The Queer Question: Essays on Desire and Democracy

By Scott Tucker | Go to book overview

THE COUNTERREVOLUTION

A member of the Daughters of the American Revolution is once supposed to have said, " Our purpose is to defend the first American Revolution, and to prevent a second from occurring." Likewise, there are figures and forces in the lesbian and gay movement who are quite willing to celebrate the anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion of 1969, but who were appalled by the San Francisco Rebellion ten years later. Stonewall, hallowed by history, has become almost as picturesque as Bunker Hill or the Boston Tea Party. The drag queens and bar patrons who fought the cops that night made it possible for increasing numbers of professional and middle-class gays to come out in the following decade. But as this caste of gay professionals came to dominate the official leadership of the movement, the result was that gay liberation, that wild conglomeration of sexual and political forces which clamored for radical change in social life, was narrowed down to the demand for gay rights. This gay elite has contributed skills, money, and influence, which our movement needed then and needs today, but in the process, a price was paid that we can no longer afford. A liberalism which rests on past radical laurels won't serve us well under the Reagan regime.

Legislation does not equal liberation: being legal is not the same as being free. Our liberal gay leadership often admits as much, but they maintain that whatever can't be achieved through voting and legislation can be achieved through education. The aim of education is to "cure" ho-

____________________
First published in Gay Community News, 21 February 1981.

-3-

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