October 2, 2010.
This is a response to Don Kilhefner, who writes:
I hope you are well.
Checkout the article I wrote on the Birth of the Radical Faeries in the current issue of the Gay and Lesbian Review (Sep.–Oct. 2010).
In a few weeks, Dancing In The Moonlight: A Radical Faerie Reader (White Crane/
Lethe Press, 2010) will be out. It was edited by Mark Thompson and myself
and contains over 50 pieces from all over the world.
Pacem In Terris,
I thought I sent you a copy of my note to Richard Schneider saying how much I liked your article, “The Radical Faeries at Thirty (+one).”
I liked the others on LGBT diversity in the community/movement too, but I had personal interest in your experience with Harry and John and how it in a sense differed from mine—perhaps because of my and ONE/HIC’s interests being different from yours and those working with you on Radical Faeries. So the same person can be viewed differently — each of us brings our own background to affect how we view someone, our own agenda.
The Hay / Burnside family was a very interesting and educational part of our community/movement. They were loved by everyone I have known, even when their views or interests differed.
Perhaps their lives were not sexy enough to interest young homosexual men and women today, but that doesn’t change the fact that they and the other pioneers effect the lives of every American today. Sadly, not enough as we witness so many young people committing suicide, but that doesn’t mean that there are not many others doing ok because of the movement they started, now being carried on by COLAGE, GLSEN, and legal groups. I think a few more good lawsuits against school boards and the parents of bullies would solve some of the problem; we have certainly tried education.
As you well know, part of the problem ironically is that anti-gay people, young and old, often spot the sexuality of young people before they even think about it. I do wonder why so many bullies are so interested in another kid’s sexuality. And why parents and school teachers are so ignorant or lazy that they don’t see the meanness and stop it.
Another irony is that too often the professional people and the general media are doing less to fight ignorance than comedy shows and movies and “the industry” which has in the past been so anti-gay. Time magazine, and even the Los Angeles Times and New York Times have never, to my knowledge, done an article or preferably a series of articles on the basic history of this movement and the issues. They merely exploit a case of violence or some new sexy, cute celebrity who has come out and knows nothing about the subject. The same is true of so-called alternative media such as The Nation and New Republic—which have never mentioned ONE, Don Slater, etc. in their history. They seem to think this cause had virgin birth at Stonewall.
And even resources that claim to cover the history are incompetent or unethical—not one ONE person is mentioned by Equality Forum, and many so-called LGBT timelines. And do we find serious activists covered in such silly books as Queers in History, by Keith Stern? Who is he and where did he learn about the subject that would let him ignore the most important people and publication in this movement’s history?
The history is preserved in a dozen LGBT archives/libraries, so there is no excuse for writers and historians to not know the facts on this movement, the best documented civil rights movement there is.
And any person who does not know Harry Hay is not worth reading or hearing.