The Queer Question: Essays on Desire and Democracy

By Scott Tucker | Go to book overview

OUR RIGHT TO THE WORLD

Dear Camerado! I confess I have urged you onward with me, and still urge you, without the least idea what is our destination, Or whether we shall be victorious, or utterly quelled and defeated.

— Walt Whitman, "As I Lay With My Head
in Your Lap, Camerado," Leaves of Grass

How has the lesbian and gay movement grown and evolved since that night in June 1969 when the Stonewall Inn was raided by cops and the patrons fought back with mockery and fury? In September of the same year, the first issue of a radical gay liberation newspaper called Come Out! appeared. Here is a telling passage from the first editorial:

We will not be gay bourgeoisie, searching for the sterile "American Dream" of the ivy-covered cottage and the corporation job, but neither will we tolerate the exclusion of homosexuals from any area of American life.... Does society make a place for us as a man? A woman? A homosexual or a lesbian? How does the family structure affect us? What is sex? What does it mean? What is love? As homosexuals we are in a unique position to examine these questions from a fresh point of view. You'd better believe we are going to do so—that we are going to transform the society at large through the realization of our own consciousness.

Today, after years of turmoil alternating with apathy, it is too easy for seasoned gay activists to smile at such words, like adults listening to baby

____________________
First published in The Body Politic, July/August 1982.

-25-

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