines Harvey Milk, the openly gay San Francisco city supervisor who was murdered in 1978 along with Mayor George Moscone. And it looks at the Anita Bryant controversy of the late 1970s. In that case, Bryant's negative comments about homosexuals ultimately resulted in her being yanked as spokeswoman for Florida oranges. "It's a real eye-opener," Red Wing said. "It shows that in some areas we're just beginning to take little steps, but in other areas we've come a long way. For many of us who are lesbian and gay, it provokes a sense of pride and connectedness to history. "While I remember much of this, many people do not. We don't teach gay and lesbian history in schools, so there's very little opportunity for people to take a look at what's happened over the years," she said. Just as most Americans are taught that they should learn from their history unless they want to make the same mistakes again, Red Wing says it's important for everyone - but especially young gays and lesbians - to realize what has happened over the years to protect them from discrimination and abuse. …